Bus Review: Billion Stars Express from KL TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) to Butterworth Penang Sentral by Bus

Billion Stars Express Bus from KL TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) to Butterworth Penang Sentral Bus Review

Billion Stars Express is a seemingly-frequent express bus from Kuala Lumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) to Butterworth Penang Sentral. On top of a supposedly high-frequency of every 15 minutes during the midnight period, Billion Stars Express also offered the lowest normal fare of RM30 from KL to Butterworth without any promotions. Despite knowing of the possible inconveniences, I opted to travel with Billion Stars Express anyway because of their price point, so as to hit my budget of S$50 to travel from Singapore to Bangkok.

Continuing on to Bangkok for under S$50, my next leg of the journey would take me from KL to Butterworth. I did my calculations, and the new KTM Komuter Utara Ipoh Extension would not work out in my favour as I needed to get to Ipoh first, and bus fares to Ipoh weren’t as low as those to Butterworth on a per kilometer basis, plus adding the cost of the Grab from Terminal Meru Raya (Terminal Amanjaya) to Ipoh Railway Station would have ended my challenge immediately. To continue with this challenge, I decided to stick to Butterworth as Penang Sentral and Butterworth Railway Station are just beside each other, and this worked out to the lowest per-kilometer fare combination.

Singapore to Bangkok for under S$50!

Kuala Lumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)

The façade of Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS).

I scheduled a transit time for dinner in Kuala Lumpur before continuing on my journey to Bangkok, from my initial Mayang Sari Express bus from JB Larkin Sentral. I also did not factor in any overnight hotel stays as this would eat into the challenge cost of S$50 from Singapore to Bangkok, so this night bus would be my accommodation for the night.

The departure ticketing area at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS).

I made my Billion Stars Express booking on Easybook with no admin fee. While I do need to collect a boarding pass for my bus journey from the counter, there is no additional fee to be paid at TBS for boarding pass and facilities.

My boarding pass for my Billion Stars Express bus from KL TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) to Butterworth Penang Sentral. I booked the 11.30pm as it was advertised to be a “24S_D.Deck Platinum”, which I hoped would be the one with the newer massage seats.

However, with many bad reviews of Billion Stars Express online, I was mentally prepared for the worst. I would not want to travel with Billion Stars Express, but because of the low fare, I had to choose it in order to achieve the S$50 budget from Singapore to Bangkok.

My Billion Stars Express bus was departing from Gate 18 which is a secondary gate with no facilities aside from seats.

Scanning my boarding pass at the CTS gate.

Heading down to the small gate hold room.

The gate hold room for Gates 17, 18, and 19 is small and slim with only seats available to wait. No toilets are available in this secondary gate hold room.

It finally hit 11.30pm, and alas, my bus was not here yet. Many passengers were also waiting for Billion Stars to various destinations and asking the TBS gate staff, which they won’t have an answer for.

At 12.14am, 44 minutes since my scheduled bus departure, a Billion Stars Express bus finally arrived but with no destination displayed on the window, and the TBS gate staff had to go out and ask the driver where he was going.

Alas, it was a bus to JB and Singapore. More waiting for me.

Billion Stars Express Bus to Penang

At 12.34am, another Billion Stars Express bus arrived, and it’s finally the one to Penang.

This is a combined bus for the 11.15pm, 11.30pm, 11.45pm, 11.59pm, 12.15am, and 12.30am departures to Ipoh, Butterworth, and Penang Sungai Nibong, with multiple manifests printed out at the gate before boarding.

This Billion Stars Express bus originated from Johor Bahru Larkin Sentral, with passengers already on board. As the seat numbers were all messed up already, with through passengers already on board sitting down and 6 TBS bus manifests overlapping, the TBS gate staff informed passengers that the bus was free seating.

The bus’s destination was listed as Johor Bahru – Ipoh – Kamunting – Butterworth – Penang, but here we are in KL and not listed. There would also be no stop at Kamunting.

The interior of the 27-seater Billion Stars Express bus.

On first boarding, the stuffiness of the bus hit me, with very weak to no aircon on board.

I chose a single seat while still available, with a pre-reclined position, probably thanks to the previous passenger who disembarked at TBS.

The legroom on board the 27-seater Billion Stars Express bus. There is a calf rest installed on the Orient seat on this 9-row bus, which had comfortable legroom.

I could also feel lukewarm wind coming out of the air-conditioner vents, but no cold air. The seat felt stuffy and dusty. I also had a broken curtain so there’s no blocking of street lights for me this night.

On the plus side, there is also 1 USB port on the side of the seat. If there’s a saving grace to this late, hot, and dusty bus, it would be the provision of this USB port.

The bus got very full with 1 overbooked child, to which there was a bit of a shouting match between the passenger and the driver.

It’s not the driver’s fault to combine 6 buses into 1 yo, he’s merely driving. It’s the management of Billion Stars Express who screwed everybody up this midnight.

My 11.30pm Billion Stars Express bus departed from Kuala Lumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) at 12.49am – 1 hour and 19 minutes delayed. Mine was the second-worst departure to ensure this delay, with the worst being the 11.15pm passengers.

Entering the PLUS Highway at Jalan Duta Toll Plaza. There was no stop at Hentian Duta Bus Terminal as I had expected, and probably so since the bus was full already.

Ipoh Terminal Meru Raya (Ipoh Amanjaya)

My Billion Stars Express bus made a brief stop at Ipoh Terminal Meru Raya (Ipoh Amanjaya) at 3.33am to alight Ipoh-bound passengers, stopping outside the terminal.

Butterworth Penang Sentral

My Billion Stars Express bus arrived outside Butterworth Penang Sentral at 5.07am, at the junction of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road and Jalan Pantai, the access road leading to Penang Sentral. This makes the journey time at 4 hours and 18 minutes, or 5 hours and 37 minutes if taking into account the scheduled departure time.

This bus will continue on to Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal on Penang Island, and perhaps KOMTAR if any passengers had booked it as their destination if it was even possible.

With the 5.07am arrival, I have missed the connection to the first KTM Komuter Northern Sector train to Padang Besar which was departing quite immediately at 5.20am. Nevertheless, this got me 1 hour of free time to freshen up in Penang Sentral and have a light breakfast and coffee before boarding the next train, KTM Komuter Northern Sector 2944up to Padang Besar, at 6.25am.

I am thankful to know the road layout at Penang Sentral to walk in to the terminal pretending to be a bus and knowing where the facilities are. The walkability around Penang Sentral is dreadful, and a first-time visitor would not know how to travel onwards from this “random” road junction.


My Billion Stars Express bus turned out to be 6 buses combined into 1 at midnight, with free seating on a delayed, warm, stuffy, and dusty bus. This made for a terrible night’s rest. However, the provision of a USB power socket was useful. I guess this is the intangible price I paid for a cheap bus ticket.

I paid RM30 for Billion Stars Express just to achieve the budget of S$50 from Singapore to Bangkok. If I’m on a normal trip not on an extreme budget, I’ll probably never choose Billion Stars Express again. There are many better bus operators from KL to Penang for just a few ringgit more.

Singapore to Bangkok for under S$50!