How To Travel From Kuala Lumpur To Penang

Wondering what’s the best way to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Penang? Let’s calculate and compare!

Penang is one of those rare frozen-in-time places which connects centuries-old history with today’s modern lifestyle. It caters to history buffs, travel photographers and nature-lovers. It’s one of those offbeat, yet equally popular places at the same time that has still maintained its laid-back vibe and 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 you can imagine. You have options to choose from.

The basis of time it takes and how much it costs, here’s my way of understanding how to best travel from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, or the vice-versa.

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 a one-hour 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 the 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 slower than a flight — takes nearly 4 hours plus one hour in the 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)
  • The 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 is a useful resources: Penang Travel Guide


After my couple of years of corporate career, I left that lifestyle behind, and with it, everything that didn't fit in a backpack. I've learned that this world is too big (and too interesting!) to spend your life working at one place, and that's what inspires me to remain footloose and fancy-free for the rest of my life!

  1. If you’ve flown airlines like Air Asia or Malindo a lot, you might have enough loyalty points to redeem a flight between KL and Penang. This can be another consideration

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