Penang nightlife differs from what you'll experience in Kuala Lumpur or other parts of Malaysia. A visible juxtaposition between rustic and modern makes the night scene here lively spanning from clubs to coffee bars and street markets. There's no shortage of things to do in Penang at night, regardless of what kind of entertainment you enjoy.
The best nightlife in Penang, Malaysia, tends to be less pretentious than the after-dark activities in Kuala Lumpur. Still, its prime areas of Batu Ferringhi, Georgetown, and in particular Love Lane are excellent places to find exciting, engaging, and unique things to do.
Here, the night scene is centred around something other than drinking. Instead, many things to do in Penang at night involve games, art and food. In particular, Penang nightlife in Georgetown has a massive variety of activities and attracts the most crowds.
Next time you visit Malaysia, break out of the big city and check out the Penang nightlife for a fun change of pace. If you need ideas for a night out on the island, we've compiled the best Penang nightlife activities to help you plan your time wisely.
- Sample Penang Street Food (Our Favourite Penang Nightlife Activity)
- Penang Street Art at Night
- Visit a Quirky Bar
- Listen to Live Music at Night in Penang
- Visit a Penang Night Market
- Ride an Electric Bike Around Georgetown (Fun Penang Nightlife Activity)
- Head to a Club
- Grab a Late-Night Coffee
- Play Board Games in a Cafe
- Penang Night Walk in Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park
- Go for a Late Night Foot Massage
- Walk Along Padang Kota Lama
- Get on a Beca
- Visit Hean Boo Thean Temple (Unique Penang nightlife views)
- Visit the Monkey King Temple
- Grab Desserts on a Night Out in Penang
- Best of Penang Nightlife
- Georgetown Penang Nightlife
- Batu Ferringhi Penang Nightlife
- Pantai Jerjak Penang Nightlife
Sample Penang Street Food (Our Favourite Penang Nightlife Activity)
Enjoying street food is one of the best things to do in Malaysia, especially if you visit the spots the locals do. Plus, this is one way to make the most out of Penang nightlife without emptying your bank account.
Try the char koay teow, noodles with lard, beans, chilli, and seafood. Just be aware that Malaysians cook more on the spicier end. Next up try fresh oyster omelettes or regional laksa, a fish soup packed with local spices and chilli. Eat it at the roadside market or if there's no space, sit on the side of the road as some locals do. Both are two unconventional ways to enjoy Penang nightlife on the streets.
Here are a few spots we recommend you check out for some great street food on the Malaysian island at night.
Penang nightlife at Chulia street revolves around fantastic food, especially at the local night market. Visitors in the know go where the locals go, like Halab, Wai Kee Char Siew, and Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay.
Penang nightlife at Chulia street may occasionally involve drinking, but it always involves food at the start or end of a night out. Most hawkers here operate until midnight, or until they sell out, so you have plenty of time to grab a few bites.
Penang nightlife at Love Lane is usually a backpacker paradise full of small live music bars and great street art. However, since it's right next to Chulia street, a short walk will get you some fantastic Penang street food. Try Lok-Lok, Rojak and some cheap Malaysian-style burgers.
The best place for some high-quality, late-night supper is to head to Kimberly Street. It's a lot quieter than the Penang nightlife at Chulia street and Love but offers a more local's experience of street food at night.
At Kimberly street, you'll find the famous Duck Kway Chap, a traditional dish from the island. Duck Kway Chap is slow-cooked duck in a rich, aroma-filled broth that the vendors make from soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon and other local herbs. The street vendors will usually serve this with either noodles or rice.
If you're in the mood for a bowl of Wan Tan Mee, Assam Laksa or chicken satay, head to Carnarvon Street to check out the hawkers there. When we compared the prices and portions, Carnarvon was much cheaper than Chulia street and Love lane.
You're guaranteed to get a good portion of authentic and inexpensive food that will fuel you for the rest of your night out.
Penang Street Art at Night
Penang nightlife in Georgetown usually attracts different crowds than during the day, but you can still enjoy one of this area's primary attractions; street art.
Visiting street art in Georgetown is one of the best things to do in Penang at night because there are far fewer crowds. It's also a fantastic way to enjoy your evening because you can see an entirely different side of the art.
The art instalments on Victoria street and Armenian street look very different when they interact with the street lights at night compared to the day.
Most street art is concentrated in Georgetown, so get a map during the day and plot your course. The Little Girl in Blue, Boy on a Motorcycle, and Peeping Tom Cat are famous street installations. However, there is so much more to see. We loved discovering new artwork at every corner as we did a Penang night walk around the town.
After you've finished, you can hit some quirky bars or cafes to round off your evening of Penang nightlife in Georgetown.
Visit a Quirky Bar
Some of the best Penang nightlife in Georgetown involves immersing yourself in the quirky culture that makes this area so charming and unique.
The Penang nightlife at Love Lane is closely knit, and you can visit several bars in a few short hours. You'll have a good time in this part of town. However, some of our favourite quickie bars are spread out across Georgetown.
