How To Get To Cameron Highlands From Penang

Whether you’re looking for the best way to get from Penang to Cameron Highlands or from Butterworth to Cameron Highlands:

There’re pros and cons to each mode of transport – bus, train, car or ferry. You may have to choose to use a combination of different transportation too.

So for your reference, we have listed all recommended options together with important logistic details. Including commonly asked questions about traveling to Cameron Highlands!

Table Of Contents:

  1. Penang To Cameron Highlands By Car
  2. Penang To Cameron Highlands By Bus
  3. Penang To Cameron Highlands By Train
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Penang To Cameron Highlands By Car

Although there are 2 roads to Cameron Highlands, it’s more worthwhile to take the newer route through Simpang Pulai if you’re starting from Penang.

The old road is known as the Tapah road and it has certainly seen better days.

1.1. Driving From George Town To Cameron Highlands

Driving time is close to 4 hours from Penang Island to Cameron Highlands. Many people will stop at Ipoh for lunch and as a mid-way break point in the long drive.

Enroute to Ipoh
Enroute to Ipoh – photo credits to faez_guest (Instagram)
  • Distance: ~248km
  • Duration: ~3 Hours, 45 minutes
  • PLUS Toll Fee: RM15.25 (Juru Toll to Simpang Pulai Toll) + RM7 (Penang Bridge Toll) for personal cars

1.2. Driving From Butterworth To Cameron Highlands

If you stay in the mainland (Butterworth), the driving time is slightly less since you won’t have to use the Penang Bridge or deal with the rush hour traffic on Penang Island.

Driving Up To Cameron Highlands
Driving Up To Cameron Highlands
  • Distance: ~240km
  • Duration: ~3 Hours, 35 minutes
  • Plus Toll Fee: RM15.25 (Juru Toll to Simpang Pulai Toll)

2. Penang To Cameron Highlands By Bus

Riding a bus from Penang to Cameron Highlands typically adds an extra 30 minutes to the journey. And you can’t stop wherever and whenever you want.

CS Travel Bus From Penang To Cameron Highlands
CS Travel Bus From Penang To Cameron Highlands

Buses do have a reputation for being risky way to travel up the narrow winding roads to Cameron Highlands, especially during the rainy season which is usually towards the end of the year.

  • First Bus: 8am
  • Last Bus: 2:30pm
  • Distance: ~247km
  • Average Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Price Range: RM30 to RM45 per adult
Unititi Express Bus From Penang To Cameron Highlands
Unititi Express Bus From Penang To Cameron Highlands

2.1. Bus Operators For Penang To Cameron Highlands

There used to be several bus operators that ran the route between Penang and Cameron Highlands. But after the pandemic, only 3 bus operators run this route – either GJG Travel & Tours, CS Travel & Tours or Unititi Express.

Pick-up locations include Penang Komtar, Sungai Nibong (Penang) and Penang Sentral (Butterworth). Regardless of the starting point, all buses will terminate their journey at Tanah Rata Bus Terminal in Cameron Highlands.

OperatorPickupDropoffPrice
GJG Travel & ToursSungai Nibong (8:30am) or Penang Komtar (8am)Tanah Rata Bus TerminalRM45
Unititi ExpressSungai Nibong (1pm)Tanah Rata Bus TerminalRM30
CS Travel & ToursSungai Nibong (1:30pm) or Penang Sentral (Butterworth at 2:30pm)Tanah Rata Bus TerminalRM30 to RM35

Note: Prices and times shown here are subject to change by the respective bus operators.

Check easybook.com or busonlineticket.com for the latest bus ticket price.

3. Penang To Cameron Highlands By Train

Trains present another way to travel from Penang to Cameron Highlands. The train stops in Ipoh Railway Station. With a usual duration of 1 hour, 40 minutes up to 2 hours.

Ipoh Railway Station - taking the ETS
Ipoh Railway Station – taking the ETS – photo credits to eekhor (Instagram)

From Ipoh Railway Station, you’ll have to find another mode of transport to get up to Cameron Highlands though. We’ll go through the available options further down this post!

Step 1: Get To Butterworth Train Station

To board the ETS train from Penang, you first have to get to KTM Butterworth Train Station.

