Getting around Penang
Getting around Georgetown’s UNESCO World Heritage site by walking allows you to experience the pulses of the old city town. Most hotels offer well-designed travel brochures that outline major attractions in Georgetown. While on the street, you’ll stumble upon wire art and fascinating wall paintings that you must take pictures with.
Though the area is big, it is possible to cover most attractions with a 12-hour walking tour. Hiring a tour guide gives you more understanding about the background history and interesting stories happened in the past. Remember to drink a lot of water as it is always sunny throughout the days.
The cheapest vehicle remains bicycle. It is a healthy way to spend a day. The Georgetown’s UNESCO World Heritage site area has bicycle lanes. It is safe riding on the small lanes but do be careful on the main road when the traffic is usually heavy. You may also join a bicycle tour with a guide. A fully-equipped 3-hour tour can cost up to RM100 per person.
A trishaw is a laid-back way to spend a day. In the past, the cheapest walked on foot and the richest used trishaws, with personal driver, or locally referred to as beca. Now this luxury is offered for tourists, together with a driver guide, for a small charge between RM15 to RM30 per hour. You can find trishaws around Georgetown. It is advisable to hire one by the hour and extend if needed.
One of the cheapest modes of transportation around Penang is by buses. Each one has a coin/paper note accepting machine. You need to prepare the exact fare as the driver doesn’t give change. The routes cover the entire city’s and island’s main attractions. The main terminals are in Komtar building and in Weld Quay at the ferry terminal.
You can also purchase a weekly ticket costs RM30. The ticket allows you to travel on any RapidPenang buses without limit in a week.
In any corner you will find a taxi. This is the preferred mode of transport by visitors. The taxi drivers should use meters, but most don’t as the metered rate doesn’t keep up with the living cost. Only the blue executive taxis use meter but it is hard to find one and the rate is higher. For normal red taxis, it is advisable to agree on the ride price before sitting in the car.
The taxi fare from Penang Hill to Gurney Paragon for red taxis is about RM30. The same trip with the meter costs less than RM20.
The most convenient and flexible option is car renting. It can be cheaper then riding a whole day long with a chartered taxi. As the city is big there are a few car rental companies. You can ask the staff in your hotel to get you in touch with one. For a family excursion this is the best option.
The car rental rate is between RM60 and RM400 per day, depending on which company and car model you choose. i1Rentcar offers the lowest rate of RM60/day for a Perodua Kancil car. There are other car rental companies such as SB Rent Car and Kasina of which the rate starts at RM100/day.
Penang is a city that has to offer something for each visitor: business, excursion, honeymoon, cuisine, temples, churches, etc. When you will be in Penang you won’t regret. Time will pass so quick, you will have a lot of fun and it will become one of your favorite destinations.