If you are wondering how to travel from Penang to Langkawi, you have a choice of :
A direct ferry from George Town to Kuah.
You can take a cheap flight from PEN to LGK.
Or a cheaper combination of either the train / bus and ferry via Butterworth on the mainland, then via the ports of Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis.
An easy, but relatively expensive option is to take the high speed ferry boat from Swettenham Pier (next to Fort Cornwallis), located in the very north-eastern corner of Penang Island.
There are just 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.
One of the cheapest ways 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 boats 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 (+10 RM).
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.
Please note: Most of the ETS trains on this route are now cancelled so you will now have to take the commuter services as the only ETS service is too late in the day.
Taking this option can work out even cheaper than the bus / ferry combination as the commuter services are cheaper than the bus services.
The only problem is that if you go to Alor Setar you will have a 10 minutes walk to the city centre to catch the bus to Kuala Kedah.
If you go to Arau, you will have to take a bus to Kangar, then transfer to another bus to Kuala Perlis which can take quite a long time.
If you plan to take a taxi from either station to the port, then this is no problem and still works out cheaper than the direct ferry from Georgetown.
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 fares are pretty good value and the flights 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.