Tips & choices comparison for optimising traveling from KL to Penang (and vice-versa or back again)

 

KL to PEN Options

  • Drive
  • Bus (Coach)
  • Train (Eletric Train Service)
  • Fly

 

drive

pen-kul-drive

Drive

Pros:

  1. More luggage space in boot & back seat
  2. Cheaper costs if you have 3 or more passengers
  3. You get to drive your own vehicle at the destination (not needing to reply on public transportation/others)
  4. Stop at any rest stops for however long you like on the way

Cons:

  1. Costs more including fuel & tolls especially if traveling alone
  2. Tiring drive of ~4 hours each way

Tips:

  1. Take turns driving with your partner
  2. If tired/micro-napping, take a quick 10 min rest at a break area which helps tremendously!
  3. Use the time to listen to podcasts (especially on personal finances ;))

 

aeroline

Bus (Coach)

Pros:

  1. Affordable at 60 (or less)
  2. You can rest/read/play with your phone while on the bus
  3. Served drink/snack + toilet on board

Cons:

  1. Fixed bus schedule which may not meet your preferred travel times
  2. Safety concerns (pick a reputable bus company like Aeroline or Nice!)
  3. Travel time may be longer at 4-5 hours

Tips:

  1. Best bus seats are in the middle (front feel inertia, back the bumps & road condition) & left side (turnings are slower)
  2. Choose a single seater if you are traveling alone else the aisle seat so it’s easier to go in/out of your seat
  3. Aeroline & Nice have frequent member programs which may be worthwhile if you travel frequently

 

ets

Train (ETS)

Pros:

  1. Affordable at 59 (Gold) / 79 (Platinum – less stops)
  2. You can rest/read/play with your phone while on the bus
  3. Relatively fast & comfortable with shared TV screen, wifi, washroom & f&b (at a price)
  4. Multiple trains available at different times

Cons:

  1. Travel time may be longer at 4-5 hours
  2. It is a hassle to take the ferry / drive to the mainland if you are coming from Penang Island
  3. If you’re afraid of the cold… It’s pretty cold!

Tips:

  1. Select seats facing in the direction you are traveling for better comfort
  2. Did we mention the cold? Remember to bring along a jacket/shawl/hug partner 😛
  3. Don’t take the silver/older trains unless you are looking for a “long & scenic” ride
  4. Besides friend/public transport to the ferry terminal, consider driving to Butterworth / BM & parking your car at (~RM12 daily) /nearby (~RM5) the train station

 

airasia

Fly

Pros:

  1. Faster – arguably as you need to factor in early arrival pre-departure/check-in & traveling from the airport (KLIA/2 are quite out of the way) to your destination
  2. Increased comfort
  3. Can be potentially cheaper during promotions/sales (Sign up as a member for notifications + member points). Especially for AirAsia sales

Cons:

  1. Higher costs especially if booking last minute
  2. Limited free luggage space (and expensive to purchase additional luggage space)

Tips:

  1. Fly using Fireflyz if you are heading to a location nearer to Subang (Also eligible for BonusLink points/redemption)
  2. Malindo is often the cheapest but often flights are cancelled/delayed. Caveat emptor!
  3. MAS is an option to consider as well as now Economy flights are priced to be quite competitive with budget airlines (Business & First class still competing with full service airlines)
  4. Read more tips on Travel & Flying

 

 

 

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