Penang International Airport: 22 Things You Should Know
I’ve been travelling to Penang with different methods of transportation. Ferries, buses and planes. My favourite method? By planes.
There’s only 1 terminal at Penang International Airport, so you don’t need to worry about transfer or transit. Based on my own experience, these are the things that you might find useful before arriving in Penang and before flying out of Penang.
Table of Contents
Arriving in Penang Airport
1. Free WiFi
Penang International Airport has a free WiFi that you can use without creating an account. You don’t even need to have a phone number to use the WiFi. The speed and quality are not bad.
2. SIM Card
Before you arrive at the immigration hall, you’ll see 4 telco counters: Digi, Tune Talk, U-Mobile and Hotlink. There, you can purchase local SIM Cards or perform top-up if you’ve already had a local SIM card. If you miss these counters, or you’re rushing to get out of arrival gate as soon as possible, you can find Digi & Hotlink telco counters again after you go out from the arrival gate.
The next thing you’ll meet is the immigration. Unlike Singapore, Malaysia doesn’t require foreign visitors to fill up any immigration forms. So, if you’ve already had a visa (or you’re exempted from it), clearing immigration is quite a breeze. They’ll use a camera to capture your face, and a scanner machine to capture both of your index fingers’ print.
After collecting your baggage from the belt, you’ll be required to scan your baggage before exiting the arrival gate.
5. Maps and Brochures
After baggage scan and just before the exit of arrival gate, there’s a shelf full of maps and brochures in different languages. It’s my favourite place because there is so much useful information for an independent traveller like me. My favourite brochure is Penang Street Food brochure that recommends places to find delicious local food in Penang.
6. Arrival Hall
The arrival hall is pretty much chaotic most of the time. Private drivers can be found walking around looking for customers. There are quite many services and facilities at arrival hall; I’ll be writing about them in details in the next paragraphs.
7. Airport Taxi to Town
One of the most common transportation to the city centre or other parts of Penang is the airport taxi. However, the price could be a little tight for budget travellers. For example, the airport taxi to Georgetown costs RM 45, while the airport van costs RM 90.
You can also arrange a private airport transfer in order to save time from having to queue at the taxi counter and waiting to be assigned to a driver. As you can see from the photo below, the taxi counter could get busy especially during peak period.
8. Grab to Town
Ride-sharing is really popular nowadays. If you’re lucky, you can get to Georgetown for only RM 21. However, if you arrive late, or if it’s raining, or you’re just unlucky, a Grab ride could cost you RM 40 or more for the journey to Georgetown.
If you aren’t a Grab user yet, you can sign up for Grab here and use my code “GRABTREVALLOG” to get discounts for your ride.
9. Bus to Town
This has to be my favourite transportation method from Penang airport to town. It costs only RM 2.70 to go to Komtar by bus 102, 401 and AT. The journey takes between 40 minutes (during the non-peak hour) to 1 hour 10 minutes (during peak hour). There are also buses that go to other parts of Penang, such as Teluk Bahang, Penang General Hospital and Weld Quay (Ferry terminal).
As the bus doesn’t give any change, do pay with the exact amount of cash when you board, otherwise you’re paying more than what’s required.
10. Renting Car
There are various car rental companies at the arrival hall, such as Avis, Hertz, Europcar and many more. All of them are located side by side, so take your time to survey each company!
11. Minimarkets, Pharmacy, Clinic
Yes, you read that right. There are minimarkets, pharmacy and even a clinic at Penang airport!
At arrival hall, you can find Nasi Kandar, Gemini Café and several food kiosks. If you want more varieties, take the escalator to the second floor (departure all) where you’ll find more choices of food.
13. Money Changer
There are 2 money changers at the airport, both of which are located at 2nd storey. The exchange rate is not too good in my honest opinion, but it’s okay for the small amount of money. There are also ATMs if you prefer to withdraw from your own bank card.
Departing from Penang Airport
14. Transportation to Airport
Similar to point #7, #8 and #9 above, one can go to Penang airport by taxi, Grab or public bus.
15. Checking In
I noticed that AirAsia’s passengers can only check in using the self-check-in machine; the counters are only for baggage drop, document check and special assistance. For other airlines, the check-in can be done through the counter.
16. Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrapping service is available.
Below is the list of restaurants in the departure hall. Some of them offer free WiFi for customers.
- Old Town White Coffee
- Penang Kopitiam
- Secret Recipe
18. Souvenirs Shopping
If you don’t have enough time to buy souvenirs at the town, fret not. You can buy chocolates, tambun biscuit and other souvenirs at Penang airport. Of course, the price at the airport is more expensive than the price at the town. For example, I bought 32pcs tambun biscuit from Ban Heang at the airport for RM 12.9 while the same thing costs only RM 9.9 at Georgetown.
Inside Departure Terminal
After passing through the immigration, you’ll enter a departure terminal with several departure gates.
There are several food options inside the departure terminal, namely The Morning After as well as two Smiles Cafe.
Missed your chance to buy souvenirs in the public area? There are several souvenir shops inside the departure gate that sell local delicacies, such as Ban Heang, Yee Hup, etc.
21. Money Changer
There’s a money changer inside departure gate too, for urgent transactions.
22. Power Point
If you’re desperate to charge your laptop or handphone, there are plenty of power points here. Just walk to the furthest point of the departure terminal.
Tips for Travelling in Penang
If you’re visiting Penang for the first time, Georgetown is the place you want to stay at, because you can literally walk to a lot of attractions and there are plenty of delicious food. Our favourite places to stay in Penang are Hotel Royal Penang and Muntri House.
If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of attractions and museums in Penang, here are my recommended must-visit places to visit in Penang:
- THE TOP Komtar. Komtar is the highest building in Penang, so it feels really surreal to stand at THE TOP overlooking the city.
- Georgetown. You can explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site on your own or join a guided tour.
- Kek Lok Si. It’s possible to visit the temple on your own or with a tour.
- Wonderfood Museum. This is a cute instragrammable museum, really!
- Clan Jetties and Chew Jetty. These are one of the last settlements on the island. They’re within walking distance from Wonderfood Museum.
- The Habitat on Penang Hill. Penang Hill is the highest point in Penang where you’ll get awesome view of the city.
- Butterfly Farm
- Dark Mansion Museum
The easiest way to get around Penang? Grab!
I hope you find my post useful. This post is not exhaustive and the information may change from time to time. I’m doing my best to highlight the most important elements of Penang’s Airport to help travellers have a smoother trip in Penang. If you have feedback or questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment below!