EXACTLY How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Penang [2024]

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Going to Penang? Fantastic! Penang is one of my favourite places in the world and you’ll love it!

If you are wondering how to go to Penang from KL then you are in the right place. This is a straightforward journey that many travellers make in Malaysia. However, there are a few choices which can make it seem confusing. It’s important to pick the one that is best for your budget and time available as well as your personal preferences.

Lorong Song Hong George Town Penang
Lorong Song Hong in George Town

Below, I describe exactly how to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Penang Island whether you are looking for a Kuala Lumpur to Penang flight, taking a Kuala Lumpur to Penang bus, wondering whether to take a Kuala Lumpur to Penang train, or wanting to have a drive from KL to Penang by car. I also tell you what I think is the best option for how to travel from KL to Penang and summarise how long each option takes.

Finally, I describe the reverse journey from Penang to Kuala Lumpur.

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Map: KL To Penang

Kuala Lumpur To Penang map
Click the Map above to open it in Google Maps.

The distance between Kuala Lumpur and Penang can look long on the map but it is only 358 kilometres and the Kuala Lumpur to Penang travel time in a private car is about 4 hours (if you don’t hit much traffic).

This low Kuala Lumpur to Penang distance can make driving from Kuala Lumpur to Penang a very attractive option.

Best Option: How To Get From Kuala Lumpur To Penang [2024]

The quickest and easiest way to travel between Penang and Kuala Lumpur is by private taxi.

If you want to travel to Penang directly after a flight to Kuala Lumpur then I recommend you fly Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

If you are on a budget, catch a bus from KL Sentral to Penang. Train lovers can also take a train most of the way.

Here is a summary of your options….

Mode of transportDurationBest For?Book
Flight4 hoursPeople who are already at the airport. This duration assumes this. Otherwise, add an extra hour to get hereCheck here
Bus6.5 hoursPeople who want the cheapest optionCheck here
Train6.25 hoursPeople who love trains and don’t mind taking a ferry as wellCheck here
Taxi4 hoursPeople who want the quickest and easiest wayCheck here
Car4 hoursPeople who are happy to hire a car and like to stop along the wayCheck here
Durations take into account an approximate time getting to and from bus stations and airports to a central location as well as waiting time

Option One: KL To Penang Flight

Penang International Airport
Penang International Airport

Booking a cheap flight from KL to Penang is the easiest way to travel between the two cities. Since the KL to Penang flight duration is about an hour, it’s also the quickest way. You can easily do a day trip to Penang from Kuala Lumpur and fly back the same evening if you wish – although, I really don’t recommend this!

Click here to see the prices for your dates.

You can fly KL to Penang using either Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL) or Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (SZB). You’ll arrive at Penang International Airport (PEN). Airline options include AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, MYAirline, Firefly and Batik Air.

Flights run frequently from early to late. When I put in a random date at the time of updating this article, there were around 30 direct flights in a day.

It’s usually quite easy to find a cheap flight from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. The KL to Penang flight price is typically starts around RM100. However, if you take some time to look at all the options, you might be able to find sales and discounts. A discounted air ticket from KL to Penang typically starts around RM 50!

After your flight from Kuala Lumpur to Penang Malaysia, you’ll need to figure out how to cover the 17 kilometres between the airport to George Town. You can take the Rapid Penang Bus, which costs about RM 3 and takes an hour of travel.

Another option is a taxi, which will cost about RM40 and take about a half hour. Traffic can make a huge difference to this travel time.

At the other end, you also need to get to KLIA or Subang Airport. Note that KLIA is about an hour from Kuala Lumpur which is why taking a taxi can be a quicker way to get to Penang from KL. By the time you add up getting to and from the airport, the flight duration and queuing/waiting time at the airport, you’re looking at about 5 hours if you are coming from central KL.

Option Two: Bus From KL To Penang

Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)
Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) in Kuala Lumpur

Purchasing a bus ticket from KL to Penang is a good option for travellers who prefer to move at a slower pace. The KL to Penang bus travel time is about five hours. This is a long ride, but most of the buses are very comfortable.

Going from the KL Sentral bus station to Penang is generally a smooth and easy journey. The express bus from KL to Penang leaves from Terminal Bersepadu Seletan, which is the main bus station in the city.

You can also depart from many other bus stations across Kuala Lumpur. I recommend you look at your KL hotel on a map as well as the bus stations you can pick from and work out which is most convenient for you.

Click here to see the latest timetables and prices.

A bus ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Penang costs around RM35-40. If you want a luxury bus from KL to Penang, you might have to spend a little more.

You can book a coach from Kuala Lumpur to Penang online or at the station. Buses run frequently throughout the day, so this is a good option for last-minute travel plans. A bus leaves pretty much constantly from somewhere in the city.

I recommend you book online before so you have your choice of bus time, bus station and bus line.

You can arrive in Penang at either the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal or the Butterworth station. If you take a bus to Butterworth, note that this isn’t on Penang Island. You can catch a ferry from near the bus terminal here to George Town.

The best bus from KL to Penang is a matter of opinion. Most options are similar, and all offer an acceptable level of comfort during your travels.

