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Butterworth is the main town on the mainland side of Penang state in Malaysia. It was named after William John Butterworth, governor of the Straits Settlements from 1843-1855.

Butterworth Docks

Smaller, more industrial and practical, Butterworth does not have any of the atmosphere which George Town across the Penang Straits has. However, it is an important transportation hub for all train and many bus services which do not go directly to Penang Island.

Butterworth is also the mainland terminal for the Penang Ferry.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Butterworth Railway Station

1 Butterworth railway station is next to the bus and ferry terminal, south of the town centre. It is a major rail terminal for Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Malayan Railways) ETS and Komuter trains heading south to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and north to Padang Besar on the border with Thailand, where connecting trains to Hat Yai and Bangkok are operated by State Railways of Thailand's[dead link]. In December 2015, electrifying and double-tracking is completed up to the Thai border. Although overnight express trains to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur were canceled, new ETS and Komuter trains, capable of traveling up to 140 km/h, link Kuala Lumpur in just four hours and Padang Besar in less than two hours.

  • To/from Kuala Lumpur
    There are five ETS trains traveling to/from Kuala Lumpur. The fair is RM59 or RM79 depends on the service level. Seats on these trains are often sold out, and it is advisable to book in advance either at the KTMB office in the Georgetown ferry terminal, or on-line at KTMB website or other third party booking site such as or
  • To/from Thailand
    KTMB operates Komuter trains traveling to/from Padang Besar at the Thai border hourly from 05:25 to 21:25. The fair is RM11.40 and travel time is one hour and 50 minutes. From Padang Besar, State Railways of Thailand's[dead link] operates twice daily shuttle trains to Hat Yai, that costs 80 baht and takes 50 minutes, and once daily express train to Bangkok. Alternatively, there are frequent local buses from the Thai side of the border to Hat Yai. Thai time is ::one hour behind: Malaysian time: check departure time of Thai trains are either in Thai or Malaysian time. Border formalities are done inside the Padang Besar station but there is no ATM or official currency exchange inside the station, and it is advisable to exchange some Thai baht before heading there. Refer to the KTMB site for schedule.
  • To/from Taiping
    KTMB also operates Komuter train south towards Taiping. It is also possible to make a connection there to more ETS trains to Kuala Lumpur and further south to Gemas. For schedule, refer to Train36 website

By bus[edit]

The 2 bus station is a few metres from the train station, under the highway overpass. Any train station representative can point you in the direction of the bus stop.

Buses go into many destinations throughout the country.

  • To/from Kuala Lumpur - almost hourly, journey takes 5 hours and costs around RM25. If you are in a rush to get to KL, the bus may be your best bet. The journey time can be half as long. Most of the coaches have air-con, as well as other comforts. The buses, in most cases, do not have restrooms. However, the buses make a number of breaks at rest stops, which have restrooms, food and drinks available. Much of the journey is very scenic.
Beware of the friendly and helpful touts preying on tourists at the bus station. They aren't selling tickets; they sell a voucher which you later exchange for a ticket, at which stage you'll find you've been overcharged by several ringgit.
Ferries docked at Butterworth

By road[edit]

City is accessible by the Butterworth Outer Ring Road and the Butterworth–Kulim Expressway, the latter is part of the North–South Expressway.

By boat[edit]

The much-loved Penang ferry departs regularly from the 3 Butterworth Ferry Terminal for George Town. The ferry terminal is connected with the railway station and bus terminal via covered walkways. In 2019 there was ongoing building work, making connections a little convoluted: in general, from the train station entrance take a left to the bus terminal, where the ferry terminal may be reached from the first floor, above the buses. Travellers may want to consider using toilets at their hotels or at restaurants as the ferry toilets are infamous for their overuse and offensive odours.

Get around[edit]

Rapid Penang - bus service that covers most of the city as well as entire Penang state.


Temple of the Ninth Emperor God
  • 1 Temple of the Ninth Emperor God, Jl Raja Uda, +60 4 331-8717. This is a very beautiful temple with impressive architecture. The sculptures and carvings are very neat and nice. The temple was constructed in 2000 by about 50 craftsmen from China. It has three grand prayer halls, replacing an older temple that was built next to it in 1971. It's being decorated for the annual Nine Emperor Gods (Kew Ong Yeah) festival on every 9th month of Chinese Lunar Calendar.
  • 2 Pantai Bersih Beach, Bagan Ajam. Sandy beach, famous for its seafood restaurants and a popular picnic spot among locals.

