For what to see have a look at Things To Do at the top of this page. What you might want to see and do and what I’d choose could be poles apart. However I would suggest that 1 night on Penang really doesn’t give you much chance to see or do a great deal. You’re really going to have to confine yourself to George Town. Maybe have a look over on the right under the Top Questions where I have posted some suggestions for whole and half day trips and tours. That might give you some more ideas.
As far as accommodation goes there are hundreds of places to stay in George Town ranging from shared dormitory accommodation up to 5 star hotels. Maybe have a browse through the Hotels tab at the top of this page.
I would suggest taking the train. Ipoh train station is right downtown whereas Amanjaya bus station is 20-30 minutes from city center. Why waste the time? Take ferry from Butterworth over to George Town. If you're traveling light you can start exploring GT on foot. If you have suitcases, first head to your hotel then begin. Armenian Street Heritage Hotel is a good mid-priced option in the heart of the heritage zone. Have fun!
Certainly aim for the Heritage Zone as your place to stay. Lots of accommodation options at all budgets. Easy access to see temples, street art & food stalls.
We want to travel from Georgetown to Tanah Rata. Originally, I was happy to take the early morning bus with NEWSIA being the only a.m option.
Then I read online reviews about how bad this company is; namely the van from Georgetown to Sungai Nibong terminal leaving early without passengers. General lateness of the services and the bus stopping several times, as well as rude bus drivers and staff at the Komtar service desk.
We only have a week in Malaysia so it is imperative we get to Tanah Rata by 1pm as we have a trek booked.
I'm starting to wonder if Grab or Uber should be considered?? I've never used them and am not thrilled about doing so, but we don't have a huge budget for a private transfer.
Anyone have any advice?
There's a row of local travel agents on a side street just outside of Komtar, all or most of which sell tickets to Tanah Rata. We purchased our tickets there last summer and if I remember correctly buses leave around 8:30. From there they proceed to Sungai Nibong and from there on to Tanah Rata. However, I don't think any will arrive in time to make a 1:00 trek. In this case, taxi may be your only option.