– Phuket and Penang have lots of common history and in present days its a popular so called visa run in Thailand,
means when your visa in Thailand expires go to Penang and get a new one but the Thai authorities do everything to block this, actually there is no reason for this because about 90% of the people to do this tour are so called “farang” who leave a lot of money at Penang for Penang Hotels etc. which they would rather prefer to spend in Thailand, but the Thai antique bureaucracy don’t get the message.
Flights from Phuket to Penang are available via Firefly Airlines a subsidiary of Malaysian Airlines for about Baht 5xxx,- . But the best is out of Phuket to go to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, actually its cheaper to go for shopping from Phuket to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur instead to go from Phuket to Bangkok.
Bangkok Penang could also be done via the bus service out of the southern Bangkok bus terminal either via Hat Yai and change the bus for Penang and Kuala Lumpur there, or opt directly to Padang Besar at the southernmost point in Thailand and get a Penang bus there.
A flight is naturally the most convenient way for the trip but it still costs about 7 times the bus Phuket to Penang rate. Langkawi Penang is also via a ferry, actually there is a ferry to Langkawi o couple of kilometers behind the Thailand Malaysian border but they don’t take cars, if you are with the car it needs to drive to Penang and from there with the car ferry to Langkawi, Koh Penang is a Thai expression and Pulau Pinang is the Malaysian. On travel from Phuket to Penang the road cuts through some of the most scenic areas in southern Thailand which is Phuket to Krabi, after its the Trang Archipelago and behind Trang
There are plenty of Penang airport hotels but the cheap Penang hotels are at downtown. Penang hotel resorts are mainly at the north coast and the Penang hotel rates are quite high there. At that part of Penang luxury hotels are plenty. If you want to do this Penang travel out of Koh Samui go to Hat Yai first, there are no buses or flights from Koh Samui to Penang.
Your bus travel Phuket Penang starts at the Phuket Town bus terminal just opposite the Royal Phuket City Hotel. The place is very busy in particular in the afternoon since most busses for Bangkok start every hour in the afternoon from about 4 pm on.
Phuket Penang by bus to Hat Yai
For Penang take the bus from Phuket to Hat Yaiand change there to the long distance bus for Penang or Kuala Lumpur if you use the bus to Kuala Lumpur you must exit at Butterworth and take a local bus to Penang Georgetown, you could also take a taxi to the Ferry Penang. Using the Penang ferry is advisable especially in the morning, every morning is a traffic disaster around the Penang Bridge by using the ferry you can escape this. Using the Butterworth Penang ferry wont consume more time as using the bridge since the ferries come in short intervals and are quite quick.
The Penang ferry option should also be considered when you come to Penang with the car, but when you use a car for the Phuket Penang trip its better to take the ferry on outbound of Pulau Pinang since it is difficult to find the way to the ferry jetty on the Butterworth side.
If you intend to rent a car for the Phuket Penangtravel you can do this without any problem but the car must be given back in Phuket and it needs about 2 days for translating the car registration paper in Phuket so that they can issue a insurance for Malaysia at the Thai Malaysian border. The insurance offices there are open from 8 am to 6 pm and the border is open from 5 am to 11 pm. The car insurance is a bout Baht 900,- for one month, this is the basic insurance an extension to a full cover is recommended. Use Pure Car Rent in Phuket Town, the have experience and the best prices in Phuket.
Leaving Phuket for Penang is first over the Sarasin bridge into Phang Nga province after to Krabi, Trang and to the Thai Malaysian border at Sadao. If you heard about the insurgents in southern Thailand don’t worry, the problem with them is only in the very east border area.
You could do a slow Phuket Penang trip with some side trips on the way down. The first is, have a look into the Phang Nga Bay, it’s a great scenery and its more or less on the way. Turn right after intersection behind the Phunga Hotel, about 90 minutes drive behind the Sarasin bridge, and you will end up at the jetty. Hire a longtail boat and have a look around. The boat guy will carry you to “James Bond Island” and Ko Panyi plus great limestone formations popping out from the water, it’s a very unique landscape and absolutely worth to explore you find something like this again.
A next stop could be at Ao Luk, there a some pretty limestone caves, mangrove forest and kayaks are available for your own tour or guided tour, but the easiest is by renting a long tail boat.
Ferry Penang Malaysia Jetty
Phang Nga Bay
If you have a lot of time and some adventure spirit you could take a bus from Phuket to Satun or to Trang and change there for Satun and find a minibus at Satun for Bak Para. At Bak Para is the ferry jetty for Ko Tarutao and the other islands in the archipelago. If you search around a little bit at the jetty you can find a ferry to Langkawi and from there the Penang ferry. This Penang travel route is great but needs time since it always means bus travel, the ship and maybe you have to wait somewhere for a day. Its just like a trip from Phuket to Penang as it was 50 years ago. The reward is an outstanding travel adventure.
Ko Tarutao Beach