Taking the bus to sightsee Penang (3 August, 2013)
Hello and welcome to Penang! I received a lot of emails from budget travellers who plan to rely on Penang's public transport to explore the island and mainland. Thank you for your questions. They provide me useful insights into what people want to know. Now I write this article to offer you tips for taking the bus to sightsee Penang. It compiles the many questions I have received, and I hope that by sharing the answers here, it will help other visitors to Penang.
I am arriving in Penang by cruise ship. Is the bus terminal far from the cruise terminal? Should I take a bus or taxi to go from the cruise terminal to the bus terminal?
The cruise terminal is at Swettenham Pier . The bus terminal is at the Jetty, and is called Weld Quay Bus Terminal . I decided to measure the distance. Okay, it is 663 meters. I think most people would be able to cover that distance on foot. In any case, the nearest bus stop is approximately half way between the cruise terminal and bus terminal, so by walking there you have covered half the distance.
Is there a free bus service on Penang Island? Does it take me to so-and-so sight?
There is a free bus service called the Central Area Transit, or CAT. It makes a loop around the inner city. Many of the historic sights of George Town are within the inner city. Which bus stop should you alight to visit so-and-so sight? All the bus stops for the CAT is numbered. Now read the page for the sight. I will have a map there showing its location. By matching the CAT map to the map of the sight, determine the nearest bus stop to alight.
Which bus should I take to go to so-and-so sight?
I have a full list of Penang sights right here. Almost all of them includes a map. I also mention on the page of major sights the bus that you should take.
Does the CAT bus go to the Kek Lok Si Temple, Batu Ferringhi, Penang Hill, etc.?
As mentioned, compare the map of the CAT route to the map of showing the sight to see if the route passes nearby. In short, the CAT does not go to the Kek Lok Si Temple, Batu Ferringhi or Penang Hill. You have to take either the Rapid Penang public bus or the Hop On Hop Off tourist bus. Both require paying a fare.
If I want to switch between the CAT and the Rapid Penang public bus, which bus stop should I alight?
The two bus stops where the widest array of routes converge are the Weld Quay Bus Terminal and the Komtar Bus Interchange. These are Bus Stop No. 2 and No. 9 on the CAT route. Alight at either of these bus stops and board the public bus to your intended sight.
Is it recommended to take the Hop On Hop Off tourist bus?
The Hop On Hop Off tourist bus is certainly the ideal mode of transport for sightseeing Penang. You can sit in the open-air upper deck or the air-conditioned coach with large windows, and for sure your views of the surrounding sights will be unimpeded. The route of the Hop On Hop Off covers all the must-see sights of Penang, passing most of the major hotels. Moreover, there is a customer service officer on board to help you, explain things to you, clarify things for you.
How accurate are your bus routes?
I try to keep the bus routes on my website as updated as possible, but this is a continuous task, and I do apologize if the bus route is not the most up-to-date, as some of the routes are changed without my knowledge. I try to make the change as soon as the information reaches me.
What bus should I take to go to so-and-so sight from the Penang Airport?
The buses that serve the Penang International Airport are 102, 306, 401 and 401E. Unless the sight happens to be on one of the aforementioned routes, you should take the bus (401, 401E) to the Weld Quay Bus Terminal to change to another bus.
Is it possible to take the bus around Penang Island?
Yes, and I would recommend you do it, if you have the time. Start your journey at Weld Quay Bus Terminal, then either go clockwise or anti-clockwise around the island. To go clockwise, take bus 401 to the Balik Pulau Bus Terminal, then take bus 501 to the Teluk Bahang Bus Terminus, and finally take bus 101 to return to Weld Quay. Reverse the route to go anti-clockwise.
Which bus should I take to go to Penang Mainland?
None. Presently the bus routes are either on the island or on the mainland. There isn't a route that crosses the channel, except for the BEST factory buses, but these are commuter buses that do not start their routes at the Weld Quay Bus Terminal. To cross from Weld Quay Bus Terminal in George Town to the Penang Sentral Bus Terminal in Butterworth, or vice versa, take the ferry.
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