How To Get From Penang To Ipoh - Travelswithsun

Thinking about making a trip from Penang to Ipoh? Ipoh is also famous for food and British colonial architecture. But that’s where the similarities end!

Ipoh’s gorgeous limestone hills set it apart in this side of Malaysia. You can see them as you approach Ipoh via the North-South Highway from Penang!

Depending on where you start from, there are several options when it comes to taking public transport. And that’s what this post will be about!

Table of contents:

1. Train

Travelling from Penang to Ipoh by train can be faster than driving to Ipoh! Especially on those busy public holidays!

And you will end up right in Ipoh Old Town as theElectric Train Service (ETS) stops at Ipoh Railway Station!

The trains typically take ~1 hour, 40 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Ipoh Train Station At Sunset
Ipoh Train Station At Sunset

It typically costs around RM45 per person (Adult or child) to ride the ETS train from Penang to Ipoh. Refer to the KTMB website for updated prices!

Buy tickets online or head to the physical counter (KTM Office) at the Pengkalan Weld jetty in George Town which locals often prefer (for convenience) over the KTM counter in the mainland at Butterworth.

Tip: Avoid going to the physical KTM office during lunch hours. Their lunch breaks can be very irregular (12pm to 2pm). The office is also closed on Sundays.

But because the train service is not connected to the island, the closest station to Penang Island is the Butterworth Railway Station. So, you’ll need to arrange another mode of transport to get there.

Note: There is a station at Bukit Mertajam (mainland) too

For the latest train schedule, head to the main website. Look for the schedule under ETS North-South Line Sector.

There are usually less than 10 departures a day from Butterworth Railway Station which leaves you with few afternoon options. Remember that you still must get toButterworth Train Station from Penang Island!

Read our full guide on how to get from George Town to Butterworth.

2. Bus

Of course, there’s always the option of taking a bus instead of the train. And what’s nice, is that there are regular bus services starting from both Penang Island and Butterworth.

On Penang Island, popular pick-up points are KOMTAR, George Town or Sungai Nibong. From the mainland, there are also three pick-up points – Penang Sentral in Butterworth, Chai Leng Park – Caltex or Bukit Mertajam.

KOMTAR Bus Terminal In Penang
KOMTAR Bus Terminal In Penang

Note: Buses depart very frequently to Ipoh from Penang Sentral

But regardless of the starting point, buses from Penang will drop passengers off at Ipoh AmanJaya Bus Terminal. And not in Ipoh Old Town, where tourists usually want to be at.

Terminal Meru Raya (Terminal Amanjaya)
Terminal Meru Raya (Terminal Amanjaya)

Thus, getting to Ipoh Old Town will then require a further 20-minute drive. Or a ride on the local bus from Ipoh AmanJaya Bus Terminal to town.

Personally, we recommend going with a taxi or e-hailing service. It’s not that expensive, much faster and more convenient than taking the local bus.


Out of more than 20 different bus operators, you can pick Sri Maju as they do drop passengers off closer to Ipoh Old Town since they have a station there. (Drop off point: Jalan Bendahara)

Book bus tickets on:


3. Self-Drive

If you choose to drive all the way from the island to Ipoh, you’ll have to cross one of the two bridges that connect Penang Island to the mainland.

Regardless which bridge you choose, continue the drive via the North-South Highway (E1). Where you can expect 2 to 2.5 hours on the road.

Enroute to Ipoh on North–South Expressway
Enroute to Ipoh on North–South Expressway

Route 1: Old bridge

  • From an industrial site with many factories and workers
  • Avoid during lunch hours and rush hour
  • Shorter bridge crossing
  • More time on the North-South Highway

Route 2: New bridge

  • Longer bridge crossing
  • Bridge toll fee is higher
  • Usually less traffic on this bridge
  • Less time on the North-South Highway

Note: Prices do not include your meal costs, accommodation costs or any applicable entrance fees and personal expenses.

Private Tour Service In Ipoh

Want a local’s point of view once you get to Ipoh? Take a private tour in Ipoh with Travelswithsun/RayTheTour to see the best of what Ipoh has to offer.

Ipoh And Cameron Highlands Tour - Travelswithsun

Tours include pick up and drop off anywhere in Ipoh during the same day as your tour. And the itinerary is completely flexible and customizable.

To inquire about prices, message us on WhatsApp.

PS: Our popular tours include day trips from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the driving distance from Penang to Ipoh?

A1:  ~124 kilometers. This can take about 2 hours on the North-South highway assuming light traffic.

Q2: Is Ipoh worth visiting?

A2: Yes, Ipoh offers different food and scenery from Penang. In addition to tin mining history and abundant cave temples. It’s also the birthplace of white coffee!

White Coffee At Xin Xiang Er Nong, Ipoh
Ipoh White Coffee At Xin Xiang Er Nong

Q3: What can I buy in Ipoh?

A3: Get traditional pastries and white coffee powder fresh while you’re in Ipoh! These make welcome souvenirs to bring home!

Q4: What is there to do in Ipoh at night?

A4: Ipoh nightlife leans towards a slower pace. Have delightful snow beer or a cocktail at one of the new hidden bars around Ipoh Old Town.

Q5: How Long Should You Stay In Ipoh?

A5: 1 day is sufficient to see what most tourists see. If you want to see more (and try more food), we highly recommend staying at an Ipoh hotel for at least 1 night. See our suggested Ipoh itinerary.


Penang is an island and with that in mind, it takes a little more effort to get from Penang to Ipoh via public transport.

Driving is a preferable option as you won’t have to make any unnecessary transits or stops. Just be careful to avoid peak traffic hours between the island and the mainland. Many locals commute daily from the mainland to the island for better work opportunities.

Ipoh Attractions

Not too sure that Ipoh is worth the time and effort to visit from Penang? What exactly can you see in this small city that you can’t in Penang? Check out all of our suggested places to visit in this list.

Getting Around Ipoh

What are the options for getting around Ipoh? We’ve a separate guide on this topic if you want to travel on a budget. Or just want to know what all the available options for public transport are.

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