The Backdoor Bodega is one of the staples of Penang nightlife in Georgetown, a spot where you can get fantastic premium cocktails and enjoy the local vibe.
At Backdoor Bodega, you don't purchase cocktails with cash. Instead, they ask you to buy pins to exchange for their tasty concoctions.
It's a little tough to find, so make sure you ask around when you're in the area to discover the secret location of this "elusive speakeasy." There's also an entrance via Hin Bus Depot which we found much more accessible to enter from.
Its hidden location, artistic vibe, and mix of locals and tourists set it apart from bars in larger cities like Kuala Lumpur.
This hidden bar exemplifies Penang nightlife in Georgetown with its robust cocktail menu, friendly waitstaff, and always eclectic crowds.
We loved the decor inspired by old Chinese taverns and the red neon lights. Chinese idioms and famous Hong Kong martial arts films inspire their food and drink offerings. You'll generally find people milling near the entrance, so if you miss the sign to Magazine63, look for the moving crowds.
Good Friends Club
As the name suggests, this place is excellent for good friends to meet up with. Created as a local, inexpensive hang-out spot, you'll usually find a lot of backpackers and locals at this spot.
If you're unsure about what you want to drink, ask the bar staff what they like. The barista at Good Friends Club gave us some good recommendations when we went earlier in the night.
For excellent nightlife in Penang, Malaysia, it's tough to beat Good Friends Club for its welcoming nature and laid-back atmosphere.
Listen to Live Music at Night in Penang
While a lot of fun centres around art, there are also many venues and opportunities to catch live music.
Live music is one of the key aspects of Penang nightlife in Georgetown, often involving guest artists from all over Malaysia. You can catch a live session of Jazz, Acoustic, Mando pop and even some local rock bands.
Even if you want to avoid staying for the live music, these excellent venues and their drinks will make it worthwhile.
Canteen at China House
Canteen at China House is a fantastic spot for Penang nightlife in Georgetown if you're looking for live music. Check their social media feeds for an up-to-date listing of what's on that week.
Generally, they have live music performances every day of the week and range from jazz to rock. Although this spot is quirky, it does have a "come as you are" vibe that's perfect for backpackers and casual visitors.
Since it can get very crowded during the holidays, it's a good idea to arrive early to secure your table or book ahead of time.
With their friendly waiting staff and great range of small platters, Kim Haus is a quiet location for live music performances.
It feels less hectic compared to China House and is a good option for Penang nightlife in Georgetown for those who want to chat with friends while listening to Jazz music.
As far as nightlife in Penang, Malaysia, it takes a lot of work to beat Soundmaker Studio. This underground live music venue is massive and generally plays some of the best indie tracks in the city.
They book lots of indie bands, and they also have performance art shows. They're also an active recording studio and a bar. However, they don't always have live performances, so it's best to check on their website beforehand.
Visit a Penang Night Market
No Penang itinerary is complete without a visit to a local night market. A staple of Penang nightlife in Georgetown, night markets are great places to pick up souvenirs, meet local people, and sample incredible local food. Try snacks like Lok Lok, soybean milk with cincau and an unlimited choice of fried goods.
There are several destinations for Penang nightlife in Georgetown as far as night markets are concerned, with the top one being Batu Ferringhi for shopping and Maccalum for food.
Macallum Street Night Market
This street night market used to be the biggest night market on the island before 2019. Despite this, it's still a prevalent night market and a must-visit for Penang nightlife in Georgetown.
You'll find more food options at Macallum Street night market than clothes and gifts. But the street vendors are not to be missed. A lot of them will sell out within the first few hours of the night.
We especially liked the fried goods we found at this street market. In particular, we liked the crispy gizzards, fried chicken skin, baby crabs and chicken taro balls. These were fried right in front of us as we waited.
They're only open on Mondays, so make sure you plan your trip ahead of time to visit.
Batu Ferringhi Night Market
Easily the most popular option for Penang nightlife in Georgetown, Batu Ferringhi Night Market has an expansive array of different stalls, shops, and delicious street food.
Like Maccallum street night market, it is slowly gearing back to its former glory days. More stores here sell beach-related goods and kids' toys, but you'll often find some good handmade souvenirs too. Remember to negotiate to get the best possible deals.
Ride an Electric Bike Around Georgetown (Fun Penang Nightlife Activity)
When you think of Penang nightlife in Georgetown, touring the city on an electric bike might not jump directly to the top of your mind, but it should. It's a great way to see the city, combined with some adrenaline on an after-dark street art tour.
Travelling on an electric bike and hitting all the street art locations without crowds is one of the best things to do in Penang at night. This was a highlight of our trip.
You have a few options. You can rent a pedal bike or electric bike or join an organised bike tour. Organised bike tours are usually private and cost more to do. Electric bikes and pedal bikes are cheaper and charge per hour.
In addition to visiting the street art, you can check out the night markets or even visit a massage parlour. If you go earlier in the evening, you might even have the chance to see some of the island's museums and galleries, making this option a wholesome and cultural way to experience Penang nightlife in Georgetown.
