Penang is one of the must-visit cities in Malaysia. If you’re already in Kuala Lumpur, it’s easy to reach Penang on your own. 

Take note that there are always flights from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. The flight time takes about 40 minutes so it’s very fast and convenient. AirAsia offers daily flights to Penang from Kuala Lumpur.  

Air Asia oftentimes have flight sales to Penang from Kuala Lumpur. 

But if for some reason you cannot book a flight or you want to save money, you can get to  Penang from Kuala Lumpur (and vice versa) using the bus. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get from Kuala Lumpur to Penang using the Bus:

Step 1: Make your way to Tasik Bandar Selatan Station or TBS.

This is Kuala Lumpur’s Central Bus Station.  

To get to TBS, you can take a taxi or ride the MRT.  How to get to TBS from KL Sentral

Step 2: Walk to Departure Terminal of TBS.

If you took the MRT, you only need to walk the sky bridge that connects the TBS station to the TBS Bus Terminal.

Step 3: Choose the bus to take at the TBS Departure Terminal.

At the TBS Departure Terminal, you will see a row of booths occupied by different bus operators/companies.

Step 4:  Select the departure time that best suits you.

Each bus operator will post their destinations and schedules.  Some of these bus operators are Sri Madu, Transnational. Season Express, Plus Liner.

Which bus company is the best?

If you ask us, we usually do not use just one bus company. They are all pretty much the same when it comes to prices and quality of buses. When we travel, we just pay more to get airconditioned buses with good seats. 

Step 5. Walk to your designated bus bay. 

Once you purchase the ticket, the representative at the booth will tell you which bus bay to go to. It’s important that you know the correct bus bay to go to. 

You can wait for your bus at a designated waiting area for passengers. If you’re a first-time traveler, it’s better to sit close to your assigned bus bay so you won’t miss the bus. 

The travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Penang by bus is about 4 to 5 hours. 

Step 6: Arrive at your destination.

Not all bus operators stop at the same terminal once in Penang. Some of them stop at the Bus Terminal Sungai Nibong, while others stop at Butterworth.  

Bus Terminal Sungai Nibong is on Penang Island while Butterworth is on the mainland. 

The Advantages of Taking a Bus to Penang

The buses to Penang usually have large and comfortable seats. You can recline it and sleep during the journey. In terms of comfort, taking the bus is definitely more comfortable than the train. 

With buses, you have the choice of whether to get off on Penang Island or the mainland. If you’re taking the KTM Train to Penang, you have no choice but get off the mainland. 

Various buses are available all day and all night, so you have so much flexibility in terms of when you want to go. If it’s not a huge holiday, you can most likely just showed up at TBS and get on the next bus.

But if you like to secure your seat early, you can also book online so you don’t have to worry about how to get your ticket. 

Book the bus ticket to Penang onlin


Getting to Penang from Kuala Lumpur by Train

Another inexpensive way to get to Penang from Kuala Lumpur is to take the KTM Train Service.  

Train travel time is about 4 hours and 30 minutes, so it’s a bit shorter than the bus. 

Here are the steps on taking the KTM from Kuala Lumpur to Penang:

Step 1. Make your way to KL Sentral. 

Step 2. Walk to the KTM train terminal. 

Take note that KL Sentral also houses MRT and LRT trains. 

It is after all the main train station in Kuala Lumpur where all trains converged. Make sure you are at the KTM train terminal.

Step 3:  Buy your ticket.  You can purchase the ticket from the ticket kiosk or machine.

Step 4: Get on the train to Butterworth. 

Step 5: Arrive in Butterworth Railway Station, Penang.

This KTM  station is in the Butterworth neighborhood of Penang. Although Butterworth is still very much part of Penang, it’s on the mainland and not on the island of Penang. 

If your hotel is on the island of Penang, you can take a boat or bus from Butterworth. 

Book the KTM train to Penang


Where to Stay in Penang?

Most travelers tend to stay in Georgetown, the historic capital of Penang because it’s where the popular tourist spots, markets, and restaurants are located. 

Butterworth will have cheaper accommodation because it is a bit far from the tourist center but some visitors may choose to stay at Butterworth because it’s quieter and closer to the sea. 

Penang is not really big but it has a wide range of hotels. Five-star hotels like are comfortable but you can also find mid-range and budget accommodation options.