Don’t waste time scrambling around looking for transport upon arrival! A little research beforehand goes a long way!
Table Of Contents:
1. Taking The Shuttle Bus From Penang Airport To Georgetown
There are 5 Rapid bus numbers that you can take from the airport to George Town.
Either one will take about an hour to get to George Town from Penang International Airport.
Rapid Passport – Unlimited Bus Travel For 1 Week In Penang:
If you’re staying in Penang for a week, you can look into getting a Rapid Passport. This is a 7-day pass for the Rapid bus system that costs RM30 per person.
Otherwise, you can buy regular tickets inside the bus. These are around RM1-3 each time for a one-way trip!
It’s also worth noting that once you are in George Town, you can take advantage of the free shuttle bus (CAT) that goes around George Town!
Where To Buy The Rapid Passport:
- KOMTAR Bus Terminal
- Weld Quay Bus Terminal
- Bukit Jambul Bus Hub
- Penang Sentral
- Rapid Penang Headquarters at Lorong Kulit
Where Is The Bus Stop At The Airport?
Step outside the airport and you should see a bus stop.
As you walk to it, some taxi operators may approach you but you can politely decline if you don’t intend to take a taxi.
1.1. Rapid Penang Airport Transit (AT)
Rapid Penang Airport Transit (AT) is an express service that follows the highly popular 401E route.
Except that it omits Queensbay Mall from the route to shorten the travel time.
AT Bus Route:
Penang International Airport – Snake Temple – Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal – KOMTAR Terminal – Love Lane – Little India – Jetty (Pengkalan Weld)
1.2. Rapid Penang Bus 102
This bus also makes a stop at the Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal (for inter-state buses) and the KOMTAR Bus Interchange.
102 Bus Route:
Penang International Airport – Snake Temple – Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal – Penang Times Square – KOMTAR Terminal – Gurney Paragon & Plaza – Batu Ferringhi – Teluk Bahang
1.3. Rapid Penang Bus 306
Bus 306 makes its way from the airport to Penang General Hospital (or Hospital P.Pinang I) through Air Itam.
This happens to be the most affordable line/ bus service to transit between Kek Lok Si to KOMTAR too. Along with Bus 102!
It’ll cost between RM 2 – RM 8 depending on how far your stop is.
306 Bus Route:
Penang International Airport – Snake Temple – Queensbay Mall – Penang General Hospital (George Town)
1.4. Rapid Penang Bus 401
Ending at Pengkalan Weld (Penang jetty), Bus 401 follows the east coastline from Balik Pulau.
401 Bus Route:
Balik Pulau – Teluk Kumbar – Penang International Airport – Snake Temple – Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal – KOMTAR – Little India – Jetty (Pengkalan Weld)
1.5. Rapid Penang Bus 401E
The E stands for express. As this route is a shorter version of the previous by removing Gelugor from the route.
And using coastal Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway instead.
401E Bus Route:
Balik Pulau – Penang International Airport – Snake Temple – Queensbay Mall – KOMTAR – Jetty (Pengkalan Weld)
Tips For Using Public Transport (Rapid Penang)
- You will need a pocket of ample small change when using the buses as the driver will expect you to pay the exact fare!
- There are currency exchange services inside the airport – make use of them if you need to! But just enough for your first day or 2 as the exchange rates are better in George Town!
- The bus route number is shown on a digital display at the front of the bus.
- Even though you may enter a bus with the number you want, the driver may change route (i.e. change number) after you get on. So you should always let them know where you plan to go!
- Study a map of Penang and the places you want to go before coming to Penang! This will help you know which bus route is most suitable for your plan!
- Use the Journey Planner on the official Rapid Penang website to check the bus routes you should use
- It’ll take longer than usual to get to where you want to go during rush hour (a.k.a. weekdays in the evening). Sometimes you’ll have to wait more than 30 minutes to get a seat!
Pros & Cons Taking The Bus Around Penang
- Costs really little!
- Bus routes have stops at the touristy areas in Penang
- Most drivers know some English
- You need to be alert for the bus/route and stop that you want
- Traffic can heavily impact the speed of the journey
- Many stops, even for the express service!
- Need to carry small change everywhere to pay the precise bus fare
2. Take Grab Or Taxi From Penang Airport To Georgetown
You can find many willing taxi drivers just outside the entrance of Penang International Airport. Make sure they use a meter before you get inside the car.
2.1. Taxi Cost From Penang Airport To Georgetown
If they’re charging RM40-60 to get to George Town, that’s ~RM20 more than the usual rate.
However, you can expect the price to be higher by 50% if you need a taxi at redeye hours (12am to 6am)!
2.2. Grab In Penang
Or you can download the Grab app:
- Create a profile.
- Select car from the menu
- And key in your destination
- It should take the app less than a minute to find you an available driver
- The price will be quoted
- Click accept if you agree
- You can see the driver’s progress as he makes his way to you!
- Don’t let him wait as there will be additional fees charged!
Pros & Cons Of Taxi/Grab Around Penang
- Little to no waiting!
- Affordable for 4 pax
- No additional stops
- Offers another option for late-night/ early morning flight transport
- Good car condition and quality is not guaranteed
- Possibility to get cheated (e.g. taxis with no meters)
- Must avoid rush hour
- Need to make arrangement with the driver for a return journey for places that are more rural
Read more: 21 Things To Do In Penang With Kids
3. Rent A Car & Drive From Penang Airport To Georgetown
If you want to have full control (with the exception of traffic!) of your transport in Penang, then you can rent a car and drive yourself around Penang!
From the airport, it should take 20-40 minutes to drive cover the 16km to George Town.
There are quite a number of car rental companies at the airport. Of these, Green Matrix and Kasina have free cancellations!
Car Rental Companies:
- Asia Galaxy Car Rental
- Green Matrix
The cost of renting a car can set you back RM80-150/day depending on the car that you choose.
Pros & Cons Driving Yourself Around Penang
- Convenient for those who don’t want a fixed itinerary
- Don’t have to worry about finding transport for the journey back!
- Friends and family can travel together
- Not as convenient for those who are not familiar with Malaysian roads/ driving mentality
- Difficult to find parking at touristy areas like George Town
- Limits your accommodation options (many do not have their own parking for guests)
Read more: Penang Itinerary 3 Days: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Penang Trip In (2020)
4. Take A Tour Service From Penang Airport To Georgetown
Why waste time with arranging other modes of transport when you can get picked up and start exploring Penang immediately?
A private tour service like RayTheTour has all the following benefits:
Pros & Cons Of A Private Tour Service Around Penang
- Comfort (we use MPVs and vans)
- Safe and reliable
- Local experienced guides to show you their hometown! In English or Chinese!
- You can choose where to go (no limits to the number of places!) from 9am to 6pm (our hours are not strict!)
- We can arrange inter-city transport between Ipoh, Taiping and Cameron Highlands too!
- Expensive for solo travelers
- Also subject to traffic
Buses are the cheapest way to get from Penang airport to George Town.
Faster (twice as fast) albeit pricier methods include taking a taxi or Grab straight from the airport. Trains are not available in Penang.
For those who like to keep their plan flexible, driving on your own or taking a private tour service is another alternative!