Bus Station in Penang: a Guide to Penang’s three Bus Terminals

Getting a bus in Penang and you don't know where the bus station is? Well, you have come to the right page, because there are THREE, and we'll explain to you how to best reach each one of them.

bus penang to kl penang sentral
The inside of Penang Sentral, opened in January 2019, the best place to catch a bus from Penang to KL (picture credit: Marco Ferrarese)

Buses are a popular way to travel to Penang from other parts of Malaysia.

But to be honest, with not one but THREE bus stations in Penang, it can get a bit confusing for first-timers.

You have landed on the right page. This post will teach you about:

  • What are the three bus stations in Penang
  • Penang Sentral in Butterworth
  • KOMTAR bus terminal
  • Sungai Nibong bus terminal on Penang island
  • What are the most popular routes from these stations
  • How to buy bus tickets

Penang Bus Stations explained

There are three bus stations in Penang, and the main terminal is NOT on the island, but in Butterworth on Penang Mainland.

When buying tickets, for example, from Kuala Lumpur to Penang it’s handy to know that when referring to Penang, ticket sellers mean the island (Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal), but it’s actually faster to travel to Butterworth.

The next paragraphs will outline all the different bus stations in Penang.

How to buy bus tickets in Penang?

These days the most convenient and faster option is to buy your bus tickets online. Why queue up at the bus station and risk not getting on the bus you want at the time you want because there are no more tickets?

We use Bus Online Tickets or 12GoAsia, which both accept all major credit and debit card payments and PayPal.

Blogging transparency: this post contains affiliate links. These are products and services that we personally use and recommend. If you click on one and buy any service, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Consider it a small way to say thanks, and keep Penang Insider going.

Penang Sentral, the main bus station in Penang

Penang Sentral bus station in Penang Butterworth
Penang Sentral is the landmark next to which you can find Penang Train Station and catch a train from Penang to Kuala Lumpur (picture by Marco Ferrarese)

Opened in November 2018, this is the newest, state-of-the-art bus station in Penang, but it is set on the mainland side of the state, in Butterworth.

It has been studied to be the main transport hub in Northern Malaysia and to connect seamlessly the Penang Ferry and Butterworth train station to the interstate and local bus system.

Developed on several levels, it has plenty of food and beverage options, from a 7/11 to a nasi kandar restaurant and several food outlets.

On the lower ground floor, Rapid Penang buses travel to the main cities in the mainland, like Bukit Mertajam and Batu Kawan among others.

If you have some time to kill between connections, you could take a walk or a quick Grab ride to Butterworth Art Walk, which is less than 1km away.

Popular Bus Routes in Penang Sentral

Penang Sentral is connected to everywhere in Malaysia. These are some of the main routes. Click on the destinations to see full schedules and buy tickets online with Paypal, GrabPay, and all major Malaysian and international debit and credit cards.

Penang Sentral to TBS (Kuala Lumpur) 8.00 — 00.30 RM 35
Penang Sentral to Ipoh 9.30 — 23.00 RM 15.30
Penang Sentral to Cameron Highlands 7.00 — 15.00 RM 32
Penang Sentral to Larkin (Johor Bharu) 9.00 — 23.00 RM 65
Penang Sentral to Kuantan 10 — 23.30 RM 58

How to reach Penang Sentral?

This is a map of Penang Sentral:

Penang Sentral has a Ferry Terminal Linkway, a taxi terminal, and is connected to Butterworth KTM station at Level 2.

All Rapid Penang local bus routes from cities in Penang Mainland leave and return to Penang Sentral.

Butterworth also has Grab coverage and it’s easy enough to get a ride to Penang Sentral.

At last, if someone is driving you there, they can easily drop you off at Level 3, accessible from the main road via a flyover.

KOMTAR Bus Terminal, George Town’s Bus Hub

KOMTAR Bus station in Penang george town with passengers
KOMTAR Bus Station in George Town (image from Wiki Commons)

Set right under KOMTAR, Penang’s highest building, this central bus terminal attracts most local Rapid Penang Traffic.

It’s a major intersection for almost all the routes operated by Rapid Penang and offers buses to all points on the island, including Balik Pulau.

The station is divided into 5 lanes marked for destinations, and a large over-hanging departures board will help you navigate bus timings and destinations.

For further assistance, a small rapid Penang booth is on the right-hand side of the KOMTAR Bus terminal, facing the main road, Jalan Ria.

If you wanted to catch the FREECat city bus, it actually stops on Jalan Ria next to the information booth.

Travel Agents on Pranging Mall Ground Floor

For out-of-state destinations, including Singapore, the row of travel agents on the ground floor of Pranging Mall — one of Penang’s best shopping malls — offers tickets and pick-ups.

With the convenience of the other two Penang bus stations, and especially since you can buy bus tickets from Penang to any other destination online, there’s no need to use these agencies.

But if you really want to, remember that you need to go buy your ticket there and arrange a pick-up time. Some of the agencies simply organize minivans to the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal for a marked-up price, so we recommend asking if the bus will actually stop here to pick you up.

Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal, the main bus station on Penang island

Sungai Nibong Bus terminal in Penang
Sungai Nibong Bus terminal in Penang (image from Wiki Commons)

Sungai Nibong is the main bus station on Penang island and serves most long-distance buses to most national destinations, and also Singapore. When you buy a ticket from any Malaysian city to “Penang”, the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal is where you’ll be dropped off.

To be honest, the location is not convenient if you are located in the tourist area in George Town. It is located close to the First Penang Bridge and Universiti Sains Malaysia, about 10 kilometers from George Town’s heritage city center.

If you can choose, it’s best to catch a bus to Penang Sentral and hop on the small catamarans that substitute the Penang Ferry, as the trip only takes an extra 15 minutes.

How to reach Sungai Nibong Bus Station

This is a map of Sungai Nibong Bus Station:

Rapid Penang connects KOMTAR bus station and the Weld Quay Rapid Penang hub to Sungai Nibong Bus station. The trip costs RM2.5 and can take up to an hour in traffic, so make sure to leave early enough.

Check Rapid Penang routes on their official website.

The fastest way is to catch Grab or any other ride-hail like MULA, and it should cost about RM15/20 to get into town.

For this reason, we still think it would be more convenient and cheaper to travel t Penang Sentral first, and then continue to your next destination from there.

Also consider that if your bus arrives after 11 pm when local buses stop running, you’ll be forced to catch a Grab car into town, and the cost could be even higher.

Popular Bus Routes in Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal

Sungai Nibong is connected to most destinations in Malaysia. These are some of the main routes. Click on the destinations to see full schedules and buy tickets online with Paypal, GrabPay, and all major Malaysian and international debit and credit cards.

Sungai Nibong to TBS (Kuala Lumpur) 8.00 — 00.30 RM 35
Sungai Nibong to Ipoh 9.30 — 23.00 RM 15.30
Sungai Nibong to Cameron Highlands 7.00 — 15.00 RM 32
Sungai Nibong to Larkin (Johor Bharu) 9.00 — 23.00 RM 65
Sungai Nibong to Kuantan 10 — 23.30 RM 58

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