Getting to Penang
By air: Penang is accessible through the Penang International Airport, which is served by major carriers flying from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Hong Kong. From the airport, you can ride a coupon taxi that charges fixed rates between the airport and your selected destination. Penang International Airport is about 12 miles from the center of Georgetown.
Two Malaysian carriers, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, have ticketing offices in Penang:
- Malaysia Airlines (MAS): 1st & 2nd Floor, Menara KWSP (KWSP Tower), 38 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 Penang
Reservations: 1 300 88 3000 (24 hours)
- AirAsia: Ground Floor, Kim Mansion, 332 Chulia Street, 10200 Penang
Phone: +60-3-87774000 (open 9am to 9pm daily)
By road: you can drive over the Penang Bridge from mainland Malaysia to Penang Island. A toll of RM 7.00 is charged at Perai on the mainland. No toll is charged for exiting Penang.
By ferry: A ferry is available at Butterworth. Tickets can be purchased at the Butterworth terminal. No fee is charged for returning from Penang.
By rail: You can catch a train from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth - a six-hour trip that lets you see the Malaysian countryside in air-conditioned comfort. Operated by Malaysian railway company Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM), the rail line also lets you travel to Alor Setar, Padang Besar, Haadyai and Bangkok from Butterworth.
Getting around Penang
By bus: Tourists can now count on Penang's intracity bus system, called RapidPenang, and its brand-new buses.
You can also ride a free shuttle bus that begins at the ferry terminal and circulates throughout Georgetown. Its buses leave every 12 minutes, except on Sundays and public holidays when it is closed.
The tallest building on Penang, KOMTAR, serves as the hub for all the bus lines on the island. The ferry terminal is also another bus hub for Penang.
By trishaw: trishaws are three-wheeled open-air people-powered tricycles. These can be found anywhere throughout Penang, and are operated by quite knowledgeable drivers, too (some of them are well-versed in Penang's tourist spots). As with Penang's taxis, negotiate your fare before getting on.
By taxi: taxis are easy to find around Penang, but most of them absolutely refuse to use the taxi meter. Haggle with the driver - agree on a price before proceeding to use his taxi.
By foot: Penang can be congested during the day - sometimes it's better to hoof it. Walking is the best way to see Georgetown - just remember to start early in the day, and wear light cotton clothes.
By car: Cars are available for hire at Penang International Airport. (Compare prices.) Just be careful on the road - Penang residents are quite reckless compared to U.S. drivers.