I logged into this site too late, but echo most of the comments about public transport particularly to/from Ferringhi Beach. Having concluded that I cannot rely on the hotel shuttle, I decided to become adventurous and try the local bus. Concierge informed me that bus 93 goes to Georgetown every 30 minutes.
Lesson number#1: 30 minutes in Malaysian time means something else.
Lesson number#2: Don't trust what the concierge says.
Needless to say, I rang a local taxi centre after an hour of waiting in the sun. The only shady spot that I can find was rudely 'claimed' by a driver who was delivering food to the Kafe Miami, right opposite the Ferringhi Beach Hotel.
If you're planning on doinng a lot commuting from Ferringhi Beach Hotel to/from (a) the Beach proper, and (b) Georgetown city, then hiring a small car may be a better option. I just found out that it cost RM500 per week (or RM 100 per day) to rent one of those mini-cars (can accomodate four adults with no space for luggage, although I recommend two for good comfort). Compare this with RM 25-30 one-way to the city, or RM10-12 one-way to Ferringhi beach.
For me, I am going to hire the car NOW.
Getting around Penang on a public bus can cost a migraine even for locals. The main bus terminal is at Prangin Mall in Georgetown where you are able to get buses to other parts of Penang. Unfortunately there are no bus schedules though I've read that the transport ministry is looking into it.
We do not have a subway. But if you are travelling with another companion then sometimes getting a taxi saves a lot of time though not money of course but at least you can split the cost. You have to bargain and taxis in Penang do not travel by meter. Its also advisable if you ask around, maybe your hotel/hostel staff would be able to advise you on the price of getting to your destination.
You can walk around Georgetown. Its not very big and with a proper map you are able to move around quite easily.
It has risen due to a recent hike in petrol and diesel prices. If you are coming from the airport, go to the taxi/limo counter at the right end of arrival hall and order a cab from there. Avg price to Georgetown hotels like Gurney/Evergreen Laurel are RM38. These prices are controlled by the government and are reasonable. Travelling from Georgetown hotels to town area tourist attractions e.g Fort Conwallis is standardised to RM10 anything more than that, you should walk away. However to and fro from popular hill tourist attractions like Penang Hill funicular / Kek Lok Si temple are RM20. Since these 2 attractions are nearby each other, you should visit the other after visiting one. The drivers would ask for about RM10, bargain with them, you can get about RM7-8. Always walk away if you think is too expensive as there are plenty of cabs around to hire. These prices are updated as at 5th March. The oil prices are about to raise again soon, so if the airport transfer goes up, you will find that all cab fees will follow to raise.
Our holiday was enhanced by choosing to jump on some of the local buses in Penang. The buses are privately owned and we were told that they go through regular mechanical checks to ensure that they are safe to be driven. Sometimes there will be more than one service provider on the same route. If you are told the number of the bus you need to catch, be aware that a different provider will have a different number.
Buses are very shabby and usually have ripped seats because they are so old. The engine bay is often covered with old blankets stuck down with tape in an effort to muffle the noise. Those facts accepted, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
In the centre of Georgetown at the Komtar and Prangin Mall, all the buses appear to terminate. On a couple of ocassions we boarded buses ready for the half hour journey to Battu Ferringhi and the driver would do his sales pitch on the footpath shouting out to everyone that the bus was about to leave. They never do until the bus is full!! Generally, buses seemed to go to Battu Ferringhi every half hour (roughly). The cost is very cheap and doesn't seem to go over 2rm. We also used buses to get to Guerney Plaza and we found the bus drivers were all helpful to us. If you tell them your hotel or destination and it is well known, they have no problem in stopping and letting you know when it is time to disembark. It also seemed to us that you could hail a bus even if you were not at a designated stop. Give the bus a try!!
If you're lazy like me and the rest of tourist population, take the Swiss-made furnicular up to Penang Hill. The tram will take half an hour to creep to the top and you'll see little vegetable farms and colonial houses along the way. Sure this is touristy but what the heck, it beats walking uphill with a knee-impaired spouse for hours.
Cost for a 2way ticket : RM4.00
It is very cheap to use public transport to get around Penang. There are only two busses from Batu Ferringhi to Gerogetown, Hin busses no 93 - blue colour and Milan busses - yellow colour. One way ticket from Batu Ferringhi to Komtar is only 2RM per person. Busses are no the best quality and drivers are driving like maniacs. We also witnessed when driver swapped his seat with another driver while the bus was going in the middle of the traffic. But they get you where you want to and they are definitely cheap. Forget about schedules, they only drive when the bus is full. It is usually every 15-30 minutes during the week.
You wont want to travel by bus in Penang.. There is no fix public bus schedule and you may wait for an hour or more for the bus you want.
I said 'bye' to the bus services in penang long time ago after i get my motorbike lisence. I went to school by bus when I was 16. A 15 minutes ride to school takes me 1 1/2 hours by bus if I am lucky. If you have to take a bus in Penang, I wish you lucky. By the way, prepare enough small coins.
Taxis are very common in Penang...they take you everywhere for very little. It usually costs 20 - 55 RM per hour but you can pay more or less depending on how good you bargin... ;) You can wave a taxi down anywhere along the street but ALWAYS ask the price before getting in...and always try to bargin the price down unless you know that it is a fair price.
We caught a bus into Georgetown from Bay View one day...it costed 2 RM (we were told we got ripped off, it should have cost 1.5 RM). The trip in was great because it was much cooler than being in a taxi and not as squashy. We also got to see a lot more along the way.
The bus was easy to catch and they seemed to come past the hotel every 15 minutes or so...
Taxi service in Georgetown is modestly priced but patchy at best. It only gets worse if you are going outside of the city, especially off the island. Best to rent a car (right-hand drive) because other forms of public transport are even more unreliable. Be careful driving here. Although Malaysians are a genuinely friendly bunch, none of this courtesy is aparent when they are behind the wheel of car. "Merge" and "Yield" are as foriegn to the Malaysian as polution abatement. And beware of the ubiquitous "skeeters" (motor-scooters). I'm designing my next action-packed race car software with tons of these things. If its half the challenge in the virtual word as it is in the real world... watch out! Your in for the thrill of your life... or should I say ..."scare of your life"!
the main bus station located beside lifestyle store and underneath the tunnel of komtar building. this public transport comes in handy if you are a budget traveller. there are several boards clearly stated the bus number and the destinations. bear in mind that always prepared extra coins in ur pocket.
The local bus from Batu Ferringhi to George is Bus# 93, fare is 1.50 sen and #202 (air conditioned), fare at 1.80 sen.
The buses are noisy and heavy polluters. Exact change and coins are not necessary and the 'machine' isn't able to verify how much was put in.
the number 93 bus takes you from BF into Komtar, Georgetown. The cost is 2MR each trip. There are lots of bustops along the BF strip and buses usually come every 20mins or so.