Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chulia Street Penang

Penang Chulia Street
Chulia Street in Penang is no doubt a backpacker, flashpacker or the general traveler's favorite must-visit destination while holidaying in the Pearl Of The Orient of Malaysia.

The name Chulia Street has for many years been a truly nostalgic place with lots of memories and one of the important stopovers for many travelers heading up to Thailand via Penang.

Currently, this area is highly popular not only among foreign visitors but also the many local visitors who enjoy exploring Penang.

Chulia Street in Penang

Photo of Chulia Street Penang
What Chulia Street looks like
Chulia Street is also located within the core zone of the recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site of Penang or Pulau Pinang as it is called in Malay.

The street was apparently named during the rule of Sir Francis Light in the 1800s when Penang was known as the Prince of Wales Island.

There were four original four streets of George Town and they were Beach Street, Light Street, Pitt Street (now Masjid Kapitan Keling Street) and Chulia Street.

Motorbike Rental Chulia Street PenangMotorbike Rental in Penang

The street still maintains the old charm with many pre-war buildings dominating both sides of the street while a number of guest houses and hotels stand out with bright signages hoping to attract the backpackers and travelers.

Various shops cater to the tourist by offering everything travel related to buying second-hand books to renting out motorbikes, internet cafes to instant laundries.

Money Changers Chulia Street PenangMoney changers at Chulia Street

Chulia Street also offers a number of money changers or foreign currency exchange services while visa arrangements to Thailand are a popular sight along the entire street.

If you are looking for a good deal, it would be best to take your time and check with the various services offered here as one can easily walk the entire street in under an hour. Visa Runners, see the end of the posting.

Stardust Guesthouse
My memories of this old street go back about 10 to 15 years ago when I remember the street being popular with antique shops selling all sorts of curious and collectibles.

Some of the old style hotels looked pretty much grand during their heyday, and still remain here while many have been taken over and refurbished.

These days, backpacker guesthouses and boutique hotels are the popular choices of lodging as you see a number of them throughout the street offering you amazing lodging deals.

Chulia Street Reggae Cafe Bar
The ever-popular Reggae Club at Chulia Street
Gone are many of the original coffee shops, restaurants, and businesses that once served a packed floor or customers.

These days, younger generation cafes, bars, and bistros are mushrooming along Chulia Street or Lebuh Chulia in Malay.

Even Bob Marley is not spared as a Reggae Club is located along this street catering to the backpackers who frequent places like these nowadays.

Tourist Guest House in Penang

Tourist guesthouses who double as Internet cafes and everything else are the norm here as competition is pretty much stiff.

Prices are reasonable while lodging is very basic but guaranteeing you a place in the heart of town within walking distances to most attractions in and around Georgetown.

Penang Nam Wah Hotel and Bar
The original Nam Wah Hotel and Bar building at Chulia Street
As I walk past one of the old hotels called Nam Wah Hotel and Bar, it is now sealed shut and is probably due to the lack of business.

The place once looked like a mini mansion with grand doorways in a stand-alone building surrounded by intricately carved walls, bringing glamor and style to this part of Penang.

I wonder why no one wanted to take over this beautiful nostalgic place. Well, before you know it, it could happen on my next visit there.

HKB and Monaliza BBQ Cafe

Just next door, one old remaining popular drinking spot called the Hong Kong Bar (HKB) is still open and at 3.00 pm in the scorching afternoon, a bunch of travelers is seen having a good time with some cold beer.

The place is or was quite well known with the RAR (Royal Australian Regiment), RAF/RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) personnel.

These days you only get to see younger generation visitors or foreign tourists frequenting the tables here.

Hong Kong Bar (HKB) in Chulia Street

The Hong Kong Bar is also filled with photographs, plaques, badges, lifebuoys and tons of photographs from the good old days of the HKB as it is is still referred to since the sixties and seventies.

Tragic hit this place when a fire burnt it to the ground in the early morning of Sept 14, 2004, where all the memorabilia collected throughout the years gone but the place is back in action now.

If you are or were one of the regulars here, you could take a look at this site discussing the Hong Kong Bar.

Chulia Street Jim's Place
Jim's Place at Chulia Street
A number of new info-bars are also popping up in Chulia Street and one of them I saw was called Jim's Place - Reggae and Rock Cafe.

These are the current generation backpacker or flashpacker outlets catering to modern travelers who want information quick and easy at a budget price.

Chulia Street Bike Rental Shop
Motorbike rental along Chulia Street
Apart from the regular bars, hotels, and guesthouses, you would find one or two really useful shops that cater to almost everything.

One popular place is called H.S.Sam, an old bookstore by name but offers various types of travel services which include buying and selling novels, stationery, travel books, renting bicycles and motorcycles, currency exchange, visa arrangements and even travel tickets.

It is also quite hard to miss his store when you pass by. Please check the procedures on renting a motorbike in Penang if you plan to do so.

