Penang is a cultural melting pot located on the northwest coast of Malaysia. For such a small island, Penang has so much to offer – vibrant culture, colourful heritage, amazing food, urban wonders, and untouched rainforest. At its heart is George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a city rich in history.
You can choose from 3 options when travelling the 250km distance from Cameron Highlands to Penang. You can hop on a bus for 4.5 hours, ride a taxi for 3.5 hours, or take the train for 5 hours (excluding transfers). Fares range between 30 MYR ($8) and 600 MYR ($145).
The bus is a cheap and convenient option. You can take a direct bus from Cameron Highlands city centre to Sungai Nibong in Penang Island, or an indirect bus via Butterworth. Ticket prices start from 30 MYR ($7). Read on to help you choose which one is the best option for you.
The taxi is the fastest yet most expensive option for the Cameron Highlands to Penang route. Fares start from 600 MYR ($145), but you can reach Penang in just 3.5 hours.
Neither Cameron Highlands nor Penang have their own trainstation. If you want to travel by train, you’ll have to take an additional bus and ferry ride. Combined travel time is around 5 hours. Total fares start from 139 MYR ($32.50).
When travelling by bus from Cameron Highlands to Penang, you can take either a direct or indirect route.
The direct bus goes straight to Penang Island, but parks at Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal. Note that this is 10km away from the city centre in George Town, so you’ll have to take an additional bus or taxi ride.
The indirect bus only takes you as far as Butterworth, a town directly opposite Penang Island but on the mainland. From here, you’ll take a ferry to Weld Quay in Penang Island. The advantage though is this port is only 2km from the city centre.
Cameron Highlands to Penang by a direct Bus
Duration: 4.5 hours Cost: 30 MYR ($7)
C.S. Express, Unititi Express, and Perak Transit are the companies operating direct buses from Cameron Highlands to Penang Island. These depart from Tanah Rata Terminal and arrive at Sungai Nibong Terminal.
Fares start from 30 MYR ($7) and travel time is around 4.5 hours. You can book your tickets beforehand via BusOnlineTicket. Below are the schedules of direct buses operating from Cameron Highlands to Penang:
To reach George Town from Sungai Nibong Terminal, you can take either a bus or a taxi. The bus ride (Line 102) takes 50 minutes and costs 4.50 MYR ($1). The taxi ride takes 20 minutes, with fares starting from 38.50 MYR ($9).
Cameron Highlands to Penang by an Indirect Bus
Duration: 5 hours Cost: 63 MYR ($15)
Step 1: Cameron Highlands to Butterworth by Bus
Duration: 4.5 hours Cost: 47 MYR ($11)
At least 2 bus companies offer trips from Cameron Highlands to Butterworth. These are Perak Transit and Unititi Express.
Perak is $1 more expensive, but we think it’s worth the extra legroom for the 4.5-hour journey. Both are available for online booking on BookAway.
The buses park at Penang Sentral in Butterworth. This is connected to the port by a walkway. Note though that there are some stairs involved so it might be quite tiring if you’re carrying a lot of luggage.
At the Butterworth side, you will find the ferries at Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal. These depart every 20 to 30 minutes from 05:20 to 22:00 and every 40 minutes until 00:10. A ferry ticket costs 3 MYR ($0.70).
The ferries dock at Weld Quay, located some 2km from the city centre. From here, you can take a 5-minute taxi to George Town for around 13 MYR ($3). If you’re not in a hurry, the bus (Line 101) only costs 4.50 MYR ($1). Note though that buses take a different route so they need 20 minutes to reach George Town.
A private taxi ride from Cameron Highlands to Penang can be quite expensive. Rates range from 600 MYR ($145) to 684 MYR ($160). If you’re looking for speed though, a taxi journey only takes around 3.5 hours.
Since this is a long-distance trip, we suggest that you ask your hotel for taxi recommendations. They might be able to help you haggle for lower rates too!
Cameron Highlands to Penang by Train
Duration: 5 hours Cost: 118 MYR ($27.50)
If you really want to travel by train from Cameron Highlands to Penang, you’ll need to prepare yourself for a little adventure. This option involves 3 transfers – a bus, a train, and a ferry ride!
From Cameron Highlands, you first must take a bus to Ipoh, a city some 91km away. Buses depart from Tanah Rata Terminal from 08:00-18:30 every day. These arrive at Amanjaya Terminal in Ipoh after around 2 hours 45 minutes.
Tickets are easily available at Tanah Rata Terminal in Cameron Highlands, but you might want to book online beforehand via BookAway to guarantee a seat, especially during the busy season. A ticket costs 30 MYR ($7).
For the next leg of the trip, you’ll need to head to Ipoh Train Station which is another 10km away from Amanjaya Terminal. To get there, you can take either a 30-minute taxi or a 50-minute bus. Fares start from 30 MYR ($7) and 4.30 MYR ($1), respectively.
Step 2: Ipoh to Butterworth by Train
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes Cost: 42 MYR ($10)
From Ipoh to Butterworth, 3 trains operate on weekdays and 5 on weekends. Fares differ daily, but they’re normally around 42 MYR ($10). Below are their schedules:
Like Penang Sentral, Butterworth is connected to Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal by a walkway. It takes around 10 minutes to reach the port, maybe even longer if you’re struggling with your luggage.
Ferries depart every 20 to 30 minutes from 05:20 to 22:00. They continue to operate until 00:40, but every 40 minutes. You can buy a ferry ticket at the port for 3 MYR ($0.70).
The ferries dock at Weld Quay. To reach George Town (2km away), you can hop on a 5-minute taxi ride for around 13 MYR ($3) or a 20-minute bus journey (Line 101) for 4.50 MYR ($1).