Chulia Street Penang

Penang Chulia Street
Chulia Street in Penang is undoubtedly a backpacker, flashpacker or the general traveller's favourite must-visit destination while holidaying in the Pearl Of The Orient of Malaysia.

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

Currently, this area is highly popular among foreign visitors and the many local visitors who enjoy exploring Penang.

Chulia Street in Penang

Photo of Chulia Street Penang
What Chulia Street looks like on a typical day.

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 streets of George Town: 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 road while several guest houses and hotels stand out with bright signages hoping to attract backpackers and travellers.

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

Money Changers Chulia Street PenangMoney changers at Chulia Street.

Chulia Street also offers several money changers or foreign currency exchange services, while visa arrangements to Thailand are a famous sight along the street.

If you are looking for a good deal, 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 road being popular with antique shops selling all sorts of curious and collectables.

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

These days, backpacker guesthouses and boutique hotels are popular lodging choices, as many offer fantastic lodging deals throughout the street.

Chulia Street Reggae Cafe Bar
The ever-popular Reggae Club at Chulia Street.

Many original coffee shops, restaurants, and businesses once served a packed floor, or customers are gone.

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 that double as Internet cafes and everything else are the norms here as competition is stiff.

Prices are reasonable, while lodging is very basic but guarantees a place in the heart of town within walking distance 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 glamour and style to this part of Penang.

Why did no one want 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, many travellers are seen having a good time with some cold beer.

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

Nowadays, you only see younger visitors or foreign tourists visiting 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 photos from the good old days of the HKB, as it 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 is gone, but the place is back in action now.

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

Chulia Street Jim's Place
Jim's Place at Chulia Street.

Several new info-bars are also popping up on Chulia Street, and one of them I saw was called Jim's Place - Reggae and Rock Cafe.

These current-generation backpacker or flashpacker outlets cater to modern travellers who want information quickly and easily on a budget.

Chulia Street Bike Rental Shop
Motorbike rental along Chulia Street.

Apart from the regular bars, hotels, and guesthouses, you would find one or two handy shops that cater to almost everything.

One popular place is called H.S.Sam, an old bookstore by name. Still, it 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 for 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.

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 favourite places, Vincent Hair Saloon, is a must-stop-must-take-picture place. You will never see another site with a fantastic facade anywhere like this.

Guesthouses at Chulia Street

For your added information, below are some of the hotels and guesthouse information, and since these were listed in 2010, I recommend you Google search them to see if they are still in operation.

Many have ceased operations due to Covid-19, and there are many new places for accommodations around Chulia Street. Anyway, the list of guesthouses are;

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

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

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

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

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
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

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)

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)

If you currently run a guesthouse or budget motel not listed here, please 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, there is information on everything you need about travelling from Thailand to Malaysia and getting a new Thai Visa.

Chulia Street Penang Map

Final Thoughts on Chulia Street in Penang

Ultimately, this busy road will always remain famous for travellers from all over, including visa runners.

It is a popular place for the locals, offering various local hawkers and coffee shop delicacies. Something that travellers would also love to explore.

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

There are also several trendy restaurants and coffee shops along Chulia Street in Penang if you want to try them, and you can ask some locals where they are.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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