Fancy riding the Kuala Lumpur to Penang night train? Well, I did too…

One of the most convenient ways (although not the fastest) to get from Kuala Lumpur to Penang is the night train.

Arriving at KL airport from an early Air Asia flight, I made my way to KL Sentral train station by the KL airport train (rapid transit). The journey time takes around 30 minutes and the priced at 35MYR per one way journey.

Riding The Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Taking the KL airport train (rapid transit)

Location of KL Sentral Station

Once at KL Sentral, it was then onto the ticket counter and where I was informed by the friendly staff that there are two trains a day departing for Butterworth train station.

Afternoon train: Train number 2 Ekspres Rakyat departs KL Sentral 16:05 and arrives Butterworth 22:20

Night Train:  Train number 20 Senandung Langkawi departs KL Sentral 22:00 Arrives Butterworth 05:25

Even though there was plenty of time to catch the afternoon train, I decided to catch the night train instead. Opting to pay a little extra cash from the lower bed, the prices were still reasonable and only slightly more than the KL airport train.

Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Kuala Lumpur to Penang train ticket

How much does the Kuala Lumpur to Penang night train cost?

Prices are as follows:

Seat – 36 MYR

Upper Bed – 43 MYR

Lower Bed – 46 MYR

Even with a few hours to kill waiting for the night train, KL Sentral is not the worst place in the world to wait. Joining to the train station is a multi-level shopping centre (Nu Sentral) featuring many cafes and shops to pass the time away. A plus is and most of the cafes and restaurants have free Wi-Fi, enabling you to take care of emails over a coffee or two.

Staff point out to be at the platform 30 minutes before the train is due to depart. There is a seating area at KL Sentral, but be warned it does tend to get a little packed. At around 20 minutes before the train was due to leave, train staff opened the gates to the platform and once the tickets are checked, they let passengers onto the platform and board the train.

Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
The waiting area at Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station

The trains are numbered in such a system that’s fairly straightforward to find your allocated seat or bed. I found mine easily and in no time was settled in.

Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train

Once inside the cabin, the beds themselves are fairly comfortable. However, it would be fair to say they are not the longest in the world and anyone over 6 feet long would have problems lying down at full stretch. The technique I found useful was to sleep at a diagonal angle, which helps to create a touch extra room.

Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
The lower bunk cost me 46MYR

Unlike the seating carriages, the sleeper compartment does not offer overhead storage for bags and there wasn’t any storage at the end of the carriage either.

There is a small shelf inside the bottom bed compartment, but realistically it’s only suitable for a small bag, such as a handbag or so. Once the train started to depart, most of the passengers placed their bags and backpacks along the aisle by their beds.

Riding The Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Waiting to depart KL Sentral station – note the bag shelf is not big enough for a medium or large bag

The carriageway does have enough room to do this and as long you keep the bag tucked in I found this was fine. Any valuable items like laptops and shouldn’t really be placed there just in case anyone trips or steps on the bag.

Sleep wise, it’s possible to get a half decent nights kip on the train. However, it is advisable to bring some ear plugs along for the ride. Although many of the fellow passages went to sleep almost straight away, there were the odd one or two playing music on their mobile phones and chatting through most of the night. Fitting ear plugs just help make life so much easier and ensured sleep for nearly the entire journey.

For those who forget to pack any snacks or drinks, a seller does walk around every now and again offering light refreshments. Also, the conductor did come around and call to wake the sleeper carriage up as the train got closer to Butterworth station.

Arriving at Butterworth Station

Having booked accommodation on George Town Island for one night, meant I need to head over to the Penang Ferry terminal. Basically when you leave the train station, just keep to your left and you arrive at a covered walkway. Follow this walkway around for a short distance and it will lead you to the ferry terminal. All in all, after a few minutes, walking and you will arrive at the ferry.

Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Arriving at Butterworth station

Even though it was pre 6 am – I didn’t wait much longer than 10 minutes for the ferry. The ferry is extremely cheap and only costs 1.20 MYR to George Town and is free for the return journey. The ferry journey is a short one and offers plenty of seating or standing room.

