Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Penang

[2024] Travel from KL to George Town, Penang: Bus, Train, Flight or car?


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Looking for a guide on how to go to George Town, Penang from Kuala Lumpur? This post is exactly what you should read.

I’m gonna compare 4 different ways to travel to Penang from Kuala Lumpur and show you exactly how to use each mode of transportation from my experience.

1. Distance from Kuala Lumpur to George Town, Penang

George Town is the capital city of Penang State, located approximately 352 km away from Kuala Lumpur.

2. From KL to George Town, Penang: By Bus 

TBS-KL - vending-machine-bus-to-penang
Vending machine in TBS Terminal

The bus is the most cost-effective way to travel to George Town, Penang, from Kuala Lumpur, costing only around RM 35-40 per way. 

There are three bus terminals in Kuala Lumpur: TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan), Hentian Duta, and KL Sentral. TBS terminal is the busiest, with more buses departing daily to Penang than the other two. Expect the bus frequency to be approximately every 30 minutes. 

In Penang, it’s recommended to terminate at Sugai Nibong Bus Terminal because it’s nearer and more convenient to travel to George Town than Butterworth Terminal.

Here is how to take the bus to Penang from KL:

Step 1: Buy bus tickets at the bus terminal or online via THIS LINK.

Recommended bus companies: KKKL Express, Plusliner. 

If you’re traveling during holidays, it’s advisable to buy tickets online at least a week in advance.

Step 2: Travel from KL Sentral or TBS Bus Terminal to Sugai Nibong (Penang). The journey takes approximately 4 hours if there’s no traffic jam.

Step 3: From Sugai Nibong Terminal, you can take bus 401, 303, 102, or 301 to George Town.


  • Buses in Malaysia are often delayed.
  • If you depart from KLIA, you can take the Starmart bus to Penang Sentral – Butterworth (buy tickets via This link), then take a ferry from Butterworth to Penang Island. 
  • If you travel during weekends or holidays, prepare to be stuck in traffic for at least 1 hour.
  • There is also a luxury bus from KL to Penang operated by Aeroline, offering larger legroom, touchscreen monitors, and meals. Tickets are RM 60 per way.

Read more: How to go from KL to Malacca by bus

3. From KL to George Town, Penang: By ETS Train 

ETS (Electric Train Service) is an inter-city rail service operated by the Malaysian national railway operator, KTM Intercity.

The advantage of traveling by train is that you won’t have to worry about traffic, and you can walk around for a while if you’re feeling too bored of sitting.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to go from KL to George Town by ETS:

Step 1: Buy train tickets at the station or online via This link or This link. 

Choose “Kuala Lumpur” as your departure point and “Butterworth” as your destination.

There are two types of trains: ETS Gold and ETS Platinum. ETS Platinum stops at 7 to 8 stations and provides complimentary snacks, while ETS Gold has 10 stops and doesn’t offer free snacks. 

On ETS Platinum, you can choose between business and standard seats.

Step 2: Board the train and travel to Butterworth, Penang. Travel time is approximately 4 hours.

Step 3: From Butterworth train station, you need to take a ferry to George Town. The Butterworth Port is around a 5-minute drive from the train station, and the ferry takes approximately 20 minutes, stopping at Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda Port on Penang Island.

Train ticket from KL to Penang: Prices range from RM 57 to RM 143, depending on the type of train and seat.

ETS from KL to Penang schedule: 8:09 AM, 11:14 AM, 1:43 PM, 4:01 PM, 6:06 PM, 8:16 PM.


  • Tickets are cheaper on weekdays.
  • ETS trains are known for punctuality. It’s advisable to arrive at the train station at least 10 minutes before departure.

 ➡ My Penang travel guide: Read this post

walking around George Town

4. From KL to George Town, Penang: By Flight 

There are 2 airports to depart from in Kuala Lumpur: KLIA and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (in Subang)

KLIA Airport to Penang Airport:

  • Flight ticket price: Approximately RM 100.
  • Airlines: Airasia, BatikAir Malaysia.
  • Travel time: 1 hour.

Check the cheapest flight tickets: Click here

Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport to Penang Airport:

  • Flight ticket price: About RM 100-150 per way.
  • Airlines: Firefly.
  • Travel time: 1 hour.

Although the flight time is just 1 hour, you should consider waiting time and transportation time between airports and hotels as well. Let me break it down for you:

  • From KLCC to the airport: 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Waiting at the airport: 1 hour.
  • Flight duration: 1 hour.
  • From Penang Airport to George Town: 30 minutes.

The total transportation time is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes if the flight is not delayed and there are no traffic delays. Thus, even though you pay more for the flight, the actual travel time is not significantly shorter than buses or trains.

Read more: 16 Awesome places for a short trip from KL

5. From KL to George Town, Penang: By Car 

Driving from KL to George Town, Penang, is the preferred option for locals. The total transportation time is around 4-5 hours if you depart from KLCC. The toll fee is approximately RM 36.

If you are not a local, you can rent a car for your road trip. I recommend using an app called Socar to rent a car. Many of my friends have used this app multiple times and have had positive experiences with it.

Read more: Kuala Lumpur travel blog: itinerary & tips

After reading this guide about how to go from Kuala Lumpur to George Town (Penang), which means of transportation would you choose?

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading!




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