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Arriving by Plane in Penang

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Arriving in Penang by planeArriving in Penang by plane (3 May, 2015)

B. Melayu

On this page, I want to provide you with useful tips for arriving in Penang by plane. The Penang International Airport is the gateway for people arriving by plane in Penang. The information is especially intended for independent travelers who are arriving on their own and not on a pre-arranged tour package. If you are flying off from this airport, the information for departing passengers is available on the main page about the Penang International Airport. At time of writing (Oct 2012), the Penang International Airport is undergoing a RM250 milion expansion program that will allow it to handle the yearly increase in passenger traffic (presently 4.5 million passenger movements as of 2011).

Exterior of the Penang International Airport Terminal Building (27 October, 2012)

Arriving at Penang International Airport

The following diagram shows the steps taken when you arrive. Apart from passport clearance, both international and domestic passengers follow similar paths, procceding to collect their baggage from the relevant carousels and then have them scanned at Customs at the Arrival Hall before exiting to the Arrival concourse outside. Read entry requirements into Malaysia for more details for foreign visitors to Penang.

The Arrival concourse is located on the ground floor of the airport. Among the facilities here include a Tourism Malaysia booth, a souvenir outlet, and counters for car rental.

Arrival concourse, Penang International Airport (27 October, 2012)

Tourism Malaysia booth, Penang Airport (27 October, 2012)

Exiting the Penang International Airport

The road outside the Arrival concourse is split into three traffic channels for three different types of traffic. The Inner Traffic Channel, with two lanes, is for the Airport White Taxi. The Middle Traffic Channel has three lanes. This is for passenger cars and vans for picking up arriving passengers. The Outer Traffic Channel has three lanes and is for the public bus as well as for cars heading in and out of the car park outside the terminal (one of several car parks).

Taking the Public Bus

Rapid Penang, the bus operator in Penang, offers four bus routes that goes to the Penang International Airport terminal building. They are 102 (relaunched on 15 March 2010), 306, 401, 401E and Airport Transit buses.

Rapid Penang Bus 401 approaching the Penang International Airport terminal building (27 October, 2012)

The Rapid Penang buses have a red roof, cream-and-blue body, and red livery with the words "rapid PENANG" in white. They have the same appearance as the Rapid KL buses in Kuala Lumpur. Here's information on the Rapid Penang Bus Routes.

The bus stop shelter where the Rapid Penang buses stop is on the Outer Traffic Channel. As you exit the terminal building, look for it on the left side.

If you are going to George Town, make sure the buses show "Jetty" as the destination, not "Balik Pulau", to ensure you don't go in the wrong direction! The fare to town (i.e. to Komtar, Chulia Street and Weld Quay Ferry & Bus Terminal) is RM2.70 (as of Oct 2012). For more details, please read Taking the Bus from Penang Airport.

Bus Stop shelter at the Penang Airport terminal building (27 October, 2012)

Free rides on Rapid Penang buses for passengers on board Firefly flights
Passengers on board Firefly flights have the privilege of taking the Rapid Penang buses out of the airport for free. Approach the Firefly counter at the airport and get the regulator on duty to sign your Boarding Pass. Then present it to the driver. He will insert the bottom half of the Boarding Pass into the collection box while you hang on to the top half.

Taking long distances buses

The terminus for long-distances buses is the Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal. From there, you can take buses to almost any town and city on Peninsular Malaysia. It is located about 8 km from the airport. To reach it from the airport, take Rapid Penang bus 102 or 401. If you are unsure of where it is, it may be prudent to ask the bus driver to drop you at the Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal. On arriving there, you can switch to the long-distance bus. To ensure you get your bus ticket ready, you can pre-book your ticket online below:

Arranging Van Transfers and Tour Guides

Penang Tour Guides is a group of free-lance tour guides who take visitors on tailor-made tours of Penang, based on what the visitors want to see. These guides also act as driver in taking visitors around in their car. They charge according to time and can drive small groups of visitors of maximum 4 guests in cars. Minimum rate for car is RM90 per hour for minimum 4 hours. These guide can also take visitors on walking tours of the city. For details, contact Rose, the tour coordinator at Penang Tour Guides, by filling up the form below. Rose may also arrange vans and buses for larger groups. Inform Rose what you expect to see/do/experience, so that she may select a guide that is most appropriate to your needs.

Get Tour Guides

The white Airport Taxi, lined up outside the Arrival Hall (27 October, 2012)

Taking the Airport Taxi

The Airport Taxi is the official taxi service out of the Penang International Airport. City taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers. At the Arrival Hall, look for the Taxi Counter, where you buy your ticket and then go outside to take the taxi.

The taxi counter is in the Arrival Hall. (17 February, 2017)

Pay at the ticket counter, get the ticket, and pass it to the taxi driver. All the airport taxis are lined up at the taxi bay at the Inner Traffic Channel. You are expected to take the one at the head of the line. The fare is as shown below:

Penang Airport Taxi Fare (3 May, 2015)

Renting a car

Renting a car is quite straightforward at the airport. The Car Rental Counters (Kaunter Kereta Sewa) are at the Arrival concourse, near the escalator to the Departure concourse. For more details, read Renting A Car in Penang.

Just shop around for one that suits your needs. You can also call those car rental companies:

  1. Avis-Rent-A-Car: (04) 646 2410
  2. Hertz-Rent-A-Car: (04) 263 5914
  3. Mayflower Car Rental: (04) 262 8196
  4. Kasina Baru: (04) 228 2641
  5. National Car Rental: (04) 262 9204
  6. New Bob: (04) 642 1111
  7. Orix Car Rental: 1 800 88 1555
  8. Syarikat Ruhanmas: (04) 881 1071

Car Rental Counters at the Penang International Airport (17 February, 2017)

Being fetched from the Penang Airport

If someone is fetching you from the airport, he may either drive up to the curbside at Arrival Hall, from where he may stop to pick you up. He is not allowed to park at curbside, but may wait in the car if he is not blocking traffic. Alternatively, he can find a parking spot in the car park.

This is where cars coming to pick up newly arrived passengers may stop, but not park. (27 October, 2012)

Parking at the Penang Airport

There are a number of car parks in front of the airport. The charges are shown below. The path to the car park is on the left side of the ramp to the Arrival Hall curbside.

The parking charges is RM2 per hour to a maximum of RM24 per day. You may leave your car at the airport for extended period paying daily parking fee of RM24 per day. If you lose your ticket, you have to pay a RM50 fine on top of the parking charges.

Airport Autopay SystemAirport Autopay System (17 February, 2017)

Airport Autopay SystemFront view of the Autopay machine (17 February, 2017)

Airport Autopay SystemPenang International Airport Parking Charges (17 February, 2017)

Driving out of Penang Airport

Driving around Penang Island is quite easy. The city of George Town, however, is full of one-way streets, so getting around might be a bit tricky for the unfamiliar. Having said that, it would be a terrific idea to get a GPS device to help you find your way, and on this website, I provide lots of GPS coordinates of sights in Penang, so that you can move about easily.

The driveway makes a circular route around the main car park, which is in front of the terminal building. To the left of the driveway are additional car parks. Follow the lane for "George Town" to get out of the airport.

Driving out of the Penang International Airport (27 October, 2012)

Nearest Petrol Station

Driving out of Penang airport, you can find two petrol stations nearby, a Petronas and a Shell. One is along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, on the way towards the Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone. To get there, take the ramp immediately after the flyover. The other is on the road into Bayan Lepas Town. To get there, make a left turn in front of the flyover. See location in the map below. Here's also information on almost all the petrol stations on Penang Island.

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