Penang is one of those rare frozen-in-time places which connects centuries-old history with today’s modern lifestyle. It caters for the history buff and travel photographer but also nature-lovers. It’s one of those offbeat, yet popular places in southeast Asia, and Malaysia in particular, that has still maintained its laid-back vibe and an old town charm. In short… Penang is Amazing.
And with that fact, comes the hard reality — soaring popularity and increasing tourist inflow. More and more tourists are travelling to Penang every day. The good thing is, however, getting to Penang is easier than one can imagine. You have options to choose from.
The basis of time it takes to how much it costs, here’s my way of understanding how to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.
If You Want To Travel Superquick, Pay Not So Much But Miss The Journey — FLY
- Costs around 700 Indian Rupees (nearly 10 USD) — somewhere between what a bus and train costs.
- Quicker than both bus and train — total three hour travel time, with one hours flight journey and two hours for check-in and check-out.
- Unlike the bus and train (that gives the best views) you’re going to miss the entire journey, locked in a tiny air-bus.
- Tip: For cheapest tickets fly with AirAsia.
If You Want To Travel Quick, Enjoy The Journey The Most But Pay Too Much — Travel In TRAIN
- Costs around 1200 Indian Rupees (nearly 18 USD) — expensive than both bus and a flight.
- Quicker than a bus, but less quicker than a flight — takes nearly 4 hours plus one hour ferry. (Please note that the train station is located in Butterworth in mainland Malaysia, and not Penang Island. Whereas the airport and bus station(s) are both located on Penang Island)
- Train journey gives the best views of countryside Malaysia.
If You Want To Travel Cheapest, Despite A Long Journey — Take A BUS
- Costs around 350 Indian Rupees (nearly 6 USD) — cheaper than both train and a flight.
- Takes more than 8 hours. Most buses often run late and end up taking more travel time than what they promise.
- Driving on highways isn’t an enjoyable experience, even if you’re in Malaysia for the first time. A few cities you explore on the way, is, however, a bit interesting.
- Tip: Take the bus service called Billion Stars. They are the cheapest and have massive seats — no smaller than a business class seat on a flight.
Conclusion: Travel by bus if saving money is your priority, fly if you want to travel quicker and take the train if nothing matters and you only want to enjoy the journey.
For first time travellers, here’s a useful Guide about Where To Stay In Penang