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.
Are you planning on exploring Penang after an awesome adventure in Taman Negara? The journey is going to be quite long as you’ll have to go around the mountains of Pahang, but we think it’s worth it!
You have 3 options when travelling the 540km distance from Taman Negara to Penang: you can take a 10-hour bus via Cameron Highlands; hop on a 9-hour bus via Temerloh; or take an 8.5-hour taxi. Rates range between 74 MYR ($16.50) and 280 MYR ($63).
There are no direct buses operating between Taman Negara to Penang. To travel by bus, we recommend the Cameron Highlands route. This includes 2 buses and a ferry, but the schedules are quite convenient so you won’t have to wait long for your connecting transfers. Combined fares start from 143 MYR ($32.50).
The bus route from Taman Negara to Penang via Temerloh is much cheaper at only 74 MYR ($16.50), but we’re not sure if it’s worth the extra hassle and time. You’ll have to take 3 buses and a ferry to complete this journey, and you’ll need to wait at least 6 hours for your connecting bus in Temerloh. It’s a very quiet town in central Pahang so we doubt you’ll have much to do there.
Normally the taxi is your best bet for a direct transfer, but as you’ll be coming from Malaysia’s mountainous area, finding a taxi driver willing to take you straight to Penang might be quite difficult. And if you do find one, that will cost at least 280 MYR ($63) for the 8.5-hour journey from Taman Negara to Penang.
If you really want to take a taxi, you might have to divide your ride – one taxi from Taman Negara to Cameron Highlands and then another taxi to take you the rest of the way to Penang. Alternatively, you can take a taxi to Temerloh, transfer to a bus bound for Butterworth, and then hop on a ferry to Penang Island.
We prefer to travel with Han Travel as their minibus goes directly to Cameron Highlands. Also, you can conveniently book them online via BookAway beforehand.
With NKS, their minibus makes a short stopover in Jerantut, where you have to transfer to another minibus going to Cameron Highlands. This makes the total travel time longer. For ticket reservations, you can contact them through their website.
Next, you’ll need to take another bus to Butterworth, a mainland town located just 3km east of Penang Island.
Two companies offer daily trips from Cameron Highlands to Butterworth: Perak Transit and Unititi Express. Note that although Perak Transit is $1 more expensive than Unititi, it is also faster and more comfortable. Both companies are available to book online through BookAway.
Bus Schedule from Cameron Highlands to Butterworth
The buses park at Penang Sentral, which is connected to the port by a walkway.
Alternative options from Cameron Highlands to Penang
There are actually 4 ways you can travel from Cameron Highlands to Penang: by direct bus (around 5 hours); by indirect bus via Butterworth (4 hours 15 minutes); by taxi (3.5 hours); and by train (5 hours).
We recommend the indirect bus via Butterworth as it’s the best option for time, comfort and cost. But if you prefer to explore the other options, you can find more details on our page for Cameron Highlands to Penang.
A 10 to 15-minute walk from Penang Sentral will take you to Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal. From here, ferries bound for Penang Island depart twice an hour from 05:20 to 00:10. You can get a ferry ticket for 3 MYR ($0.65).
After a 10 to 20-minute journey, the ferries dock at Weld Quay. If you’re heading to George Town, you have 2 choices: a 5-minute taxi or a 20-minute bus (Line 101). Fares start from 13 MYR ($2.95) and 4.50 MYR ($1), respectively.
Taman Negara to Penang via Temerloh by Bus
Duration: 9 hours Cost: 74 MYR ($16.50)
Although the bus via Temerloh is the cheapest option for this route, we don’t recommend it as it can eat up too much of your time. We’re still giving you a detailed guide though so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it!
Step 1: Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan) to Jerantut by Minibus
Duration: 1.5 hours Cost: 7 MYR ($1.55)
From Taman Negara, you’ll first have to take a “jungle bus” to Jerantut, a town located 70km south of the national park.
Bus Latiff and Pahang Lin Siong provide affordable transfers from Taman Negara to Jerantut three times a day and you can get a ticket for 7 MYR ($1.55). Alternatively, you can take the NKS shuttle coach for a few dollars more.
Below are our recommended bus schedules if you want to take a connecting bus from Jerantut to Temerloh within the same day:
Minibus Schedule from Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan) to Jerantut
These jungle buses depart from Taman Negara Bus Stop in Kuala Tahan town centre. You can purchase your ticket there, but make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure time to be guaranteed a seat. If you’re travelling with NKS, you can reserve a ticket through their website.
They arrive at Jerantut Bus Terminal.
Step 2: Jerantut to Temerloh by Bus
Duration: 1.5 hours Cost: 6 MYR ($1.35)
From Jerantut Bus Terminal, you’ll have to travel further south to Temerloh, a town in Central Pahang.
Transnasional operates 1 to 2 bus trips for this route daily. You’ll have to check their schedules online to know how many trips are available for your desired date. Fortunately, you can do that easily through BusOnlineTicket, where you can also already book your ticket. Travel time is around 1.5 hours
At Temerloh, you can finally take a bus bound for Butterworth, the nearest mainland town to Penang Island (just 3km away).
There are 4 available bus trips for this route daily. However, with the schedules of the first 2 buses you’ll have to take from Kuala Tahan to Temerloh, you’ll have to wait until 23:00 for your connecting bus to Butterworth. That’s at least a 6-hour wait in this quiet town.
Still want to take on this adventure? Make sure you book your tickets beforehand via BusOnlineTicket to guarantee a seat.
A 10-minute walk from Penang Sentral will take you to Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal. From here, you can take a ferry bound for Penang Island. These depart twice almost every hour from 05:20 to 00:10. A ticket costs 3 MYR ($0.65) and the journey takes 10 to 20 minutes.
The ferries dock at Weld Quay, which is just 2km away from George Town. You have 2 choices to reach the town centre: a 5-minute taxi that costs around 13 MYR ($2.95) or a 20-minute bus (Line 101) worth 4.50 MYR ($1).
Taman Negara to Penang by Taxi
Duration: 8.5 hours Cost: 280 MYR ($63)
Are you travelling with your family from Taman Negara to Penang? If so, then you’re probably hoping to make the journey a bit easier by renting a long-distance taxi.
Unfortunately, the route from Taman Negara to Penang is not very common, which is why not a lot of taxi drivers will be willing to take on this journey. You can still try asking your hotel for assistance, but you’re looking at rates starting from 280 MYR ($63) for the 8.5-hour journey.
In case no one agrees to take you all the way, you can also try getting a taxi from Taman Negara to Cameron Highlands (a more common route), and then transfer to another taxi from there.
Alternative Option: Combined Taxi & Bus via Temerloh
If you’re looking for a convenient option but are not ready to shell out $280 on transportation alone, why not split this journey into a taxi and bus ride?
The Temerloh route can be quite convenient if you can arrive there in time for the morning buses. To be able to do that, your best option is to take an early morning taxi from Taman Negara. Our proposed itinerary will look like this:
Temerloh Route Schedule
Taman Negara to Temerloh
Depart no later than 07:30
290 MYR ($65)
Temerloh to Butterworth
5 hours 30 minutes
45 MYR ($10)
Butterworth to Penang Island
Ferry + Taxi
Operates from 05:20-00:10
16 MYR ($3.60)
Combined travel time is around 9 hours and fares start from 350 MYR ($79).