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How To Get Around Penang By Bus

George Town over Penang hill
George Town viewed from Penang hill. Penang Island, Malaysia.

Some of our Penangite friends are quite dismissive when talking about public transportation in the state and its capital, George Town. They would tell us that it’s confusing and inconvenient that you’re better off driving if you want to go sightseeing.

We beg to differ. If you’re a first-time visitor to Penang and just want to visit all the main attractions, public transportation is more than capable of getting you places. Remember, taking public transport is the greener option, one that saves you from all the hassle of securing a parking spot, and most of all, helps you save money for your future travels. Here are some tips to prepare you for your maiden voyage around Penang.

1. How to Get to George Town from Penang International Airport by Bus

Penang International Airport is located on the southeastern tip of Penang Island, about 40 minutes away from downtown George Town. It is easy to get from Penang International Airport to George Town, as there are several bus services that leave the airport every 30 minutes. Bus 102 goes to Teluk Bahang via Komtar Shopping Centre, 306 goes to Penang General Hospital via Air Itam, while 401E goes to Weld Quay Bus Terminal. If you’re not sure which one to take, head to the ticket counter at the airport’s ground floor and the staff would gladly help.

2. How to Get around George Town by Bus

If you’re just planning to visit all the historical buildings around George Town, Shanks’ pony (walking) is really the best way. Yes, all the tourist sites around George Town like the Cheah Kongsi, Kapitan Keling Mosque and Church of the Assumption are perfectly walkable as the distances between them aren’t extreme.

But if you’re feeling ambitious and would like to cover a bigger area, Rapid Penang buses are there at your service. One route is recommendable for first-time visitors: 201. 201 leaves from Weld Quay to Tingkat Paya Terubong, convenient if you’re looking to visit Lebuh Chulia, Masjid Kapitan Keling, Teochew Ancestral Temple, Komtar, Penang State Mosque and Kek Lok Si Temple.

3. How to Get Around Penang Island by Bus

Venturing outside George Town is a must when you have the time. If you’re looking to visit Balik Pulau, you can take buses 401 and 502. If you want to go sightseeing around Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi, take bus 101. If you’re looking to go back to the airport with a stop at the Snake Temple, take bus 102.

4. How to Get Around Penang with CAT Free Shuttle Bus

While travelling by bus is fairly cheap (around MYR3 per trip), it is actually possible to do your sightseeing for free! All you need to do is take the Penang Central Area Transit (CAT) Free Shuttle Bus which leaves from Weld Quay and terminates at the Downing Street, next to Fort Cornwallis. Using this bus, you’ll be able to visit places like Little India, Penang Peranakan Museum, Church of the Assumption, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion as well as Komtar.

5. How to Get Around Penang by Ridesharing Service 

Although UBER service is no longer available in Malaysia,  there are plenty of other ridesharing services like Grab, MyCar, EZCab, MULA and Dacsee.

Can’t find anything that piques your interest within these routes? Don’t fret, as it’s easy to find how to get to your place of interest with Rapid Penang Plan My Journey where you can find all the route maps, schedules, and fares. For example, if you’re planning to take the funicular train, the plan will tell you that bus 204 is the only one that terminates at Penang Hill. For details, check out Rapid Penang’s website.

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Written by Ari Vanuaranu

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