“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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The bus departed around 9.10 and in a minute or so it was on the motorway and enjoying a clear run 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.
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.
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.
It was a smooth trip apart from about three minutes of rocking around 30 minutes into the trip – perhaps hitting a current.
We departed at 12.05 and arrived about 13.15.
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.