“Why don’t you just go straight to Kuala Lumpur?” asked my taxi driver when I arrived by train in Butterworth. “Because I want to see Butterworth,” I replied. “This is Butterworth,” said the driver, “this is it.” Butterworth is the coastal town from which you can travel to Penang island, where trains from Thailand and northern Malaysia stop, and trains to Kuala Lumpur start. Most people travel straight through this little backwater, but I had already visited Penang and I wanted to be somewhere “normal and boring” before I continued my journey to Kuala Lumpur.
There really isn’t much of interest for tourists in Butterworth, but I wanted to experience everyday life in Malaysia, sipping teh tarik in street corner coffee shops, and eating at hawker centres. And Butterworth is great for that. There are few tourists there, and eating and drinking are so cheap compared to Penang, KL, Malacca and the other more touristy places I have visited in Malaysia. So if you are travelling through, consider a stopover in Butterworth, and experience real life, Malaysian style.