Penang is one destination you can’t miss if you are based in Asia or thinking of travelling there. Penang has precious heritages like beautiful beaches, ruins, museums, wild forests, temples and a whole lot of delicious street food. From Singapore, travelling to Penang is possible by bus, an option other than flying there if you fancy just hopping on an overnight bus journey which takes about 10 hours.
Book a bus ticket from Singapore to Penang
You can get your bus ticket online from this website we used or rock up at the Golden Mile Complex at Beach Road and walk into any of the travelling agencies on the ground floor facing the main road. We went for Billion stars as it had reclining chairs, massage chairs and was cheap. Most of the buses going to Penang will depart at night at around 10 PM. There are also buses that leave the morning at 10 AM but are less frequent. The cost of the ticket Singapore-Penang cost S$120 return for the both of us, which makes it around S$30 one way. It will depend on the type of bus you choose, but we had pretty luxury and clean busses. If you are flexible with your return date and that you are tight on your budget and rather try to save a penny where you can just buy a one-way ticket and it will be much cheaper to buy the return ticket from Penang itself, as you pay in Malaysia Ringgit. Busses do fill up quickly so if you are on a schedule, better book everything in advance. Also, make sure you book a ticket that will drop you right in Georgetown, not at the bus station once you cross the bridge to Penang. Our bus dropped us at the Pranglin Mall in Georgetown.
Departing by bus from Singapore to Penang at the Golden Mile Complex
It is advised to get to the Golden Mile Complex half an hour earlier to register with the travel agency you booked your journey. You will be given the bus plate number. It is a bit hectic in the sense that you never know exactly where will be your bus, especially for our case which Billion Stars bus was 30 minutes late to pick us up and we were told by many staff around different locations where the bus would be. It ended up parking in front of the Golden Mile Complex on the streets, not in the parking lot. It didn’t help the fact that it was late and that the Billion Stars office was actually closed with no phone number picking up. After all, it all went well and we managed! The bus was okay but we transferred to the border to a much nicer bus with screens and massage chairs.
Border crossing by bus Singapore-Malaysia
The bus travel to Woodland causeway checkpoint. We left our luggage in the bus to walk through the Singapore immigration to exit the country. We only brought our passport and was a bit worried about our valuables but it was all fine. We would advise you to take at least your valuables next time and leave your heavy luggage on the bus. Exiting the customs of Singapore is always a breeze, as it is a quick scan of your thumbs with no human interaction, that’s it, that’s all! The bus will bring you across the causeway to the Malaysia immigration and you may expect a few extra passengers in the bus as they paid to be lifted to the Malay border! At the other border entry, you have to bring all the luggage with you. In our case, we changed buses to a better one. Wouldn’t know how it is with other companies than the one we took. At this point, we fell asleep the whole way until Penang and didn’t really take note of the pit stops. All we know is that our bus did have a few stops to drop people in Kuala Lumpur and so on. There are toilet breaks so do not worry. You just have to make sure you are awake for them!
Arriving in Penang
Our bus had a first stop in Penang at the Sungai Nibong bus terminal. We were the only one that expected to be dropped further away in Georgetown at the Pranglin Mall. Our driver switched us to a small bus with another driver and we ended up being just us two to be transferred to our destination. If you have booked a ticket that ends its journey at the Sungai station, you will have to take the local bus, taxi or Grab to get to Georgetown. The distance between Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal to Georgetown is about 10 KM.
The fastest way to get to Penang from Singapore
Of course, for saving time, you should not take the bus but you can book a low-cost airline ticket that will cost around S$79 if you find such ticket, one way and without checking in any luggage. Flying will be during the day, you will then need to commute from the airport to Georgetown and you will still end up using about 4-5 hours of travelling so might as well take an overnight bus in our opinion. It will all depend on the convenience you will rather have.
Bus from Penang to Singapore
Since our ticket was already booked, we only showed up 30 minutes before our departure to the Billion Stars office to check-in and get our bus number. The bus was once again 30 minutes late but we departed after all on a comfortable reclinable seat bus. This time around, no massage chairs and only one big screen in the front which our driver didn’t play anything haha. It was still comfortable and I sure slept like a baby, unlike Mitch.
Border crossing by bus Malaysia-Singapore
This time around, even to exit Malaysia you have to bring all of your belongings. To enter the Singapore border crossing, you will also need to bring everything. Travelling by bus is really convenient if you travel light! Considering it was Saturday morning, the line-up to go in Singapore was ridiculously long. Took us over 40 minutes to get through customs. If you are not a Singaporean Resident, we advise you to have an outbound ticket, flight or bus, somewhere as the border agents sometimes ask for it. I personally got asked and Mitch didn’t. If you actually don’t have a ticket booked as you have unsure travel plans, there are websites you can use to book a dummy ticket of an existing flight. Once you have crossed, find your bus and you will have two options to return to the Beach Road at the Golden Mile Complex or Boon Lay. We initially booked our cheapest ticket back to Boon Lay, which in our case our driver told us to hop on another bus right beside, but we asked if we could come back at the Golden Mile Complex, which he agreed.