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Georgetown capital of Penang

Georgetown; capital of Penang Island

In 2008 UNESCO listed Georgetown as World Heritage Site because of the many original colonial (Chinese style) shophouses. Besides the many beautiful historical buildings; Georgetown also has many modern highrise buildings that often contains big shopping malls. In and around Georgetown there are many fun attractions that are absolutely worthy of a visit.

Crystal clear water at Perhentian Island

Perhentian Dream

One of the most beautiful islands in Malaysia is Perhentian Island, which actually consists of a big island and a small island. Both islands offer fantastic scuba diving and snorkeling facilities. The islands are especially famous because of the laid-back atmosphere. Alongside the beaches you will find basic lodges, moderately luxurious resorts, cozy restaurants, dive centers and boat operators advertising their services ranging from water taxis to snorkeling trips.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur or KL

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. Over 8 million people live within the greater KL area which is clearly noticeable by the huge and vast amounts of traffic that goes into the city every morning, and slowly leaves the city in the evening. Kuala Lumpur has many interesting attractions; like Merdeka Square, Chinatown, Petronas Twin Towers and much more. KL is also known as a shoppers paradise; there are are numerous huge shopping malls where you can literally shop til you drop.

Kuching in Sarawak

Kuching; gateway to Sarawak

Kuching is the biggest Malaysian city on Borneo and also the capital city of the state of Sarawak. Kuching is a very popular tourist destination as it serves as entry point to numerous great attractions within the heart of Sarawak. The city has enough to offer to keep tourists occupied for at least a couple of days. Popular attractions around Kuching are among others Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre and Bako National Park. There are daily flights to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bharu.

Kota Bharu

Kota Bharu

Kota Bharu is the capital of the northern state of Kelantan. The city serves as main gateway to visitors that are on their way to visit the tropical island of Perhentian. The are daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu, but you can also opt to take the bus or even the adventurous jungle train. Main attractions in the city are the many islamic museums, and also the day and night markets. Though tourist usually pass through the conservative city; there is enough available accommodation in Kota Bharu.

Getting to Penang Island

Sign on highway to Penang Island

Penang Island is probably one of the easiest tourist destinations to reach within Malaysia. You can use every form of transport imaginable; plane, train, bus, car and even a taxi (though this doesn't make sense compared to the other options due to the high price). From Kuala Lumpur it generally takes around 5/6 hours to get to Penang, no matter which form of transport you use. Though it is only a 55 minute flight away from Kuala Lumpur, if you add traveling to the airport and waiting at the airport even this method takes many hours. Cheapest solution is the bus, followed by taking a train (followed by the Butterworth/Penang ferry). If you're into road trips, then renting a car is probably the most fun way to travel to Penang; there are quite a few nice attractions along the way where you can stop and explore the area before reaching Penang (like Taiping, Ipoh and even Cameron Highlands).

Our pages on Penang

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Rental car

Hawk Malaysia rent a car

It is easy to drive to Penang yourself by rental car . There are numerous car rental companies in Kuala Lumpur and also at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Costs of renting a car are usually around RM150 per day (including insurance and administrative costs). If you are planning a one-way road trip to Penang, it is best to find a rental company with an office at Penang. Hawk Malaysia is one of the most popular local car rental companies; here you can rent a car from RM120 onwards (cheaper if you rent multiple days). Hawk has multiple offices in and around Kuala Lumpur, and also two offices in Penang (Batu Ferringhi and Penang International Airport). The road from Kuala Lumpur to Penang is in very good shape; it is a relatively new highway that goes from Johor Bharu to the Thai border (North-South Expressway or NSE). For some driving in Malaysia can be a bit stressful at first. After you get used to the way things work over here it is actually not that bad. However, driving around in (unfamiliar) parts of Kuala Lumpur city center or Georgetown can be quite the hassle. Here a GPS would be great, which you can rent at many car rental companies. A very popular website to check and compare car rental prices is Rentalcars.com .

 

Train

Butterworth train station

An adventurous way to travel from Kuala Lumpur (or Johor Bharu/Singapore) to Penang is by train. Train services are provided by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB). The North south line starts in Singapore and goes all the way to Bangkok in Thailand. The train from KL departs in the morning and in the early afternoon; the total trip takes approximately 6 hours. One-way ticket prices roughly range from RM20 to RM100. Passengers that travel to Penang need to disembark at Butterworth station. From there you can take the connecting ferry to the island (walking distance). You can also take a taxi at Butterworth train station, but this often is quite an expensive trip (more on the Penang taxi 'situation' here).

 

Air

Penang International Airport

Most tourists travel to Penang by air. There are many daily flights from numerous airports within and outside of Malaysia to Penang International Airport. Prices are often very cheap, mainly because of the competition due to alternative ways to travel to the island. If you manage to get a bargain by advance booking, then one-way ticket prices sometimes are only a couple of ringgits. When AirAsia started giving away free tickets (you only pay taxes) Malaysia Airlines and FireFly followed prompt with their own promotions. Nowadays there are almost always promotions to Penang. Regular AirAsia prices are around RM75 (one-way excluding tax); Malaysia Airlines offers similar tickets for around RM100.

 

Bus

By bus to Penang

The cheapest and often quickest way to get from Kuala Lumpur to Penang is by taking the bus. Busses depart at the main terminal in Kuala Lumpur, Puduraya bus station, to Sungai Nibong; the central bus station in Penang. The trip by bus usually takes around 5,5 hours. Tickets are sold for around RM30/RM40, depending on the operator. The most popular coach operators are Plusliner/Nice, Transnasional, Konsortium and Mutiara. The most luxurious operator is Aeroline; tickets cost RM60 but you will travel in a very comfortable manner to Penang (Kuala Lumpur departure location is at Corus Hotel, arrival at Queensbay Mall or Sungai Nibong). You can also take the bus from numerous other locations within Peninsular Malaysia to Penang Island. For example there are daily busses from Kota Bharu, Johor Bahru (Singapore) and even Bangkok.

There are minivans/minibuses that drive between many places in Thailand to Penang, same goes for the trip between Penang and Kuala Besut (Perhentian Island). Minibuses are more expensive than regular busses, but offer a direct route to many destinations.

 

From Langkawi by boat or air

Between Langkawi and Penang you can travel, besides by plane, also by boat. The boat ride costs RM45 for VIP tickets, on Penang Island you will arrive at Swettenham Harbor. Boats from Langkawi depart at the Jetty Point. Twice a day a boat departs from Langkawi to Penang (14.30 and 17.30). The trip between both islands will take approximately 2,5 hours.

 

Map of Penang Island in Malaysia

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