7 Islands in Malaysia You Can Get to by Bus

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Sometimes, nothing beats that great escape to a secret island whisked away in the cool ocean breeze. And of the many amazing things that maketh Malaysia, it’s abundance in islands and archipelagos.

Here’s a list of which ones you can visit with CatchThatBus! No – we aren’t talking about riding amphicoaches, but every day express buses that get you a wave away!

#1 George Town, Penang Island

Photo Credit: LaMochila

Penang island makes up a part of Penang and is accessible via car or bus. It is approximately a good 40-minutes drive across the Penang Bridge. A favoured holiday destination among foreigners and locals alike, Penang itself is famous for its scrumptious and original taste in food one can easily find at any of the many street hawker stalls. With a heritage listed under UNESCO, it is simply a marvellous place for culture and history.


  • Visit the Kapitan Keling Mosque
  • Visit the Butterfly Farm
  • Take pictures with murals
  • Visit cultural villages at Penang Hill
  • Visit the Blue Mansion on Leith Street
  • Eat Gurney Drive hawker food

How To Get There?

Board an express bus from Hentian Duta or Terminal Bersepadu Selatan to Sungai Nibong Terminal / Penang Sentral. The journey should take approximately 5 hours from departure to arrival. The following are bus operators which provide routes from Kuala Lumpur to Penang:

Billion Stars RM40 – RM60
Eltabina Express RM40
KBES RM36.90 – RM37.30
Kejora Express RM38.50
Plusliner RM38.50
Prisma Express RM39.00
Seasons Express RM38.50
Super Nice RM36 – RM40

#2 Tioman Island, Rompin, Pahang

Photo Credit: 1dasia

Tioman Island (Pulau Tioman) is one of the widely visited, duty-free islands in Malaysia. It is famous for its clear blue waters and warm sandy white beaches; offering that perfect evening with the surrounding flora and fauna at “Sunset Corner”. Apart from the rich marine ecosystem, tourists get the chance to encounter amazing dragon-like monitor lizards around the island (they won’t bite if you don’t!) or enjoy youthful activities like surfing on the waves off the coast.


  • Go fishing!
  • Explore the nightlife
  • Visit Paya Beach
  • Visit Turtle Hatchery
  • Jungle trekking
  • Surf the waves

How To Get There?

Board an express bus from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan to Tanjung Gemok. The journey should not exceed 5 hours. The following are operators departing from Kuala Lumpur to Tanjung Gemok.

Sanwa Express RM34

Upon arrival at
Tanjung Gemok jetty, ride the speedboat service to Tioman Island.

#3 Pangkor Island, Manjung, Perak

Photo Credit: Lasttours

Pang Ko” is Thai for “beautiful‘, a word which truly describes the island as a whole. It is another island that is frequented by tourists for snorkelling and adrenaline-pumping activities like kayaking & canoeing as well as jungle trekking at Pangkor Hill. Other attractions on the island include the Tiger Rock (Batu Bersurat) and the ruins of the ancient Dutch Fort.


  • Snorkelling
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Trek through the Bukit Pangkor (Pangkor Hill) jungle
  • Feed Hornbills
  • Visit the sacred Tiger rock (Batu Bersurat)
  • Explore the Dutch Fort grounds

How To Get There?

Board an express from Hentian Duta / Terminal Bersepadu Selatan to Hentian Lumut. The journey could range between an estimated duration of 4 – 6 hours depending on the operator and other factors. Among operators that travel along Kuala Lumpur to Lumut include the following:

Kesatuan Express RM27
Plusliner RM27.10
Maju Express RM27
Transnasional RM27.10

Upon alighting at the bus terminal, it takes an approximate 10-minutes walk to
Lumut Jetty and board a ferry to Pangkor Island.

#4 Labuan Island, Wilayah Persekutuan

Photo Credit: FortuneGreece

Labuan is one of the three (3) Federal Territories in Malaysia and the only state that is an island on its own. In fact, apart from being a favourite place for shopping among locals for alcoholic beverages and duty-free chocolates (both local and international brands – the likes of Langkawi in this aspect), it is rich with historic landmarks.


  • Duty-free shopping!
  • Saunter in Labuan Botanical Garden
  • Visit history at the war cemetery and memorial, as well as Chimney & Chimney Museum
  • Scuba diving
  • Buy fresh seafood from the early morning fish market
  • Enjoy some flying fox at Ramsey Point

How To Get There?

Board an express bus from Kota Kinabalu City Park Bus Terminal to Menumbok station. The journey should take about 3 hours aboard the following operators:

Sipitang Express RM18

Upon arrival at
Menumbok station, you can take a taxi or walk to the Menumbok jetty where you can ride the speedboat service provided to Labuan Island.

#5 Pulau Gaya, Sabah

Photo Credit: VisitMalaysia

Deriving its name from the Bajau word “gayo” meaning “big”, no surprise when Pulau Gaya is the largest island within the range of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park just off Sabah’s coastline. The island is clearly visible from Kota Kinabalu city with just a 10-minute speedboat ride away. It boasts a beautiful tropical rainforest with 2 resorts on the small land.


  • Hiking
  • Snorkelling & diving
  • Firefly sightseeing
  • Explore the exotic flora and fauna like the Proboscis monkey and Elephant Foot Yam
  • Zip-line from the island to the nearby Pulau Sapi Island
  • Buy Borneo craftwork

How To Get There?

From Kota Kinabalu City Park Bus Terminal take a taxi or walk to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal in downtown Kota Kinabalu city to board a ferry to Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.

The following are popular routes and operators which alight passengers at Kota Kinabalu City Park Bus Terminal:

Bus from Lawas to Kota Kinabalu Sipitang Express RM25
Bus from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu Sipitang Express RM100
Bus from Menumbok to Kota Kinabalu Sipitang Express RM18

#6 Kapas Island, Marang, Terengganu

Photo Credit: WorldofBuzz

Although not as widely known as the other islands, Pulau Kapas does not fall short of nature’s beauty. Not far off from Lumut, the island is suitable for a family vacation including a fun and rare water activity, swimming with sharks at the nearby Gem Island. Guides will be present, so you need not worry about safety. The many volleyball nets along the beach allow you and your loved ones to engage in various outdoor games.


  • Snorkelling & scuba diving
  • Shark swimming at Gem Island
  • Play beach volleyball
  • Jungle exploring
  • Chance an encounter with Kobe the Owl

How To Get There?

Board an express bus from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan to Marang station or Hentian Bas MPKT (Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu), which would take a travel duration of approximately 6 – 8 hours. The following are bus operators which cruise along the said route:

Kesatuan Express RM44
Transnasional RM44
Darul Iman Express RM44

Upon arrival, hail a taxi or a minivan from the station to Marang Jetty and from there, a speedboat to Kapas Island jetty.

#7 Tenggol Island, Dungun, Terengganu

Photo Credit: PercutianBajet

A great place for the advance to the beginner divers, this island caters to all dive-anatics. Not only is diving a huge attraction on the island, but courses are provided as well. With its lush greenery, tourists can enjoy a jungle trekking experience. However, before reaching the getaway, make sure you have enough cash to spend throughout your stay as there are no ATMs on the island.


  • Diving (deep / drift / wreck) – diving courses provided!
  • Snorkelling & scuba diving
  • Jungle trekking

How To Get There?

Board an express bus from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan to Stesen Bas Express Dungun. You will be on the road for about 5 – 7 hours. The following are the operators that provide said trips:

Kesatuan Express RM38
Transnasional RM36.20

When you alight at the station, head over to
A’king Jetty located just across the river and board a ferry to Tenggol Island.

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