There are plenty of convenient, reliable, and affordable forms of public transportation in Penang, including buses, taxis, ferries, and a funicular.
You can buy tickets to the Penang Hop on Hop off Bus for 24- or 48-hour durations. Buses run about every 30 minutes. These buses a great way to see Penang, and they offer discounts for students.
Rapid Penang runs air-conditioned coach service all over the island. This is the cheapest way to travel around Penang, but it often involves a long wait.
The city of Penang offers free shuttle service to historical sites. Shuttles run in a loop and you can hop on or off at any of the shuttles stops.
A fleet of eight ferries links Georgetown to Penang Island and to Butterworth on the mainland. The first ferry departs from Butterworth at 6:00 a.m., with the last one leaving at midnight. Departures from Penang Island start at 5:30 a.m. The ferry can carry both pedestrians and cars.
Taxis are convenient, but can be troublesome. Drivers ignore the meter and charge what they want, even though the law prohibits it. It works out better to flag one on the street and negotiate the price in advance. Always ask the price before getting in, and unless you’re sure it’s fair, try to bargain it down.
Alternatively for now, i would recommend you to use Grab instead of Taxi services.
The Swiss-made funicular (tram) takes about a half hour to climb Penang Hill. It’s a slow-but-fun ride that reveals vegetable farms and colonial homes along the way.
Hope this give you some ideas to plan your trip soon.. 🙂
If you are looking how to move around in Penang for FREE, let me show how you can do this. There is FREE CAT Bus or in a simple word its a free shuttle bus. Central Area Transit (or called as CAT) is a free shuttle service that picks you up from the Weld Quay Bus Terminal, travels along major streets in George Town and drops you off at designated bus stops that are walking distance to major attractions.
Let’s check out this shuttle bus adventure in George Town:
Station 1: Pengkalan Weld This is where the George Town’s main bus terminal is located and this marks the first stop of the CAT route. For a view of Swettenham Pier and Chulia Street Pier, try to get a seat on the left side of the bus.
Station 2: Feri
The journey to Station 2 is a quick one and if you’re interested to snap photographs of Wisma Yeap Chor Ee and Wisma Kastam. These buildings are located 7 to 10-minutes’ walk from Station 1.
Station 3: Little India* Little India becomes a lot more vibrant when it hits noon. Hop off if you’re planning to shop for spices and sarees. Other nearby attractions include Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Chung Keng Kwee Ancestral Temple and a vintage-looking OCBC building. *No stops made at bus stop no.3 every Sunday from 7.00am – 1.00pm.
Station 4: Imigresen Banks, commercial buildings and administrative offices reside within the British colonial buildings. Station 4 is located at the end of Lebuh Pantai, where the police station is, so hop off and admire these buildings up close. There’s also a good lunch spot at the nearby Sri Weld Food Court.
Station 5: Bank Negara
If you’re in a hurry to visit the City Hall, Town Hall, Fort Cornwallis and War Memorial, hop off here. Or wait for the bus to complete its round till Station 17 where these attractions are situated nearby.
Station 6: Muzium* History lovers, here’s your stop. Within walking distance from Station 6 are St. George’s Church (closer at Station 16), Church of Assumption, Convent Light Street, Court Buildings and St. Xavier’s Institution. *Penang State Museum is closed for 3 years from 2017.
Station 7: Lebuh Muntri If you enjoy a great amount of strolling, stop by at Station 7 for attractions like St. Francis Xavier’s Church and Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion. You could visit an age-old Christian Cemetery nearby too.
Station 8: Lebuh Campbell If your main incentive in Penang is to cover the religious and shopping aspects of this town, this station is within walking distance from Benggali Mosque and Chowrasta Market (closer at Station 12).
Station 9: KOMTAR
photo credit : asiamarvel.com
KOMTAR also provides buses to off-route journeys such as Batu Ferringhi, Bayan Lepas, Balik Pulau and more. KOMTAR currently serves as an administrative office for the Penang State Government and houses an ICT Digital Mall where affordable gadgets and tech goods are sold. For more shopping, take KOMTAR’s link bridge to Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue Mall.