Option Three: Train From KL To Penang

Inside a train between KL and Padang Besar
Inside a train between KL and Butterworth

Taking the train from KL Sentral to Penang is another option. The KL to Penang train price starts from RM61. It’s a more expensive than the bus, but it provides the experience of riding the train, if that is something that you enjoy.

The KTM KL to Penang train makes six daily trips spread throughout the day. The express train from KL to Penang takes about 4.25 hours. You can go online to book your train ticket from KL to Penang, or you can book at the station.

After you take the train to Penang from KL Sentral, you’ll arrive at the Butterworth station. Butterworth is not on the island of Penang.

From there, you’ll need to walk to the ferry which will take you to George Town. Two ferries leave per hour. The ride costs RM1.20 and takes about 20 minutes.

Click here to see the latest timetables and prices.

Option Four: Kuala Lumpur To Penang By Taxi

A taxi is another option for how to reach Penang from Kuala Lumpur. It’s the easiest, most comfortable and quickest way to travel between the two places.

The big benefits of taking a private taxi are they you are picked up directly at your hotel (or airport or anywhere else you want) and dropped off at your next hotel with no unnecessary stops. This makes the journey super smooth and means you don’t have to deal with your luggage in the heat in unknown places.

You can arrive at your destination feeling fresh and ready to go instead of sweaty and tired.

The downside is the cost. It can not be much more than other options if there is a few of you though. The typical Kuala Lumpur to Penang taxi fare is RM 805 on klook.

A better deal can be found by clicking here and requesting our private taxi booking service.

We can organise a safe, local taxi driver for you for RM700 for up to four people and we have bigger vehicle options as well for larger groups.

The huge upside is that this can actually be quicker and easier than flying thanks to no airline queues and check-ins and you don’t have to worry about flight delays and cancellations.

You might be able to convince a driver to provide transport from KL to Penang for a cheaper price, but this is a long shot. Since the driver may be unable to find someone else to bring back to KL, they usually must charge more to cover spending so much time on the highway.

If you want more information about how to go from Kuala Lumpur to Penang via taxi, click here and request a quote.

best stay in Penang at Georgetown
Historic George Town, Penang

Option Five: Kuala Lumpur To Penang By Car

If you enjoy driving, going from KL to Penang by car might be the best choice for you. The distance from Kuala Lumpur to Penang by car is 358 kilometers. It takes about four hours to drive that far under normal conditions, but note that traffic into or out of KL and Penang can extend this. Try to avoid peak morning and evening times.

Considering the KL to Penang distance, driving yourself is a good choice. You’ll be free to take your time and stop at any of the attractions along the way.

When planning a road trip from KL to Penang, you’ll need to be aware of the costs. The Kuala Lumpur to Penang by car cost will vary depending on the vehicle you drive, but in general, this is an affordable option. It’s easy to hire a car in Kuala Lumpur (click here for prices).

The tolls are one factor that will affect the cost of the KL to Penang drive. You’ll pass three toll gates on your way to Penang. The total for all toll fees should amount to around RM41, which means you can cover the entire Kula Lumpur to Penang distance by road for RM82 return. You’ll also need to consider the cost of fuel.

Driving in Malaysia
Driving in Malaysia

Want the Easiest (and BEST) Way to travel between Penang and Kuala Lumpur?

We can book a taxi for you from anywhere in Kuala Lumpur directly to your hotel in Penang for a great price.

You can pick your own departure time, relax and know everything will go to plan.

Click here for prices and online booking.

From Penang To Kuala Lumpur

The journey back to Kuala Lumpur will follow the same route you took to get there. If you drove yourself, you’ll naturally need to drive back. If you went with another option, you can choose a different method for the return trip.

Considering the distance between Penang and Kuala Lumpur, it makes sense that you might want to utilise ground transportation going one way and then do the return journey by plane.

Book a flight ticket from Penang to KL, a train from Penang to KL, a nice bus to KL, or a taxi all of which should cost about the same as they did going the other direction.

Click here for long distance taxi prices.

Click here for Penang to KL bus prices and times.

If you choose a Penang to KL flight, you can fly onward to another destination from there. If you’ll be staying in Kuala Lumpur, you can find a taxi to take you back to the city. A taxi ride will cost about RM 75.

Find flight prices here.

Penang accommodation batu ferringhi beach
Batu Ferringhi – it’s easy to find a quiet stretch

Final Words

When deciding how to get to Penang from KL, consider what you enjoy about travel. Do you like to get to your destination and begin sightseeing right away? Do you prefer to travel at a slower pace and experience the small towns and pit stops between major cities?

In summary, taking a taxi between Kuala Lumpur and Penang is the quickest and easiest option. The bus is the most affordable. The train is a little more costly and also requires a ferry to get to Penang island. A flight is a good option if you are already at KL Airport.

Click here for more information and prices for a taxi.

No matter what you choose, you’ll be sure to have a great time in Penang. Enjoy your trip!

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Click here to read our full guide on what to do in Penang for 3 days. You can also find our full Penang travel guide here.

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.