If you are looking for the best way to travel from Penang to Langkawi island or vice versa, you have a few options available.
You can take a cheap flight, a direct ferry from George Town, or a cheaper combination of either the train / bus and ferry via Butterworth on the mainland via the ports of Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis.
One of the most popular ways is to travel on the fast ferry service that operates between these two Malaysian islands on a daily basis.
There are a few boats every day that operate on this route between Georgetown, Penang and Kuah on Langkawi Island, with a travel time of between two and a half hours and three hours.
This fairly long boat ride is not for everyone and for those who get a little sea sick, this speed boat can be rather unpleasant at times, as the trip can be a little bumpy during bad weather.
For much shorter boat trips to Langkawi that will also cost you a lot less please read on.
The cheapest way to travel to Langkawi from Penang island is firstly to take the Penang ferry to the mainland at Butterworth where you can catch a bus from the bus station (right next to the ferry terminal) to either Alor Setar or Kuala Perlis.
If travelling to Alor Setar, you then have to take another short (15km) bus trip to the ferry terminal at Kuala Kedah where ferries operate to Langkawi almost every hour from 7am to 7pm.
The ferry costs just RM23 and takes just one hour 45 minutes.
You can also take a bus from Butterworth further north to Kuala Perlis where the ferry to Langkawi operates every hour from 7am to 7pm.
This is the shortest ferry trip to Langkawi, taking just one hour 15 minutes and is even cheaper at RM 18.
For the timetable of bots from K. Perlis to Langkawi click here >>
Taking these routes you should be able to do both trips for less than RM 35, much cheaper than catching the ferry directly from Penang which is currently RM 60 plus port tax.
Now with much more regular trains from Butterworth, you can also take the train to either Alor Setar or Arau and transfer to the ferry ports for boats to Langkawi.
For timetables and fares, please see the following pages :
There are a couple of low cost operators that offer daily flights between the islands.
The fare are pretty good value and quick but you have to take into account travel times and costs from getting to and from the airports, especially in Langkawi where there is no real public transport options, so it may end up costing you a fair amount just to get from the airport to your final destination in Langkawi.
If you want to drive from Penang to Langkawi and take your car over to the island, the best option is to drive to the port of Kuala Perlis, where you can take one of the roll-on-roll-off ferries that operate from here.