The route from Kuala Lumpur to Penang has become very popular travel path, as most good value flights into Asia will be arriving in Kuala Lumpur and Penang offers many flexible options for continued travel through the Thailand islands (Penang also being an amazing island). We found the easiest and cheapest option for making the journey to be travel by train + ferry, which took us a total time of 5 hours in a relatively comfortable environment.
Kl Sentral – Butterworth (train) (4 hours)
Butterworth – Georgetown, Penang (ferry) (1 hour)
The train from Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral) to Butterworth departs at the following times:
Dates valid at 28th March 2015 see timetable to confirm times
- 9:15 am
Making your way to KL Sentral from Kuala Lumpur can be done with relative ease via public transport or a taxi, be aware of the unwillingness for cab drivers to charge using their meter, which is the best value option. If arriving from the airport there is a train called the KLIA express that leaves the airport every 15-20 minutes at a cost of (A) 55 RM (C)25RM this will take you directly to KL Sentral.
Once here purchase your ticket from a ticket booth for a cost of (A)59RM (C)34RM, be sure to double check departure times online before arrival. If you already purchased your ticket online make sure you have a printed copy of it. Once you have your ticket proceed up the stairs to the KTM intercity platform entrance. During peak times there will be a large group of people waiting to board and remember there may be multiple intercity trains departing around a similar time so not everyone will be waiting for your train and equally important they will only let you onto the platform 15 minutes before departure so there is no point trying to get through any earlier. However that is plenty of time as once they start boarding for your train it is only a 30 second walk downstairs onto the platform and then you will be on the train.
Your ticket will be assigned a seat number so be aware of what that is and where you will be sitting, also be sure to keep a hold of your ticket once on the train as inspectors will walk around and approve them once the train departs. However once this has been completed its time to relax and enjoy the trip which is actually quite pleasant with a lot of sights and scenery.
The journey by train takes 3.5 hours and you will most likely get hungry, whilst there is food on board we decided to pre-purchase some snacks from a Kuala Lumpur street market the night before departing, this is a much cheaper option. Below are some photos of what we purchased at a Kuala Lumpur night market, the food is amazing!
Once at the Butterworth destination moving to the ferry terminal is very simple being a total of 5 minutes walk. Once you have exited the station turn left following the ferry signs and you will eventually be brought brought to a ticket booth for purchasing the ticket.
Tickets costs 1.20 RM and you must have the exact change to be entered in the entry machine, during busy times there is also someone attending a change counter to exchange coins so you have the right amount. Once you purchased a ferry ticket there is a waiting area simply relax here until the next ferry arrives and you will then be guided on, capacity should never be an issue on the ferries as there is normally plenty of space.
Now that your on the ferry just relax and enjoy the sea breeze as you approach Georgetown (Penang). From this arrival location you could walk to most locations/accommodation within the central area, buses are also very easy to navigate (also requiring exact change) it would be best that you look into this before arrival or just speak with the information kiosk attendant available at the Butterworth bus/ferry terminal where you arrive. Otherwise there will be cab drivers available when you arrive however be careful as they will not be keen to charge the fare on the meter and may overcharge you.
But most importantly Now that you have arrived in Penang get out and explore all of the awesome attractions, roam around by foot to see all the street art and eat plenty of street food which is considered some of the best in Asia! (See Below)
If you have any further comments or questions don’t hesitate to ask we are always happy to help.