Picture of Chulia Street
A local hawker pushes his stall along the main street here
Popular amenities like 7-11, laundry services, travel agencies, homegrown businesses and so on are also available along this famous street.

Somehow whenever I visit Penang Island, I will make it a point to at least drive by the street to see how it has improved over the years.

One of my favorite places, Vincent Hair Saloon is a must stop-must-take-picture place. Trust me, you will never see another place with an amazing facade anywhere like this.

Guesthouses at Chulia Street

For your added information, below are some of the hotels and guesthouse information and also the famous Visa Run Website.

Banana Guest House
Address: 355/357/359 Chulia Street 10000 Penang
Telephone: 04-2626171
Rooms Rates RM18-100 (US$9-29)
Facilities: Wifi, Cafe/Restaurant, Car Park, Air Condition, Hot Water, Laundry
Email: info@banananewguesthouse.com
Banana Guesthouse Website

Blue Diamond Hotel
Address: 422, Leboh Chulia 
10200 Georgetown, 
Penang

Telephone: 04-2611089
Rooms: 40
Room Rates RM20-45 (US$6.50-13)
Facilities: Cafe/Restaurant, Car Park, Air Condition, Hot Water, Laundry

Crystal Guesthouse
Address: 294-294A Lebuh Chulia 10200 Penang
Telephone: 04-263 8068
Fax: 04-261 3599
email: crystalguesthouse@hotmail.com
Crystal Guesthouse Website

Day and Night Backpackers
Address: 319 Lebuh Chulia 10200 Penang
Telephone: 04-262 5645

Room Rates: RM20 (US$5.80)

E & A Budget Hotel
Address: 380 Chulia Street 10200 Penang
Telephone: 04-2621311
Room Rates: RM25-45 (USD$7.30-13.30)

Eastern Hotel

Address: 509, Chulia Street 
10200 Penang

Telephone: 04-2614597 Fax: 04-2610008
Rooms: 21
Room Rates RM25-35 (US$7-10)
Facilities: Air Condition, Hot Water
E-mail: mailto:hctravel@tm.net.my">hctravel@tm.net.my

Hang Chow Hotel

Address: 511, Chulia Street 
10200 Georgetown Penang
Telephone: 04-2610810
Rooms: 13
Room Rates RM30-50 (US$9-15)

Hotel Hong Ping

Address: 273, Lebuh Chulia 
10200 Penang
Telephone: 04-2625243 Fax: 04-2623270
Rooms: 58
Room Rates RM59-80
 (US$17-24)
Facilities: TV, Car Park, Credit Card, Air Condition, Hot Water

Island City Hotel
Address: 456 Lebuh Chulia 10200 Penang
Tel: 04-261 0770

Room Rates: RM35-50 (US$10.30-14.50)

Jim's Place Guesthouse
Address: 431 Chulia Street 10200 Penang
Telephone: +6016 6536963 +6017 4460644
Mobile: +60 16 653 6963
Email: blackangel90@hotmail.com

Newasakin Rumah Tumpangan
Address: 35/36 Chulia Street 10200 Penang
Telephone: 04-2630406
Room Rates: RM35-40 (US$10.30-11.80)
Facilities: Very basic

Olive Spring Hotel

Address: 300 – 302 Chulia Street 10200 Penang
Tel: (604) 261 4641
Rooms: 16
Room Rates: RM7-22 (US$2-8.50)
Facilities: Restaurant, Ticketing to Thailand, Indonesia

Pin Seng Hotel
Address: 82 Love Lane 10200 Penang (very near Chulia Street)
Tel: 04-261 9004

Room Rates: RM20 (US$5.80)

Stardust Guesthouse
Address: 370-D, Chulia Street, 10200 Penang
Telephone: 04 2635723
Room Rates: RM23-35 (US$6.70-10.30)
Email: admin@stardustguesthouse.com

Swiss Hotel (Oasis Hotel)
Address: 431-F, Chulia Street
 10200 Penang
Telephone: 04-2620133 / 04-262 2345
Rooms: 24
Room Rates RM30 (US$9)
Facilities: Car Park

Tourist Guesthouse
Address: 425/427/429 Chulia Street 10200 Penang
Telephone: 04 261 6425
Room Rates: RM20-25 (US$5.90-7.30)
Email: touristguesthouse@hotmail.com

If you currently run a guesthouse or budget motel who is not listed here, please do email me so I can add you to the list above.

And finally, for those who want more information about the infamous Penang Visa Run where information on everything you need to know about traveling from Thailand to Malaysia and getting a new Thai Visa.

Chulia Street Penang Map

Final Thoughts on Chulia Street in Penang

At the end of the day, this busy road will always remain a popular place for travelers from all over which includes the visa runners.

For the locals, it is one of the popular places that offer various local hawker and coffee shop delicacies. Something that the travelers would also love to explore.

