Penang Island vs Mainland (Part 3) – Connectivity & Accessibility

Connectivity & Accessibility

More than 30 years ago, before the Penang Bridge was built, it was a big thing for people from mainland to go to the island. Property investment in the Island vs mainland was hardly discussed because travelling to the other side of Penang taking ferry on a daily basis just doesn’t make much sense. One would just buy a house nearby where they work and where most of their relatives and friends are staying.

With the opening of Penang Bridge in 1985, it has substantially enhanced the connectivity and accessibility between the island and mainland. It has also been an important infrastructure to support the regional economic growth by improving access to the key employment region, airport and schools. The spur of economic development has eventually led to the rapid increase in property prices in Penang.

Today, most people think that with better connectivity between the island and mainland, properties in the mainland will be the sole gainer. Actually that’s not entirely correct. With the opening of 2nd bridge, the obvious winners are both Batu Kawan and Batu Maung. It is not about how many are going to move to Batu Kawan, neither it is about how often a person will buy furniture from IKEA. It is the economic multiplier effect that brings more value and development into those the two areas.

With better connectivity, people are more willing to stay further away from their workplace as long as they have easy accessibility to education, shopping and eateries. There is a common suggestion that one should buy a house near their workplace so that they can save time travelling to work. This is not always true as the subconscious element of selfish thoughts is involved in making the decision. Think about the time your family spent in the car while sending children to schools, tuition classes, music lessons, sports, going out for dinner, glossary shopping and etc. Do you still think that travelling to the office take up most of your time?

To get an idea of how much time is needed to travel from one place to the center of FTZ during peak hours, some samples based on Google traffic at 7:50am in the morning is captured:



Obviously, travelling to work from these locations would take you roughly between 20-40 minutes. What is more important is the accessibility to nearby amenities, which may cumulatively take more than 40 minutes of your family time in travelling.

Putting aside the travelling to work place, both island and mainland are equally well connected to amenities that serve our daily needs. However, I would have to agree that Penang Island generally has more high-performing schools and better health care centers. Until mainland is developed with more international education institutions, the availability of International schools and colleges are definitely a plus for Penang Island.

Penang Island vs Mainland (Part 1) – Location branding
Penang Island vs Mainland (Part 2) – Land scarcity or abundant?
Penang Island vs Mainland (Part 4) – Population

– Ken Lim
(Founder and Principal Reviewer, PenangPropertyTalk.com)

  1. john
    May 25th, 2015 at 18:01 | #1

    At least when 1st bridge having peak jam, still have another option 2nd bridge to access back to mainland.

  2. Jason
    May 26th, 2015 at 10:47 | #2

    My feeling is Bagan Ajam / Butterworth has more potential to grow then Batu Kawan once the undersea tunnel is built.

    The channel will directly link Butterworth to the established location in Gurney Drive and Tanjung Tokong, as compared with 2nd bridge which link to fishing village in Batu Maung.

  3. Chris
    May 26th, 2015 at 12:54 | #3

    It is most likely a different kind of “growth”. Both has potential but likely going a different direction.

    I can see the north side being “traditionally Penang”, attracting people who like Penang for what Penang is/was for the last x number of years.

    On the other hand, Bayan Lepas/Batu Maung/Batu Kawan seems to have the label “modern” or “new” slap all over it, probably attracting more younger crowd or newcomers to Penang due to job opportunities.

    Batu Kawan need a lot of people moving in for it to work. No one will move in if there’s nothing happening, and nothing will happen if nobody moves in. Chicken and egg problem for Batu Kawan.

  4. Ang
    May 26th, 2015 at 17:18 | #4

    For batu Kawan, it is likely to be a major song for developer… as they have plenty of on-going product to sell in future… if you agree with them, they are happy . no doubt.

  5. Burong
    May 26th, 2015 at 22:18 | #5

    Batu Kawan ? Iskandar is the example, so much hope back in +/-2013 and now ended up being labeled as over supply city..

    But title of this article is traffic condition to go to FIZ. Since now the property market already done its correction, why not scout around? u may b lucky to get some cheap unit near ur work place.

  6. CommonSense
    May 26th, 2015 at 22:45 | #6

    Actually I think there is some points many commentators here running everywhere on the issue. There is no point to rundown each other.
    To be both are Penang…..seriously both have its pros and cons.

    Of course Batu Kawan, have lots of growth potential. Then on Penang side, already grown so much, definitely the growth would be lesser.
    The growth here I refer to is NOT the property prices growth but rather in term of infrastructures, livelihood and communities living.
    For eg, in frontier market (lowly developed) countries, their growth can be double digit as little changes means a lot to the number, but in advanced countries 5% GDP growth is a huge achievement and the impact is huge to the people and nations. Take eg. Myanmar vs. US or UK GDP.

    Can u imagine how long would it be to make BK like for eg Bayan Lepas? Take one KM radius from the biggest roundabout. That cover FTZ, Queensbay mall, branded premium schools, Lipsin, Sunshine, Pesta, Taman Sri Nibong, BJ etc. how many years it took to arrive to current status and how much infra spent?

    Let’s be simple, The question now should be is it the PRICE/VALUE IS RIGHT for each side?
    Then what is the ratio of under-develop vs. developed side?
    As a buyer (own stay and speculators/investors) are we paying the right price or too much of sugar coating by developers (they are good businessmen right?)? are we getting a fair deal for the “future growth”?

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