Station 11: Jalan Kedah* Durian and cheesecake lovers must hop-off here! As you get off, carry-on walking straight down the road and make a stop at Moody Cow Café. Famous for cheesecakes with a smorgasbord of quirky flavours, their durian cheesecake is a definite must-try; and for the adventurous, their salted egg and century egg cheesecakes are perfect choices! *No stops made at bus stop no.10.
Station 12: Jalan Chowrasta For nutmegs, tau sar peah and fresh pickles, Station 12 is located right at the entrance of Chowrasta Market. There are also a couple of second-hand bookshops located on the first floor of the market that is filled with biographies, paperback novels and even, old comics. Don’t forget to set aside 15 minutes for a bowl of cendol at Penang Famous Teochew Chendul on Lebuh Keng Kwee, off Jalan Penang.
Station 13: Komtar Timur
If you change your mind, here’s your last chance to hop off at Prangin Mall. The nearby attraction includes Masjid Pintal Tali.
Station 14: Lebuh Carnarvon While Penang Islamic Museum is under renovation, trace the history of Sun Yat Sen at his Penang base and then, take a stroll down to the Campbell Street Market.
Station 15: Kampung Kolam The station is surrounded by Acheen Street Mosque, Masjid Kapitan Keling, Yap Kongsi, Khoo Kongsi, Cheah Kongsi and Lim Kongsi, collectively known as ‘Street of Harmony’. If you’re up for a hefty dinner, Nasi Kandar Beratur, situated next to Masjid Kapitan Keling, promises a feast for the senses.
Station 16: Mahkamah The shuttle stops in front of St. George’s Church and close to other places of worship such as the Goddess of Mercy Temple and Sri Maha Mariamman Temple.
Station 17: Dewan Sri Pinang
If you prefer to be dropped off at the entrance of Dewan Sri Pinang, alight here. You can also catch up on earlier attractions (reachable from Station 6) such as City Hall, Town Hall, Court Buildings, War Memorial and Logan Memorial.
Station 18: Kota Cornwallis
For a peek at our historical fort, the Fort Cornwallis, here is where you should be. You can also catch a glimpse of Queen Victoria’s Memorial Clock Tower from your current stop.
Station 19: Lebuh Downing
This is your last stop before the bus heads back to the Weld Quay Bus Terminal. Do a final catch-up of the colonial architecture of the old Standard Chartered Building, Islamic Council Building and HSBC Building.
The frequency of buses at Weld Quay Bus Terminal and other bus stops are within 15-20 minutes.
Can i visit Penang on a tight budget? Yes you can. Perhaps in this posting i will share what you can see and do all the free things in Penang..
Simple tips to travel cheap in Penang, eat cheap at the markets and you jump on the free bus. Getting a good look at Penang – on the cheap – is simple because most of Penang’s temptations are free! Yes free! For instance, the street art, a major drawcard for Georgetown, is free. The stunning national park and turtle sanctuary, is free. Furthermore, those that are not free are cheap. The food in Penang, also a leading attraction, doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it is the hawker food which attracts all the foodies around the world to Penang to taste her delights!
Let’s check out my list of 8 things to see and do in Penang for free…
1. Penang Street Art
The street art, a relatively new addition to Penang, has become a major tourist draw card. There are many street art trails to follow including the wall murals by Ernest Zacharevic and “Marking Georgetown” a series of metal sculptures which narrate Penang’s colourful history with humorous illustration and historical facts.
2. Taman Negara Pulau Pinang
Taman Negara Pulau Pinang is known as the world’s smallest national park… Yes i repeat, the smallest national park in the world. But believe me, size doesn’t matter in this case! This park has a turtle sanctuary, the Meromictic Lake (where fresh and salt water don’t mix), a nice swimming beach, two main hiking tracks through rainforest to Penang’s most pristine beaches, plenty of free camping grounds and lots, lots more.
