Kuala Lumpur to Penang Island by train and ferry travel review

I’ve been waiting for the right moment to try the new kl (KL sentral) to Penang (butterworth) ETS train but haven’t had the time until a couple of weeks ago. I’ve missed the fast train when it first started.
Now the fastest train time is 4h 10. It still beats the old school train by a few hours only because it no longer stops at every station. The platinum train has 10 stops and takes 4h15.

I booked my train ticket on the official website and it was really easy. I printed the ticket at home but if you download the app you can just show the digital copy.

The ticket pricing is:

  1. ETS platinum RM 79 Time: 4h 15

  2. ETS gold RM59 Time: 4h 25

Platinum is more expensive because it’s 10mins faster and offers complimentary snacks but I must have missed it cos I didn’t see where the free snacks were. It makes no sense to me as I brought my own snacks.

There are 5 trains a day to Butterworth. Butterworth is the nearest station to Penang if you want to take the ferry across to George town, Penang Island.

I arrived at KL sentral about 30mins before the tain was scheduled to leave. It was way too early but at least the station has a lot of restaurants and places to buy snacks for the trip.

We were allowed to board the train about 10mins before the scheduled departure.

The train is clean and comfy but the air conditioning was a bit cold. Luckily I anticipated this and brought a shawl to be used as a blanket.

There’s currently NO WiFi on board and no power sockets to charge your phone or computer. Make sure your devices are all charged up.

The train speed averages about 110km. The train starts off slow as you leave the city but picks up speed about an hour later. The top speed was 150km per hour. There’s a screen which shows the speed. I used waze to double check it’s accuracy.

The views get interesting after Ipoh, about half way point. Padi fields and green landscapes.

At Butterworth, which is the final stop, get off the train, follow the signs to the ferry terminal. It’s a 10 min walk via the bus terminal.

The ferry leaves every 20mins or so and takes 15 mins to cross to Penang. The ferry fare is RM 1.20 and is free when you leave the island.

At the ferry terminal on Penang island, I ordered a Grab Car to take me home.

Total door to door time: 6 hours.

Would we take it again? Probably not because it takes too long but it was a good experience to try it once.

Are we there yet?

Kl to Penang intercity train

Penang ferry


The ETS train from KL to Penang is one of the most popular routes among passengers. Introduced as a fast and safe mode of transportation, the ETS trains allow passengers a hassle-free travel experience. With both locations offering passengers an abundance of activities, the train ticket from KL to Penang is definitely one that is in popular demand.

Offering sightseeing opportunities and wonderful food, Penang has always been a popular destination among locals and tourists alike. Unique as an urban state that retains its cultural heritage, Georgetown is even named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cutting down significantly on travel time, passengers can opt for the fully electric train from KL to Penang as a faster and greener way of travelling.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. hcyip says:

    When I was in Malaysia, I traveled by train from KL to Ipoh, then Ipoh to Penang. I found the trains to be smooth and efficient. I take it flying from KL to Penang is much faster, right?


    1. Definitely. Flying is 4 hours door to door. Driving is fastest but is tiring

      Liked by 1 person

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