Located 30 kilometers (19 miles) off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia, Langkawi Island is a truly spectacular destination, known for its cable car and sky bridge, beautiful beaches and Geoforest Park. We highly recommend visiting Langkawi if you want to see the best that Malaysia has to offer.
What are the ways to travel from Penang to Langkawi?
Since both Penang and Langkawi are islands, your trip will have to include either a ferry crossing or a flight. The good thing is that there are several different options that should meet the needs of travelers with different budgets and travel schedules.
You can take different modes of transportation from Penang to Langkawi, such as bus and ferry, train and ferry, or choose to fly. Read on to learn more about all these options.
From Penang to Langkawi by plane
The advantage of traveling by air is that it is fast, and only about 119 kilometers (74 miles), so the flight is very fast, about 35 minutes. So if you decide to fly, you won't be climbing very high; in fact, it will look as if you've just come up from the runway in Penang, and in just a few minutes you'll already be down on the ground!
Flights are great if you are trying to see as much of Malaysia as possible in the shortest amount of time. The cost of flying is usually rated as high, but with the two airlines operating on this route, AirAsia and Firefly, the tickets are surprisingly affordable.
You may find that if you book your plane tickets in advance, you can get an amount not much more than the cost of a ferry ticket. And, because the flight goes so quickly, even travelers who don't like to fly hardly have time to think about it!
AirAsia flies to Langkawi from Penang three times a day, all after hours. Penang International Airport is one of the busiest in Malaysia, and although Langkawi International Airport is smaller, it is also well equipped for the modern traveler.
High-speed ferry from Penang to Langkawi
If you don't like flying, the ferry to Langkawi comes in handy. One of the most popular is the direct, high-speed ferry. There are two daily Langkawi Ferry services that depart in the morning and afternoon.
The scheduled travel time is 2 hours and 45 minutes, although it often takes longer if the sea is rough because the ferry must move at lower speeds. With this in mind, anyone who suffers from seasickness may want to fly because the rocking can be quite serious even when the sea is relatively calm.
Travel by bus and ferry from Penang to Langkawi
If the idea of traveling to Langkawi by ferry really appeals to you, but you would prefer a shorter trip, there are several different options for combining ferries and buses. Some will include a longer bus trip, but the ferry part of the trip will be shorter. Although the entire trip will involve a couple of connections, getting from Penang to Langkawi by bus and ferry is noticeably cheaper than a high-speed direct ferry ticket, so if you are traveling on a tight budget, this may be a good decision.
So there are several different options. From Penang you can take a ferry to the mainland, to the town of Butterworth. The bus station is literally right next to the ferry terminal, so walk a few steps and then take a bus to Alor Setar. From Alor Setar you will need to take another bus, which will take you 15 kilometers (9 miles) to the ferry terminal in Kuala Kedah.
Ferries from Kuala Kedah leave for Langkawi almost every hour, between 7 am and 7 pm. The ferry trip takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Another option is to take a bus from Penang to Butterworth and then go north by bus to Kuala Perlis. The advantage of this bus and ferry trip is that you are already traveling toward Langkawi, which is north of Penang. Kuala Perlis is opposite Langkawi Island, so this road leads to the shortest ferry ride of about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
In terms of the cost of the ferry part of the trip, this is also the cheapest option, and like Alor Setar, these ferries leave almost every hour between 7am and 7pm. In total, traveling by bus and ferry together, you'll only pay about half of what a direct ferry from to Langkawi costs, so it's great if you're on a tight budget.
Train and ferry from Penang to Langkawi
One of the last transportation options to consider is train and ferry. If you prefer trains to buses, this can be a good way to travel and you will have several different trains to choose from, depending on your budget and schedule.
First, you'll need to get to Butterworth on the mainland, then you can take the train to Alor Setar or Arau, and then transfer from the train to the ferry at the port. Komuter trains are the cheapest, but they are slow - ideal if you're not in a hurry, while the high-speed ETS trains will get you to the ferry much faster, but cost more.
So, these are all the possible travel options from Penang to Langkawi. Many people choose a plane, which will get them there in the shortest possible time. Considering that it doesn't cost much more than a high-speed ferry, flying to Langkawi does seem like a good idea.