Cost – Admission free Hours – Open daily 08:00 – 17:00 Food – No food available inside the reserve. Don’t forget – good walking shoes, a picnic lunch, plenty of water, sunscreen, hat and swimsuit
Penang Turtle Sanctuary Cost – Admission FWalk ree Hours – Open daily from 10:00 to 16:30 (closed for lunch between 13:00 & 14:00)
3. Walk to the Top of Penang Hill
The shortest track is the jeep track, a 5km road which starts just outside the entrance to the Penang Botanical Gardens. Being the shortest route, it is also the steepest. Note: jeeps, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians shared this road.
There is also a trail that follows the course of the funicular train from Air Itam. Called The Heritage Trail, it consists predominately of concrete steps.
Also from the Penang Botanical Gardens, there is a walk that leads up to Penang Hill from the Moon Gate. It is a steep but pleasurable trek with ample wildlife to see, Macaques, dusky leaf monkeys, giant black squirrels and a multitude of insects and butterflies. DO NOT FEED the animals – a RM500 fine is applicable.
For those not wanting to walk and willing to spend your money to experience the top of Penang Hill, there is always the funicular train. It leaves from Air Itam.
Cost – For foreign visitors RM30/Adult and RM15/Child (AUD $10.00 or USD $7.20/ Adult) Hours – Open daily from 06.30 to 23:00 (last train from top station). Ticketing counter closes at 22:00 Departure times – departure times vary depending on the time of day (see below).
4. Explore Georgetown
Experience the diversity of Penang’s history as you explore the streets that still clearly illustrate the origins of this culturally diverse place.
Armenian Street is a delight to explore. This street has street art, Chinese lanterns, trishaws, arts, crafts, and souvenir shops and cafes. If you don’t have a long time in Penang this is the place to go to see the art and experience old Georgetown.
A lot of us will agree that this street described as quirky, off-beat, quaint and artsy. It has many good cafes, small restaurants, art shops and antique shops.
Little India is full of ‘Bollywood’ music, colourful saris and the aroma of sandalwood incense and pungent curries. I would recommend you to have your lunch in one of the shop here.
An eclectic array of Colonial, Indian and Chinese style buildings, this street could be considered the main hub for tourist. Chulia Street has lots of accommodation, cheap street food as well as typical western establishments, local boutiques, car and motorcycle /bicycle rental.
5. Penang Botanical Garden
The botanical gardens provides a lovely place for a walk, a picnic or an early morning jog. You can easily spend a couple of hours here wandering through the varieties of flora collections or watching the antics of the cheeky monkeys. TYou can also find the Palm Collection, Pine Collection, Herb Garden, Fern Rockery, Cactus House and the Formal Garden. Furthermore, it is home to long-tailed macaques, the dusky leaf monkeys, and black giant squirrels, as well as many birds, butterflies and insects.
Cost – Admission free Hours – Open daily from 05:00 to 20:00 (including public holidays) Food & Beverage – Available from the Botanical Shop Facilities – Picnic area, access for disabled person, jogging track, gazebo Amenities – Public toilets Address – 673A, Jalan Kebun Bunga, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town
6. Clan Jetties
These water villages, are over 100 years old. There are six jetties to explore, each named anddominated by a certain clan. Go for a wander along the wooden boardwalks and explore this living heritage of Penang. Chew Jetty is the most touristy and it is insta worthy place for you to visit.
Cost – free to walk along the Jetties. Location – Weld Quay, Georgetown Please remember – These are peoples homes – be respectful when taking photos.
7. New Gurney Drive Food Court
Finally this is not really free if you buy something to eat, but seriously some of this food is really cheap. It is worth a visit just to experience a typical night market! It is the place for hawker fare with many stalls selling a huge variety of hawker delights at very reasonable prices…
Cost – Free to visit!… and food is cheap but not free :p! Hours – Open daily from 18:00 to 24:00 Location – Persiaran Gurney, George Town (right beside Gurney Plaza Mall)
So if you are planning to visit Penang with a tight budget, trust me you will still able to enjoy it to the most. I will share in the next posting how to move around in Penang for FREE.