Travelling by bus from Penang to Kota Bharu in Kelantan or vice versa, there is not a great deal of choice of buses and advance booking is advised as they are often full.
From Penang to Kota Bharu it is a distance of around 350 Kilometres and should take around 6 and a half hours to get there from the island and slightly less to and from the mainland bus station at Butterworth.
The popular Transnasional bus company operate two trips a day to the Stesen Bas Kota Bharu bus station.
One day bus and one night bus.
You can catch these buses from either the Sungai Nibong bus terminal on Penang island or travel on the ferry over to the mainland and board the bus at the Butterworth bus station (Penang Sentral) right next to the ferry terminal.
We recommend you go from Butterworth, as it is much easier to get to from the old part of town than Sungai Nibong.
The ferry over to the mainland from George Town leaves every 15 minutes during peak times and is free if travelling from the George Town to the Butterworth.
If you were to decide to go from Sungai Nibong which is located fairly close to the Penang bridge, way out of town, then you would first have to catch a RapidPenang bus to the bus station, which could take you anything up to an hour if the traffic is bad.
Another good reason to leave from Butterworth is the bus is slightly cheaper!
Transnational Buses from Sungai Nibong to Kota Bharu depart at:
Transnational Buses from Butterworth to Kota Bharu depart at:
Travelling in the other direction, buses leave Stesen Bas Kota Bharu for Butterworth and the Penang Sungai Nibong bus staition at:
You can again choose which bus station you wish to get off the bus at - again we recommend Butterworth (for the daytime bus) as you can enjoy the boat ride and views of the island from the ferry and it is a really nice way to arrive in Penang.
Plus once the boat arrives in Georgetown you can easily walk to most of the hotels in the old part of town in 10 - 15 minutes, or catch a bus to Batu Ferringhi beach or anywhere on the island from the Jetty bus station, which is located just as you walk down from the ferry terminal.
If you travel from Kota Bharu to Penang on the night bus you may have a bit of a problem, as the ferry does not start operating until around 06:00 and even if you continue onto the island at Sungai Nibong, you can not get a bus until 06:00 ish.
So you will have to pay for a rather expensive taxi or wait around for an hour or so until the bus / ferry starts operating.
Tickets for the Penang Kota Bharu bus cost either :
34 RM to/from Butterworth.
37.40 RM to/from Sungai Nibong bus station.
As previously mentioned, we do advise you pre-book you tickets for this route as the buses can often fill up quickly.
You can book your bus tickets from any travel agent or direct from the bus stations. You can also book your tickets online from our bus booking page here >