Aside from taking the RapidPenang bus, a taxi or an e-hailing service:

You can hop on a ferry from Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal in George Town, Weld Quay (also known as Penang Jetty or Jeti Pulau Pinang) over to the mainland (Butterworth).

Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal (Butterworth)
Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal (Butterworth) – photo credits to arifuddinrahmad (Instagram)

It only costs less than RM3 two-way for the ferry per adult!

Ferry From Penang Island To Butterworth

  • First Departure: 7am (weekdays), 7:30am (weekends and public holidays)
  • Last Departure: 9pm (weekdays), 7:30pm (weekends and public holidays)
  • Intervals: 30 minutes (weekdays), hourly or every 2 hours after the 9:30am departure (weekends and public holidays)
  • Ferry Crossing Duration: 15-20 minutes

See the latest Ferry schedule (and rates).

The Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal in Butterworth is conveniently just next to the train station, KTM Butterworth.

Read our full guide on how to get to Butterworth from Georgetown.

Step 2: Take Train (ETS) From Butterworth To Ipoh

Regular daily departures from Butterworth to Ipoh provide tourists who don’t want to take the bus or drive, another way of traveling from Penang to Ipoh.

KTM ETS To Ipoh

ETS Train From Butterworth To Ipoh

  • First Train: 5:15am
  • Last Train: 6:33pm

Check latest ETS timetable

Step 3: Ipoh To Cameron Highlands

Once you’ve made it to Ipoh, you can try some Ipoh food before the last leg of your journey – See our full guide on how to travel from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands!

But for those who don’t need as much details, you can either:

Option 1: Take A Bus From Ipoh To Cameron Highlands

It is troublesome to take the bus from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands because the main bus station (Terminal Amanjaya) is not walking distance from Ipoh Old Town or Ipoh Railway Station.

AmanJaya Bus Terminal
AmanJaya Bus Terminal at Ipoh – photo credits to thestar.com.my

But although taking the bus is not the most convenient way, the rates are cheap at ~RM20 to RM25 per adult!

Ipoh Train Station At Sunset
Ipoh Train Station At Sunset

Option 2: Take A Private Car/ Tour From Ipoh To Cameron Highlands

Want to save the hassle of booking different modes of transportation just to get from Penang to Cameron Highlands?

Private tour service (RayTheTour) offers the following:

  • Comfortable transport from Penang to Ipoh and Cameron Highlands, including pick-up from your hotel in Penang (or Ipoh)!
  • A flexible itinerary from morning to evening – stop at Taiping or Kuala Kangsar if you want!
  • Valuable local insight from our experienced guides

Got a question? Find RayTheTour on WhatsApp!

Read more: 4 Best Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation

4. Frequently Asked Questions About Getting To Cameron Highlands From Penang

Q1. How far is Penang from Cameron Highlands?

A1. ~256km from George Town and 240km from Butterworth, Penang.

Q2. What is the average travel time from Penang to Cameron Highlands?

A2. ~4.5 hours (bus/coach/train) or ~3-4 hours by car.

Q3. What is the best time to visit Cameron Highlands?

A3. Avoid going to Cameron Highlands on weekends, the eve of or on public holidays and schooldays.

Q4. Where is the nearest city to Cameron Highlands?

A4. Ipoh is about ~86km from Cameron Highlands. This underrated historical city is famous for food, Concubine Lane, limestone cave temples and Lost World of Tambun.

Q5. What transport is available at Cameron Highlands?

A5. The public bus and taxis are available from Tanah Rata. Hotels may have their own shuttles. Or you may be able to rent scooters from some hostels. A private tour service is another option.

Q6. How safe is Cameron Highlands?

A6. Do not go jungle-trekking alone in case you get robbed or lost. Do not drive or take transport to or from Cameron Highlands after a heavy storm or consecutive days of rain (i.e. landslide risk).

Read more: Cameron Highlands Itinerary: Cameron One Day Trip, 2D1N & 3D2N

Conclusion

It’s natural for first-time visitors to move on from Penang to Cameron Highlands, passing through Ipoh. Especially with readily available public or private transport!

Your choice of transport will depend on the time you have, your budget, and what you want to see on the way to Cameron Highlands from Penang too.

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