A trip from Penang to Langkawi by bus and ferry – mid-2014

“The reviews of the ferry ride from Penang to Langkawi were that if the weather was calm it was OK, but if rough, people were sick, and the cabin is enclosed, so it becomes a very unpleasant crossing.  See my blog on travel options for more details.” … as I’ve written before.

We decided for this trip to catch the bus to see if this was easier and / or cheaper than driving and paying for parking at the port.  The last trip in December 2012 was during school holidays, and prices in Langkawi were much higher, so this trip started after school had returned. And we thought it was nicer to catch the ferry from George Town and then bus from Butterworth,  rather than the more straightforward Sungai Nibong start.  Starting at Sungai Nibong means one less transfer, but paying a bit more for the taxi.  And the bus will start at Sungai Nibong anyway, then stop at Butterworth. I just enjoy the ferry ride to Butterworth more, though.

Booking bus tickets for Plusliner, Butterworth to Kuala Perlis, on the web was unsuccessful as the web site didn’t work, so we had to go to the bus terminal at Sungai Nibong to purchase them, and we did this about 10 days in advance.  Not that we thought it was really necessary to book, but we were going to Queensbay Mall anyway, and the bus terminal is nearby. You can easily park there, and we were charged RM1 for a short time.

bus ticket

bus ticket

One way costs for one person:

RM20 for taxi to George Town ferry terminal – or if you like RM10 each as there were two of us

RM0 for ferry (returning to George Town it costs RM1.20)

RM16.50 for bus ticket from Butterworth to Kuala Perlis

RM18 for ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi

————

RM54.50

 

Schedule:

07.50 – taxi to George Town

08.15ish – ferry to Butterworth

9.00 – bus departs for Kuala Perlis

11.25 – bus arrives in Kuala Perlis

12.00 – ferry departs for Langkawi

13.15 – ferry arrives at Kuah Town ferry terminal, Langkawi

Times are approximate, as most transport left a few minutes late.

 

The trip:

So, a 10 minute taxi ride got us to the ferry terminal in George Town a little after 8AM, and the sign said four ferries were running per hour. The next ferry departed at 8.18 and arrived at 8.36.

ferry waiting room

ferry waiting room

boarding the ferry to Butterworth

boarding the ferry to Butterworth

underway

underway

four ferries running

four ferries running

seating area on ferry

seating area on ferry

another blue ferry, but with a different car/passenger configuration

another blue ferry, but with a different car/passenger configuration

arriving at Butterworth

arriving at Butterworth

It’s only a few minutes walk to the bus terminal, with ramps for trolley bags for all slopes  except for one short flight of stairs.

Butterworth bus terminal

Butterworth bus terminal

our bus

our bus

Our 9AM bus arrived at 9.01.  It was up to the passengers to load their own luggage in the hold. The driver only opened the hold doors if you asked. And actually the bus was full, we were told.  So it was fortunate we had previously purchased tickets.

inside the bus

inside the bus

The bus condition was reasonable, and the inside clean. As you can see it was a two plus two seat configuration.  There was no entertainment system.

bus route

bus route

The bus departed around 9.10 and in a minute or so it was on the motorway and enjoying a clear run north.

clear road north

clear road north

now there is a double train track laid north

now there is a double train track laid north

We arrived at the bus terminal at Alor Setar at 10.30, and departed about five minutes later. I got out to stretch my legs, but mostly through passengers stayed on board.

at the Alor Setar bus terminal

at the Alor Setar bus terminal

police stopping lorries

police stopping lorries

ordinary roads from now to our destination

ordinary roads from now to our destination

so 40 Kilometres to go

so 40 Kilometres to go

nice scenery on the way

nice scenery on the way

a tree nursery?

a tree nursery?

nice scenery on the way

nice scenery on the way

nice scenery on the way

nice scenery on the way

houses on the river with bougenvillea growing

houses on the river with Bougainvillea growing

nice scenery on the way

nice scenery on the way

the sea at last

the sea at last

almost there

almost there

We arrived at Kuala Perlis bus terminal at 11.25. It’s a few minutes flat walk to the ferry terminal. At this terminal there are bus ticket windows for various routes, and a desultory shop.

we've arrived

we’ve arrived

Kuala Perlis bus terminal

Kuala Perlis bus terminal

Kuala Perlis bus terminal

Kuala Perlis bus terminal

walkway to ferry terminal

covered walkway to ferry terminal

shops near ferry terminal

shops near ferry terminal

 ferry terminal

ferry terminal

 ferry terminal

ferry terminal ticket window – you can’t buy tickets in advance, so you buy on arrival

RM18, then

RM18, then

don't trust this

I think the left column is departure times from Langkawi, and the right column departure times from Kuala Perlis

ferry ticket

ferry ticket

waiting room

waiting room

the ferry

the ferry

our departure is 12.00

our departure is 12.00

Luggage is stored unattended near the entrance doors of the ferry on the lower deck. The toilets aboard were Western style, clean and not smelly – far better than the usual Malaysian standard.

luggage storage

luggage storage

seating onboard - it was fairly empty, so we sat where we liked

seating onboard – it was fairly empty, so we sat where we liked

20121220 (27)s

ferry terminal taken from the departing ferry

It was a smooth trip apart from about three minutes of rocking around 30 minutes into the trip – perhaps hitting a current.

approaching Kuah Ferry Terminal on Langkawi

approaching Kuah Ferry Terminal on Langkawi

We departed at 12.05 and arrived about 13.15.

arrival at Langkawi

arrival at Langkawi

arrival at Langkawi

arrival at Langkawi

on the jetty

on the jetty

just follow this corridor out

just follow this corridor out

Just follow the exit signs and you are soon outside. Across a pedestrian crossing you will find the tourist office, travel offices, and car rental agencies, all in one oval building. It is easy to get yourself organised. There are also touts for car rental and hotels. Sometimes we use them as they are OK.

We didn’t try very hard to get a low price, but it was out of holiday season, and a small manual rental car  was RM50 per day (of 24 hours), a small automatic RM60.  We paid in cash for the full three days, and additionally  RM100 cash deposit and had no problem getting it refunded on return of the car.

All in all, a good trip, with everything going smoothly.

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3 comments

  1. Hello, thanks for so detailed information. I am considering taking the Perlis-Langkawi ferry. Was wondering if I can take taxi from Penang? Do the authorities permit taxis from Penang to Perlis? If yes, then how much can they cost?

    About cars; can I rent a car, drive up to Perlis and leave it at Perlis jetty for the car company to pick up? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hello.

      I suppose you can get a taxi – you would have to find a taxi driver who agrees to do it. There is no law against it. You could also try Uber. Install the app and then request the journey. That way you could also get a price.

      I haven’t rented a car here, but if you are prepared to pay a one-way fee you should be able to leave a car there, if you are using one of the large car rental agencies.

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