Getting around Penang
These are the different options of going around Penang. To find out how to get to Penang, look here.
By Private vehicles / Motorcycle
Getting around Penang can be a bit tricky if one doesn’t have an experience driving there. The island part of for example has lots of one-way streets. But the roads in general are safe and well maintained.
On the other side of the island, the terrain is quite hilly. So winding roads up and down the hill are to be expected. However, it is still doable to navigate around the island. The mainland on the other hand has several highways and has well integrated road. Hence, it is easier to navigate.
Below here is the map of Penang.
By Public Transportation
Bus is the only public transportation service available in Penang. The operator is Rapid Penang. It covers an extensive area both on the island and mainland.
KOMTAR Terminal is the central terminal for buses that cover the whole of Penang. Do inform the bus driver of the destination upon entry and pay the amount required in exchange for the ticket. All buses do not carry change for safety reasons, so always prepare the exact amount of money.
There is also free shuttle bus service provided called Free CAT Bus that is also operated by Rapid Penang. The service uses Rapid Penang buses that bear a “Free CAT Bus” sign. However, it only operates only within George Town. It is the most common means of transportation for travelers who wants to go around George Town. Trips are at intervals of 15 minutes.
Cycling is not a number one choice when it comes to exploring Penang. The weather is quite hot and humid during the day. One tends to sweat profusely due to the intense physical activity like cycling. However, it is still doable to cycle along the beaches and the village areas for recreational purpose.
Frequent bike users find cycling around Penang a challenge. The risks posed by cars, motorbikes and even pedestrian make the cyclist vulnerable. The Penangites are still not used to cycling culture, so motorists aren’t used to dealing with cyclists.
Taxi is a convenient mode of transportation but can be pricey. Just like everywhere else some drivers don’t play by the rules. Just make sure that the driver is willing to use the meter before riding the taxi.
E-hailing service like Grab is available in Penang. It is the alternative for the taxi service. The app can be downloaded before the booking. The fare can be paid by cash or credit/debit card. It is by far the most convenient and cheapest way to commute. The drivers are also experienced locals who can share some tips about Penang.
Though Penang now has two bridges connecting the island and the mainland. Ferry is still the most favorite transportation. Interestingly, the fare is only charged when the ferry is going towards the island, whereas the trip to the mainland is not charged.