I have always had a reservation about hop on hop off buses. While it seems like the service makes life easier for tourists to visit a particular city, I felt that hop on hop off buses are major tourist traps that let unassuming tourists to pay big chunk of money to visit any attractions when in fact it can be done by using the public transportation system. That was until my personal experience touring Penang on the Hop On Hop Off bus.
I was in Penang recently for the Penang Bridge International Marathon 2016 and while day 2 of my stay was filled with me walking around the world heritage enclave (watch the video here), my last day on the island was spent by touring the island on the hop on hop off bus.
Let me assure you: this is NOT a sponsored post. This post was written to share my experience riding on the Hop On Hop Off Penang bus, which in my opinion was awesome. I did not know what else to do in Penang since I have been visiting the island annually since 2012. While there are a lot of places that can be visited, I was thinking of something different, something that I have never done before. That was when I decided to ride on the Hop On Hop Off (HoHo) bus.
I went online to buy the 24 hours ticket (although there are a lot of agents selling the ticket, including at my hotel’s reception) for RM 19. Foreigners will have to pay a sum of RM 40 per ticket. A voucher was sent to my email and it can be redeemed as a ticket on board the bus. The ticket validity started when I was issued the ticket and not at the point of ride.
Penang HoHo consists of two routes – the city route and the beach route – both interchanged at Gurney Drive stop. I rode on the bus at Beach Street stop before changing to the beach route at Gurney. It was breathtaking sitting outside the open air deck and enjoying the breeze of Penang.
I stayed outdoor until one point when the bus reached Batu Feringhi area, I could not take it anymore since the scorching tropical sun of Penang started to show its full force. I went to the air-conditioned area and enjoyed the view from the inside.
After riding on the HoHo bus, my perspective changes. It was actually fun to sightsee from the open air deck where we can at least see the places which we might not visit on foot or on public transportation while also learning about the place. I personally do not like the pre-recorded audio which sounded too Google Translate for me. It sounded so automated and lacked of personal touch. But at least I could still understand what the audio was explaining when I was in the bus.
I did not take the bus on a full tour for both routes but trust me, whether you are a traveler or a tourist, alone or with family, riding on the HoHo bus is actually the best option to visit a particular place when time is limited and you want to enjoy the place from a different perspective.
Anyway, I did a video on my third, which was also my last day, in Penang. Do enjoy the video and drop a comment or two below.
Penang Hop On Hop Off bus consists of the beach route and the city route. Beach route is a scheduled tour while the city route is a continuous tour. Both tours start at the Gurney Drive stop and will make a loop trip along all the stops. For more info, please visit here.