Public transport is certainly not the only way to travel around Penang – but it’s definitely one of the best!
All of the island’s public transport is overground, so all you have to do is peer out the windows to take in our cities, towns and villages – along with some of the most stunning landscapes in between.
Let’s hop on the public transport and take the time to enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful island!
1. CAT Free Shuttle Bus
When you hop on board a CAT Free Shuttle Bus, you’re travelling along with the locals – and that’s where some of the most amazing conversations can start.
So what is CAT? Central Area Transit (CAT) is a free shuttle bus that wanders around the streets of Georgetown starting from Weld Quay Bus Terminal and ends at the Downing Street, next to Fort Cornwallis.
Each bus frequency is within 15 to 20 minutes so there’s no need to worry if you’ve missed the bus. And here’s a route map for the adventure you can take through the shuttle bus consisting of 19 stops!
Operation hours: 6am-12am (Daily)
Official website: www.rapidpg.com.my/journey-planner/route-maps/
2. Penang Hop On Hop Off
The fun way to explore the island is on a double-decked tour bus, which we known as the Penang Hop On Hop Off. It covers two exciting routes: city route and beach route.
Each route is carefully planned to give visitors the best sights and top landmarks through the most popular areas in and out of George Town. Both routes combined, there are more than 50 attractions where visitors can hop-on or hop-off at any of the 33 designated stops.
With the uniquely designed with half-open top, you can actually feel and view the island better and it is based on first come first serve sitting arrangements.
Operation hours: 9am-8pm (Daily)
Foreigner – RM115-RM170 (Adult) ; RM50-RM110 (Child)
Malaysian – RM50-RM88 (Adult); RM25-RM33 (Child)
Official website: myhoponhopoff.com/pg/
If your travelling overland to Penang, then you will probably use the Penang Ferry which runs between Butterworth on the mainland, to Georgetown on the Island.
This ferry service began in the 1920s and was first called Railway Ferries, using rail steamboats. It’s amazing that it is still making its daily round along the busy water of Penang today.
You have two options when using this ferry service: take your vehicle on board or take a ride as a foot passenger. There was no luxurious setting on the ferry, but the nostalgic feeling was all worth it. You could lean against the open windows and felt the warm breeze of the sea.
Operation hours: 5.40am-12.40am (Daily)
Adult – RM 1.20; Children (between 5-12 years old) – RM 0.60
Bicycle – RM 1.40; Motorcycle – RM 2; Car – RM 7.70
Decades before the arrival of comfortable taxis and public buses, thousands of trishaws shaped Penang’s transportation system since the 1950s. While for today, you can explore the beauty of Penang from another angle, from the backseat of a trishaw, an authentic three-wheeled taxi.
Undoubtedly, it is the best way to see and explore the city of George Town in a much slower pace, with full view of the sights as it moves along. Wind through the narrow streets where famous heritage landmarks are found.
Let’s immerse yourself in the nostalgia of Penang with trishaw ride today!
Operation hours: Subject to the availability of trishaw (Daily)
Price: Around RM40/hour
5. Grab Car or Taxi
Getting around places that out of those famous landmarks without your own transport in Penang can be difficult.
The island is certainly not like Kuala Lumpur — where distances can be huge and points of interest spread apart — but if you live outside of George Town or want to explore the best of Penang, you can’t really do it on foot.
You are in luck because things have improved drastically in recent years since mobile apps like Grab Car arrived in Penang or you can just simply hire a taxi just along the roadside, easy peasy!