Once upon a time, there a boy from a land far away decided to pay a visit to his auntie who lives in Penang Island or Pulau Pinang (in Malay Language, ‘pulau’ means island and ‘pinang’ is an areca nut). Upon arrival at Butterworth ferry terminal, he waited for ‘Pulau Pinang’ ferry to get across to the island.
After several hours passed, he decided to ask a local man, “May I know when will ‘Pulau Pinang’ ferry arrive?”
The man then asked him, “Young boy, where are you going to?”
The boy replied, “I am going to Pulau Pinang, but I have waited for almost a day and I have seen ferries to Pulau Payar, Pulau Kapas, Pulau Undan, Pulau Talang Talang, Pulau Rimau, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Angsa but not Pulau Pinang!”
The man laughed and said, “My dear boy! All these ferries are heading to Pulau Pinang. Those are just the name of the ferry”
Yes, the fleet of Penang Ferry Services entails 8 ferries named after 8 beautiful islands in Malaysia and Pulau Pinang is just one of them that connects Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal in Butterworth to Raja Tun Uda ferry terminal at Weld Quay in Penang Island. Operating since 1920, Penang Ferry Services is the oldest ferry service in Malaysia.
Since Penang Bridge was completed and opened to public in 1985, the demand of Penang Ferry Services has slowed down as more vehicles do have the alternative of crossing Penang Channel via Penang Bridge instead.
Having said that, Penang Ferry still faithfully operates to serve some of the loyal folks especially pedestrians or public transport users. Being the reason, it is located strategically at Butterworth bus terminal. Upon reaching Penang Island, plenty of buses are also easily accessible to roam or get around in George Town as long as you are familiar with the bus routes. Taxi does offer an alternative if you are in hurry but the cost is much higher.
I remember when I was younger, Ferry services operated 24/7 taking care of pedestrians and vehicles. Today, Penang Ferry Services does not operate between midnight (after 1:00 am) until dawn at 5:30 am. For further detail, please refer below to obtain the estimated departure time from both Butterworth and Penang Island terminal.
The departure time in blue font indicates the vehicular ferry that takes vehicles on both upper and lower deck. While the black font departure time are servicing both pedestrians at the upper deck and vehicles at the lower deck. Please note that this schedule is however subject to change without prior notice.
Each ferry journey takes about 15-20 minutes. Being in the ferry bring me some nostalgic feeling as the passenger’s bench (on the upper deck) is rather unique. The seats can be switched manually to face the destination simply by flipping the wooden piece of shoulder rest. While the lower deck is a flat wooden field, ready to take in cars or other vehicles. Cars usually take the bow and motorbike or bicycles are queued at stern.
It is indeed a refreshing breezy journey on the iconic ferry while you enjoy the view Penang Bridge and George Town!
To check out the ferry rate, please refer here. Fee is only required to be paid at Butterworth terminal.
To contact the Penang Ferry Service operator:
1. Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda (Penang Island)
Hotline: +604-2102 363
2. Pengkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (Butterworth)
Hotline: +604-3102 377