When handpicking the 5 Great Penang Markets, we tried to select bazaars that were unique from one another, each offering something for every type of traveller. After all, we all love markets when we are on holiday, as they are the perfect way to get bargains on local goods, from handicrafts and souvenirs, to local delicacies and street side snacks.
Our choices encompass places that sell quirky, vintage finds and also act as hip artisanal spaces, markets known for their cheap price tags and extensive variety. At these markets you will find a combination of stalls, some with the smell of spices and plumes of smoke rising above, while others are strung with white fluorescent lights and stacked with handcrafted accessories, cool artwork, in-style and batik print clothes and more.
- Traditional English Afternoon Tea at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel
- City Half-Day Tour
- EZhopper Sightseeing Bus Pass
- Georgetown by Night Tour
- Island Half-Day Tour
- Private Penang Hill & Temple
- Heritage Trishaw Tour
- Private Penang Hill & High Tea at David Brown's Restaurant
- Botanic Gardens & Tropical Spice Garden Tour
- Penang Hill & Kek Lok Si Temple Tour
Perfect for travellers looking for variety, the Batu Ferringhi Night Market is an extensive one, stretching up to one kilometre and providing shoppers with more than 100 stalls. Easily topping our list of 5 Great Penang Markets, they retail everything from clothes in batik prints or sporting in-style fads (like pyjamas with Frozen cartoon character stitches), to homeware items like decorative lacquer plates and embroidered pillow cases and even handcrafted, one-of-a-kind bejewelled accessories.
Open from as early as 18:00 daily, our favourite stall here is operated by underground designers The Odd, who sell cool pop art of famous figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Taylor Swift and Johnny Depp. They also do artsy graphics on fictional DC and Marvel Comic characters such as Thor, Iron Man, Batman, The Joker and Star Wars’ Darth Vader.
- Opening Hours: 18:00 – 24:00
- Address: Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Penang
The ultra cool Little Penang Street Market is a monthly bazaar that takes place along Upper Penang Road every last Sunday of the month from 10:00 – 17:00. A non-profit community venture operated voluntarily by locals, under the aegis of the Penang Arts Council, this lively and diverse market can only be described as culturally hip.
Largely frequented by the island’s young, urban crowd, the focus of this market is to support small, local businesses and artists, so most spaces are allocated for up-and-coming vendors. They sell personally-sourced antiques, homemade jewellery, homeware and food, and visual artists who seek to display and sell their work, like on-the-spot batik prints. The market also has designated spots for hourly book readings, and traditional music and dance performances.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 (every last Sunday of the month)
- Address: Upper Penang Road, Georgetown
- Tel: +6017 429 0806
Visit Chowrasta Bazaar if you want to really see how locals live (particularly housewives), purchasing their daily groceries and mingling in friendly company. In operation since the late 1800s, the front section of the market is dominated by vendors selling sweets, pickled fruits and local fried chips, and the back of the souk is a wet space dedicated to fresh (and occasionally smelly) meats.
Tourists will visit for the sweets, but do head upstairs of this indoor market where you will see a fantastic collection of second hand books – you will find titles ranging from old Archie comics to classics by Ernest Hemingway. In fact, on our last visit, we purchased a copy of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice & Men and Jack London’s Call of the Wild for just RM3 each.
- Opening Hours: 08:30 – 20:00
- Address: Jalan Penang, Georgetown
Operating on Monday nights from 19:00 – 23:00, the Macallum Street Night Market has earned itself a reputation for offering some of the cheapest finds on Penang Island. You will find the usual variety of generic T-shirts, homeware like woven bamboo table mats and decorative chopsticks, and bejewelled cell phone covers, but almost all things are a few ringgit lesser than other places around the island.
Quality is sometimes questionable, so be sure to inspect goods before you make a purchase. For example, a bootleg DVD is only RM4 at select vendors but while the video is sharp and clear, the sound quality is quite dreadful. Food wise, as usual Penang hawkers do not disappoint – the satay (chicken skewers) is fragrant, tender, juicy and smoky-flavoured, while the traditional apom balik (Malay pancake with nuts & sugar sprinkled as filling) is also a standout offering.
- Opening Hours: 19:00 – 23:00
- Address: Lintang Macallum 1, Pengkalan Weld, Georgetown
The last entry on our list of 5 Great Penang Markets is the Lorong Kulit Flea Market which holds a special, memorable and peculiar place in our hearts – largely for its thoroughly quirky and eclectic collection of vendors. You will find everything here from second hand books and vinyl records, to old hunting knives and vintage kitchen trays.
Operating on the weekends from 06:00 to 13:00, it is an entirely outdoor experience and when the weather is warm, it can get quite stifling under the shade of the colourful umbrellas. However, persevere in your explorations and you will find some pretty cool stuff – on our last visit, we purchased a couple of reasonably priced crystal and copper door handles and a vintage mini three-tiered wooden musical carousel.
- Opening Hours: 06:00 – 13:00
- Address: Lorong Kulit, Georgetown, 10460 Penang