If you are flying to Malaysia and arriving at KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport - KUL) and want to travel directly to Penang, here are the options available to you, by bus, train or plane.
Flying between Kuala Lumpur airport and Penang airport is obviously the quickest way to get here and both Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines operate many departures throughout the day.
Air Asia are usually the cheapest (if you book well in advance) and operate out of the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal at KUL Airport.
Malaysian Airlines tickets from KL to Penang are usually more expensive, but if you are flying to Malaysia with Malaysian Airlines, you can usually buy a connecting flight to Penang very cheaply.
Malaysian Airlines also leave from the International Terminal, so you do not have to change terminals at KLIA.
There is no direct bus service from KL Airport to Penang, so first you have to catch a bus from the airport to Puduraya Bus Terminal (now renamed Pudu Sentral), then a bus from there to either Butterworth, or on to the island at Sungai Nibong bus station.
A new Trans MVS Express Bus from KLIA to Butterworth is now operating : Please see our online bus booking page for departure times, fares and to book online >>>
The bus from KUL Airport to Kuala Lumpur city centre leaves every hour or so and cost RM10.
These buses operate to KL Sentral station and take around an hour to get to KL Sentral (depending on traffic).
They are supposed to stop at Puduraya Bus station on the way, but what usually happens is that you are first taken to KL Sentral and then a minibus takes you the final leg to Puduraya (at no extra cost).
Once you are at Puduraya Bus Terminal, you will usually be approached by people trying to sell you bus tickets as soon as you get near to the building.
If you have never been there before, they come in handy as they will lead you through the slightly confusing terminal, up to the ticket agents who are located on the third floor.
A ticket to Butterworth cost around 35RM and to the bus station on the island at Sungai Nibong, just a couple of RM more as they have to pay the toll for using the Penang Bridge.
Buses usually take between 4 and 5 hours to get from KL to Penang or Butterworth.
I would recommend that if you plan to stay in Georgetown on Penang island, get the bus from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth.
The reason for this is that it is much easier to get from Butterworth bus station to Georgetown by the ferry, than it is to get from Sungai Nibong bus station to Georgetown by bus.
A word of warning :
Whatever bus station you decide to get off at, make sure you plan to get there well before midnight, as this is when the last ferry to the island is (00.30 ish) or the RapidPenang buses stop running to get from Sungai Nibong bus station to Georgetown.
If you do arrive after midnight, you will have to get a rather expensive taxi and taxi fares can as much as double when the buses and ferries stop running!
Buses on the island and ferries to the island start again at around 06.00 am.
If you want to know more about RapidPenang bus services, routes and fares :
It is possible to travel from Kuala Lumpur Airport to Penang by train, all the way.
First you can catch one of the high-speed KLIA Express (Ekspres) Trains from the airport to the city centre at KL Sentral station.
Trains depart every 15 minutes during peak periods, every 20 minutes off peak and every 30 minutes after midnight.
The first train from KLIA for Kl Sentral departs at 05.00 and the last train at 01.00.
The trip from KUL airport to KL Sentral takes just 28 minutes and is a non-stop service.
Please note you can now also get the KLIA Ekspres Train from KLIA2 (Low-cost Terminal).
KLIA Ekspres Fares :
One-way Fares cost 35RM for Adults - 15RM for children aged 2 to 12 years old.
If you want to save some money and have plenty of time before your train departs, you could catch the Airport to KL Sentral bus as mentioned above and save yourself 25RM.
From KL Sentral to Butterworth railway station in Penang there are two trains a day, including a night train sleeper service which is the most relaxing way to travel from KL to Penang.
There are also new high-speed ETS (Electric Train services) that have started operation from July 2015. These ETS services will roll out gradually over the next year as the new trains are delivered from China.
Travel from Butterworth Railway Station to Penang Island is easy to do, with ferries leaving every 15 minutes or so during peak hours over to the Jetty in the old part of Georgetown.
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