Outside of the city[edit]

  • 3 Penang Bird Park, Jl Todak, Seberang Jaya, Perai, +60 4 399-1899, . Daily 09:00-19:00. This is the first and the largest bird park of its kind in Malaysia. It houses more than 300 species of birds from throughout the world, of which about half are Malaysian species. Experience hand-feeding birds in the geodesic domes and two giant-sized walk-in-aviaries. Two bird shows daily at 11:30 and 15:30. To get there take a 10-minute bus ride from Butterworth Ferry Terminal. The park receives a fair bit of negative reviews due to the bad conditions in which birds are kept, although other people find it attractive enough and worth a visit. RM38 for adult and RM20 for children below 12 year-old.
  • 4 Air Hitam Dalam Educational Forest (Hutan Pelajaran Air Hitam Dalam). A protected recreation park, mostly unknown to the public. It offers walks on boardwalks and suspension bridges through the forest, views from the observation towers and gazebos.


Hypermarkets such as Carrefour and Tesco Extra can be found in Seberang Jaya. Besides, in Seberang Jaya itself, there is a shopping mall called Sunway Carnival Mall. Other shopping complexes such as Megamal are in Perai. Jusco Bandar Perda and the Summit can be found in Bukit Mertajam.


  • Various cafes in Bandar Sunway. Old Town Kopitiam, Swenz, Sri Wan are just a few. A very popular hangout for the locals

Many Chinese restaurants are available along the road to the sea

  • Pantai Bersih Seafood Restaurants. Once a nice stretch of beach for locals to relax. Since the emergence of the BORR highway, only a patch of the beach survives. There are several very good and cheap seafood restaurants there.
  • Jalan Raja Uda. Used to be the longest road in Malaysia. Along this road there are various hawker centers and most of the Penang food can be found here. There are at least two main morning markets along this road as well, one is off to Jalan Ong Yi How and another one is further up north and more popularly known as 'Apollo'. New development along the south of Raja Uda is known as 'Wooly Avenue' and this houses new shoplots and restaurants.
  • Bukit Tambun (Seberang Perai Selatan). 6PM-? daily. Famous for its relatively low-price fresh seafood.
  • Prawn Village.
  • Times Moving Cafe, Jalan Ong Yi How (Chung Ling High School). M-Sa 11AM-7PM. Famous for its relatively low-price fresh wafer and French Fries. You can try the nice taste wafer with many difference flavour and special French Fries with cheese, BBQ and chocolate at there. It is easily found by its sharp pink-coloured van.
  • Sweet Paradise Dim Sum. Very popular dim sum restaurant. Serving probably the best and largest variety of dim sum in the region.
  • Heap Hoe Hin (協和興), 6743, Jl Raja Uda, +60 4 3239812. The shop sells more than 450 kinds of biscuits. Open since 1949.



Butterworth has few hostels and star-rated hotels serving visitors:

  • Butterworth Travel Lodge, 1, Lrg Bagan Luar 1, Bagan Luar, +60 4 333-3399. From Penang Bridge, it takes about 15 to 30 min for you to get to these hotels, depends on the traffic conditions.
  • De' Garden Hotel, Lorong Cempa (Off Jl Telaga Air), +60 4 332-2000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 10-15 min driving distance from Butterworth Ferry & Bus Terminal. 5 min driving distance from Raja Uda Food enclave. 123 units of well furnished rooms and complete amenities. A/C, cableTV, coffee/tea maker, internet, and a mini-bar. Business centre, laundry service, and safe deposit boxes. RM 138.
  • Chariton Hotel, 1, Lorong Jermal Indah, Taman Jermal Indah, +60 4 324-8899. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Affordable hotel with quality services and facilities.
  • Hotel Palm Inn, 4802, Jl Bagan Luar, Bagan Luar, +60 4 331-7532, +60 4 332-7532. Free Wi-Fi in all rooms, hot water, televisions, private bathrooms - yet no toilet paper, at least not in twin rooms. RM105 for a twin share room.
  • Pearl View Hotel, 2933, Jl Baru, +60 4 398-9888. In Chai Leng Park. Includes a gym, spa and ballroom.
  • Sunway Hotel, 11, Lebuh Tenggiri Dua, Seberang Jaya. George Town

Go next[edit]

George Town is the obvious place to go next. Taiping and Alor Setar, in the neighbouring states of Perak and Kedah, are just over an hour's drive away.

Routes through Butterworth
BangkokPadang Besar  N  S  END
Alor Setar  N  S  Taiping

This city travel guide to Butterworth is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.