Hawker carts are seen parked in front of stores with a good mix of inter-racial selections of local food and cakes. This is also best experienced once the sun goes down.

There are also a number of very popular restaurants and coffee shops located along Chulia Street in Penang if you want to give it a try, and you can just ask some locals where they are. 

29 comments:

Tekkaus said...

The Nam Wah Hotel and Bar still operating? Looks like it is deserted already.

David Jr said...

Hi Tekkaus, sadly, it is closed and left abandoned. Such a shame for that nice place. I hope someone will take over and revive it.

David

Robo said...

Wau! I love the photos of the motorcycle and the hawker in the middle of the street!
I love Chulia Street very much! Especially the Reggae Club who run by one of my friend.
Anyway, I will be there soon! :)
Thanks.

David Jr said...

Hi Robo, wow.. your friend runs the Reggae Bar there. Now this is really a small world. Thanks for the kind words too. Been busy so not much updates on my site in the last week. Hopefully I get more articles this week.

David

louisebah said...

last I was in Penang was oct 2008, and didnt make it to Chulia Street.

Looks like about time to go and make a trip down there! maybe even stay on Chulia Street!

This is great! thanks!

Carmen said...

i guess i will make a de tour to penang after my trip to hatyai! yay!

David Jr said...

Louise - Penang is great wen you explore around on foot. Maybe next time around, park your car somewere and explore Chulia Street, Love Lane and the surroundings by foot. The famous Penang 'Line Clear Nasi Kandar' is also just around the corner at the end of Chulia Street.

Carmen - Nice! You're headed up north and yes, please do make a stop there as Penang is filled with lots of culture and heritage. Especially the local Penang Food.

Regards,
David

superwilson said...

U got a whole list! Great!

David Jr said...

Wilson, thanks! Yes, managed to make a list of the guesthouses as many travelers want this kind of info. Hope this helps out.

Regards,
David

shloke said...

WAH! David is giving free marketing!

Thanks for sharing! I usually stay in guesthouse or budget hotel. Cheap, comfy and located right next to tourist attractions.

I missed Penang :)

Cheers!
mylo

David Jr said...

Thanks Mylo, not free marketing, this one is basic marketing. The real marketing costs lots of $$$ :)

Regards,
David

Fetri Husaini said...

hi..I never come to this place..but I think this place is suitable for backpackers

David Jr said...

Hello Fetri, yes this place is the number one choice for Backpackers when in Penang. A really unique place too.

David

Anonymous said...

I like seeing old buildings. Must visit this place when I happen to be in Penang the next time.

Melaka is another fav spot for viewing old buildings.

David Jr said...

Mei, Chulia Street in Penang is filled with these beautiful old buildings and Georgetown is a wonderland for these. You are right as Melaka has lovely old buildings too. I think I could easily make a posting on this subject.

David

eunice said...

No doubt the island is a great place with lovely nooks and corners waiting for us to explore and photo-shoot!

Travel the longest beach said...

I wish I could visit Penang.

David Jr said...

Travel the longest beach - One day you will and you will enjoy it very much.

David

lechua said...

great atmosphere in chulia street and the surrounding streets... took a walk around the heritage area during my recent visit last december!

Rabica mail said...

If you want to exacerbated by the push to be happy and grateful at the holidays visit bellapais

kenwooi said...

ah penang.. the land of good food, especially chendol! =D

David Jr said...

Lechua, always fun to explore Penang's streets. I always do that but sometimes it gets too hot.

Ken, Penang is full of it. If I were to do a food blog on my site here, there would be 2 updates a day just on food. But I have to keep it to Travel :)

Anonymous said...

wow.. Reggae Club is my dad's shop..XD...
thanks for writting it on your blog.. its really an honour..

and wow my dad's friend knows bout this too?... cool!...

David Jr said...

Hello Anonymous, that's so cool! Your dad's shop! Wow. small world huh?

Regards,
David

Anonymous said...

To David Jr, yeah what a small world...lol...
and if you have facebook you can check it out by typing "Reggae Club Penang" ...^^ i dont have a FB tho..XD

peter said...

It is really nice place to visit. Thanks for providing really nice information. I am also looking for a awesome place to visit in my next summer vocations. Though i get some handsome information from Hank Freid about accommodation & about some places as well

Philippine Travel Guide said...

wow i went here 15 years ago that was a very long time the only thing i remember about my trip was the penang bridge. the longest bridge in asia

David Jr said...

Hi anon, done and thanks!

Peter, thank you for the kind words here.

PTG, time you made a visit back to Penang as MUCH has changed since then.

Regards,
David

uwe said...

Hi there,

its been a while since my last visit in Penang

Since the Thai Embassy doesnt provide 1 year Non O multiple Entry VISA anymore in Penang, i was travelling to KL always.

A friend just told me today that the Thaiconsulate in Penang do it again. Can somebody here confirm they provide 1 year Non O multiple entry, Visas again in Penang?

thanks in advance

moskito