Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations      HubGarden      Recipes
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

The Penang Island Ferry

Home > Penang Island > Travel | Outdoor | Island Hopping | Cheap | Boating
by Rota (subscribe)
Still out and about
Published October 7th 2015
The best way to get to George Town
The city of George Town on Penang Island is a delightful mix of history and culture with influences from the Chinese, Malays and Indians that make the island their home. George Town is well known for its colourful street art and great spicy food, and the Penang Ferry is just the way to make your way to this delightful city.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Arriving at Penang Port

Taking the ferry is a great a way to get to the island for a few days stay in George Town, but it is equally suited for just a day trip if you are pressed for time.

So how to take this memorable little journey? First, get yourself to to Butterworth.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Cultural and colourful George Town, Penang Island

Down at the port there is a major transport interchange which is home to the Butterworth Railway Station, Bus Station and a taxi stand. Train or bus is the popular way to arrive, if coming from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Frequent buses arrive in Butterworth

It can be difficult at first to figure out where the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal is because there is a lot of infrastructure that blocks your line of sight. Don't fret though, just move past the buses, keeping the train station on your left and look for the walkway.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
The ferry is behind the bus terminal and past the train station

You will soon see a few signs confirming that the ferry is near. There's a lot of going up and down stairs and ramps to get you to the ferry (since you need to pass over a busy road) but just follow the constant flow of people who are always heading there, and you will find it.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Keep your eyes open for the many signs to the ferry

At the ticket gates, head over to the change counter on your left, and get the correct coins. The gates don't take bills - or certain Malaysian coins - so confirm at the counter before lining up to go through.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Ride the ferry super cheap

At only 1.20 Malaysian ringgit for adults, the trip across is a deal. And interestingly, this is only paid when travelling from the mainland to the island. Travel from the island to the mainland is never charged. Free travel - always a winner!

I took the ferry a fair few times during my visit to the area and every ride was a pleasure.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Follow the bustling crowd

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
The view at Butterworth as we board

During the day, enjoy a clear view of the cruise ships often parked at the cruise jetty, the passing tug boats and other ferries on the same route, and the ships anchored in the harbour. A stunning sight is the Penang Bridge - a more than 13 km long feat of engineering that links Penang Island to the mainland of Malaysia.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
The Penang Bridge

The hum of the engines, the lap of the waves against the ferry and the soft murmur of the passengers makes for a mesmerizing journey. There is always a lovely breeze across the deck and you can sit for the journey or stand, as I preferred to, at the side or front of the ship for the best views.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Customers and cars

The ferry itself has a number of decks - with some space designated for cars and motorbikes - so if you come with your own transport be assured that you will be able to travel across with it.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
The Selatan Strait

There are usually cheap snacks available at a small kiosk on the ferry, and there are separate male and female toilets on board.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Toilets on the ferry

Disembarking is simple - just wait for the ferry to berth and the attendant will open the gates to allow you off. Follow the flood of passengers off down the ramps, and you will find yourself at the George Town transport interchange where buses and taxis are stationed.

penang ferry, penang island, butterworth, george town, malaysia
Snacks onboard

It's good to note, however, that if you are staying on the popular street of Lebuh Chulia, it is only a short walk from here, up the street to your left, and Lebuh Chulia is on your right. No real need for a taxi - unless you have a lot of baggage.

Ferries leave around every 20 minutes in the daytime, and around every 40 minutes at night.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  20
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Take a ferry ride to a culturally-rich Malaysian island
When: The first ferry from Butterworth is at around 6.00 am, with the last at about 12.30 am. The first departure from Penang Island is at around 5.30 am and the last at about 1 am.
Where: Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal, Butterworth, Malaysia
Cost: Adult: RM 1.20, Children (between 5-12 years old): RM 0.60, Vehicles, Bicycle: RM 1.40, Motorcycle: RM 2.00, Car: RM 7.70
Your Comment
This brings to mind the Toronto Island ferry in Canada. At Toronto's port you can catch a ferry to Toronto Island which has a small amusement park and is all parkland to enjoy for a day trip. Thanks for the photos for Penang!
by Kristin Ravelle (score: 2|302) 954 days ago
Articles from other cities
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists