A much loved 20-minute ferry ride between Penang and Butterworth
It only takes 20 minutes to travel between George Town and Butterworth and you get a great view of Penang’s eastern coastline while enjoying a lovely sea breeze.Operating since 1893, the Penang ferry was the only way to get to Penang from the mainland, everyone had to go through Butterworth and it was a bustling place. After the Penang bridge opened in 1985 fewer people used the ferry and with it the town lost some of its flair.
Bagan or Butterworth?
The local name for Butterworth is Bagan, it means jetty and was there long before the Brits named the town after their governor. The names of the early settlements Bagan Luar, Banag Dalam and Bajan Ajam remain today although the old jetty has long gone.
What’s in a name?
The ferry fleet of eight ships are named after different Malaysian islands (Pulau): Pinang, Payar, Kapas, Angsa, Undan, Talang, Rawa and Rimau. But let this not confuse you, all of them ply between George Town and Butterworth.
A free ferry-ride
Ferries leave every 20-to-30 minutes. You only pay for the Butterworth to George Town ride (RM1.20 for pedestrians, RM2.00 for motorcycles, and RM 7.70 for cars). If you’re coming from the island, you get a free ride! “Taking the ferry to Butterworth from George Town is a breeze. You just simply walk on and off. The ride itself is pleasurable, with great views of the island and mainland” says M. Benson, a frequent commuter.