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Kamat Y

Travelled to 8 countries / regions

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I'm Malay living in KL. Many friends from Penang

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Asia > Malaysia > Penang > Useful Info
Updated on Feb 11, 2019 Useful Info

Best way to get around Penang, Malaysia for travellers

  • The best way to get around Penang depends on which part of the island you want explore. Most of the tourist attractions and amenities are in and around George Town area in the northern end of the island
  • Getting in from airport:
  • Taxi and bus are your only options to get in from the airport
  • Bus is very cheap at 3RM (75 cents USD), but takes a long time at 1 hour to get to George Town.
  • Taxi is more expensive at around 25RM ($6) but takes only 30 minutes
  • Personally I suggest taking a taxi because $6 really isn't that expensive compared to other parts of the world
  • More details on getting in from the airport.
  • Central George Town:
  • Walking is the best way to get around the historic center of George Town
  • The entire historic area is only 1.25km by 1.25km (0.77 miles by 0.77 miles), the UNESCO heritage old town area is even smaller. You can easily walk it
  • There's also a free & frequent public bus (Rapid Penang's CAT bus) that runs in a loop around central George Town. It's very easy to use and you can just hop on and hop off whenever you want. More details on CAT bus
  • George Town suburban area:
  • The immediate surrounding suburban areas of George Town has a number of interesting attractions, like Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si, Gurney Paragon
  • The best way to get to these area is by Grab (taxi hail app like Uber). Fares will be very low, usually between 8RM to 15RM ($2-$4US) per trip for the vast majority of trips within the greater George Town area
  • You can also try Rapid Penang buses (which is the public bus operator), but buses are usually much harder to navigate in any city and it's no exception in Penang. But most bus rides will be around 30-60 cents USD so it's a very cheap option. You can check the route maps on Rapid Penang's website
  • North and west coast:
  • For longer distance trips from away from George Town, like Batu Ferringhi and Penang National Park in the north, or the west coast, Rapid Penang bus or renting your scooter are both great options
  • Rapid Penang runs many buses that connect George Town with the remote areas of the island and they're amazingly cheap. Bus 101 for example serves George Town, Batu Ferringhi, and Penang National Park (details). Again, check Rapid Penang's website for the latest information
  • However, for the ultimate freedom you should rent a scooter. Many foreigners rent scooters on Penang to get to the remote areas outside of George Town, where traffic is light and scenery is good. There are many scooter rental shops in George Town. Note that legally you need to have a valid motorcycle license from your home country as well as an international driving permit. But many shops in George Town will rent it to you even if you don't have proper documents. Keep in mind however that if you don't have proper license you will not be covered by insurance should you get into traffic accident. And if you're caught by the police without proper license you will be find around 80RM ($20USD)
  • Going to the mainland (Butterworth area):
  • Ferry is the best way to get to Butterworth, which is located just across the channel from George Town
  • Fare is 1.3RM (30 cents USD) and it's very convenient to use
  • Check more details here