Riding The Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Butterworth station to ferry terminal walkway

It was still dark and I wasn’t due to check into to the Tune Hotel until 2 pm, so I headed across the road via the footbridge and grab a greasy spoon style coffee + chicken and rice breakfast for a reasonable price. As far as I could see, apart from a small shop, there wasn’t any actual cafe or coffee shop open at the terminal. Best bet is to head over the footbridge.

Riding The Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Early morning George Town ferry

Getting back to Kuala Lumpur

The reverse journey is just as easy as the journey to Penang. As I mentioned before the George Town ferry is free for the return journey.

Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Return ferry journey
Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Ferry arriving to dock at Butterworth

Train times from Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur are:

Day train: Train No 1 Ekspres Rakyat departs Butterwort 08:00 Arrives KL Sentral 14:20

Night train: Train No 21 Senandung Langkawi Departs Butterworth 22:20 Arrives KL Sentral 05:40

How much does a ticket on the Penang to Kuala Lumpur night train cost?

Prices are as follows:

Seat – 36 MYR

Upper Bed – 43 MYR

Lower Bed – 46 MYR

For the return journey, I actually caught the night train to Kula Lumpur from Bukit Mertajam station. The station was closer to my Couchsurfing host’s place and was 3MYR a ticket less than catching the train from Butterworth station. The train is the same one that departs Butterworth.

Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
Seating compartment on the return train to KL

The only downside was travelling on a Sunday night, the sleeper carriage was full and I had to take a seat ticket instead. The ticket cost me 33MYR and the interesting thing was the seating carriage was only about 20% full.

Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train
The seats do offer just enough space to get some sleep

The prices were extremely reasonable compared to other train services I have used before. Also, the trains were clean and they sell snacks if you feel peckish. Most of the passengers appear friendly and as far as I could see there were no issues with safety.

Overall it was a fairly straightforward process to take the Kuala Lumpur to Penang night train and certainly much easier than trying to grab a cab from the KL suburbs in rush hour! I would certainly use the train again and plan to in the near future.

Accommodation Near Butterworth Railway Station

I found there are not many options in Butterworth and the best option is taking the short ferry to George Town. Some recommendations are:

Kelantan House – Syok at Chulia Hostel – Grand Inn Penang Road – Red Inn Cabana – Muntri House – Ryokan @ Muntri Street – Red Inn Penang– Kimberley House – New Rope Walk Hotel – Malabar – Victoria Inn

Riding the Kuala Lumpur Penang Night Train images created by ToolsofTravel


  • Vikram M
    Posted September 7, 2017

    Is this train still running… i heard they stoped this train….which is last late night train from KUL to Penang?

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted September 9, 2017

      It looks like it has changed since I used the service. From what I can see now the timetable is:

      New KTM KL to Penang train Timetable valid from 1st February 2017 –

      All trains depart daily.

      EP 9202 (ETS Platinum) Departs KL Sentral at 09:00 – Arrives at Butterworth at 13:02.

      EP 9204 (ETS Platinum) Departs KL Sentral at 11:30 – Arrives at Butterworth at 15:32.

      EG 9412 (ETS Gold) Departs KL Sentral at 16:18 – Arrives at Butterworth at 20:24.

      EG 9214 (ETS Gold) Departs KL Sentral at 19:53 – Arrives at Butterworth at 00:07.

      EG 9216 (ETS Gold) Departs KL Sentral at 21:30 – Arrives at Butterworth at 01:43.

  • SU
    Posted August 22, 2017

    Hii.. If my train will only arrive Butterworth station at 1.40AM (last train from KL sentral), can I just sitting or sleeping overnight there in that wooden chairs area? Or is there any other benches inside the station for overnight traveller? Because the last ferry to George town is before 1AM and the first ferry is only from 6morning.

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted August 24, 2017

      Yeah you can – although I didn’t have too so I can’t vouch how comfortable it is to sleep or rest there. There were a few benches around but nothing too luxurious…

  • JP
    Posted July 26, 2017

    Nice, not really done much train travel. Always take a flight when I’ve done trips but would to try something different

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