If you want to travel from Penang to Kota Bharu in the state of Kelantan, in north-east Peninsular Malaysia, the best option for travelling overland is to take a bus / coach.
There is also the option of flying between PEN and KBR (Kota Bharu Airport), driving, or taking a long route by train.
Taking a coach from Penang Sentral Bus Terminal in Butterworth is the cheapest way to travel from Penang to Kota Bharu overland.
To get to the bus station in Butterworth you can take a regular ferry from the jetty in Georgetown to Butterworth.
The new Penang Sentral terminal building is right next to the ferry arrival point in Butterworth.
Buses operated by the Transnasional bus company depart from here twice daily.
One departure in the morning, and there is one night bus departing in the evening.
The duration of the journey from Butterworth to Kota Bharu is around six and a half hours.
To find the latest bus fares, departure times and to book your bus tickets online:
Buses also depart from Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal on Penang island, however for most visitors to Penang staying in Georgetown, getting to Butterworth is far easier than taking a RapidPenang bus to Sungai Nibong, so we always recommend you travel from Butterworth!
Easily the quickest way to travel from Penang to Kota Bharu is to take a flight.
Flights from PEN to KBR are operated by one of Malaysia's budget airlines, Firefly, who currently operate two daily flights.
The duration of the flight to Kota Bharu is only 55 minutes.
Although it is possible to travel by train from Penang (Butterworth) to Kota Bharu, it is not recommended as you will have to travel a long way around the country to get there.
As the two main railway lines in Peninsular Malaysia join at Gemas (a long way to the south of KL), you would first have to take an ETS train from Butterworth to Gemas, then an overnight sleeper train from Gemas to Wakaf Baharu (the nearest train station to the city of Kota Bharu).
You should only contemplate using the train if you want to first travel from Penang to Taman Negara National Park, then on to Kota Bharu.
Taking your car to Kota Bharu is a fairly straight forward drive across the country, from west to east, following route 4 all the way.
The distance to Kota Bahru from Georgetown, Penang by road is around 350 kilometres.