However, remember that you're not meant to travel on the large main roads while on an electric bike. So do ensure you stay within the Georgetown area for your safety.
Head to a Club
If you're feeling energetic and want to meet tons of people, heading to a club should be at the top of your list of things to do in Penang at night. Some popular nightclubs you may want to consider are Hei Hei Club and Peace Club. These are akin to the pumping club scene of Kuala Lumpur.
However, if you prefer artistic clubs with niche music scenes, then Georgetown has those types to offer too. They are mostly around Chulia Street, Muntri Street, and Love Lane.
The Original Reggae Club is a good reggae spot and a Penang nightlife in Georgetown staple, attracting locals and tourists alike. They are mainly for their famous "ladies' night" on Wednesdays.
Grab a Late-Night Coffee
If your idea of the perfect evening doesn't necessarily involve alcohol, why not switch to caffeine instead? Penang nightlife in Georgetown is full of top-notch cafes that stay open late and serve a mix of coffee, cocktails, and boozy coffee blends.
This popular Penang cafe and bar gets its name from the shape of the bar and is a magnet for hipsters, travellers, and people who want to be in the middle of it all.
You can't beat the coffee cocktails, creative desserts, and great live music and entertainment. You can also get classic alcoholic favourites like mojitos at Narrow Marrow.
Junk Cafe is a hipster and coffee-lover paradise with an eclectic mix of artwork, decent coffees, and a good craft beer selection. You can also find scrumptious Western-style burgers here. They come in generous portions and are satisfying after a few beers.
Of all the things to do in Penang at night, visiting China House should be at the top of your list. This massive building hosts several businesses and has 16,000 square feet of space. You'll find live music, incredible food, desserts and top-notch coffee.
Play Board Games in a Cafe
Playing board games at one of the island's cute, hipster cafes or bars is one of the most low-key, fun, and competitive things to do in Penang at night. While you can undoubtedly find a friendly game anywhere, these spots are guaranteed to have board games on deck.
Snacks & Ladders Board Games Bistro
If you like old-school board games, this is the spot to be. It's cosy, well-liked, and full of your nostalgic childhood favourites. Come with a group or join a pick-up game.
Kohii Board Game Cafe
Kohii Board Game Cafe is a chill place to enjoy a drink and some classic or rare games. It's a small cafe with finger food, board games, and plenty of good company.
Kazan By Volcano
This dessert shop has nostalgic games like Snakes and Ladders and chess for you to enjoy while you try their signature pocket cheese toasties and drinks. Then, try Kazan by Volcano's yoghurt slurpee or their inventive desserts while you best your friends.
Located close to Love Lane, Mugshot Cafe forms part of the Penang nightlife at Chulia street. While the rest of the road is buzzing with noise from clubs and bars, Mugshot provides a somewhat quiet, laid-back oasis.
It's an excellent spot for coffee and intriguing puzzle games. There is also a smaller selection of baked goods compared to the day, but overall is a good, family-friendly place for a fun early evening out.
Jenga is one of everyone's favourite games, and Chatto is the best spot on the island to go for it. This traditional tea and coffee bar also offers excellent Japanese snacks and drinks, making it a destination for those who want a more chill, unconventional way to spend their evening.
Karaoke happens in smaller venues and Penang KTV nightclubs, where you can get what looks almost like a recording studio and rock out with your friends.
For a more casual nightlife in Penang experience, head to one of many smaller bars and do your best rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Here are some of our top choices for karaoke.
While there are quite a few options around Georgetown, our top picks are Red Box Karaoke in 1st Avenue Mall and Loud Speaker Family Karaoke in New World Park. Red Box offers larger rooms with a delicious selection of food, so you can choose to have a late-night supper while singing. On the other hand, Loud Speaker also has studio-like rooms which are for more serious karaoke enthusiasts!
Either way, the two spots are the best options for late-night karaoke, as it stays open until 3 a.m. and is always full of fun when you go with your mates.
Penang Night Walk in Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park
Beautifully lit by children's lanterns at night, Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park will give visitors a whole new appreciation for the Malaysian island because it offers a glimpse into the earliest settlement of this city.
You can also pair your visit to the park with a stop at the Kimberley Street night market. While seeing the park during the day is an adventure, visiting at night is a nearly transcendental experience, with all of Prangin Canal washed in lights.
It's also protected with several historic locks from the original Prangin Canal. Since most of the time you have to go outside cities to appreciate the scope of their nearby ancient ruins, it's a real treat to find Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park right in the middle of Georgetown.
If you or your family are interested in history before the colonial era and the ancient world, definitely put this attraction on your list.
Go for a Late Night Foot Massage
Nightlife in Penang doesn't always necessarily involve going out on the town. Instead, you can get a Penang massage.
Whether you opt for a full body or foot massage, there are plenty of places to find comfort and relaxation. SS Foot Massage Reflexology, Ann Health Spa, and Sutera Massa Foot Reflexology & Body Massage are all excellent options.
Plus, foot massages are often relatively inexpensive in Penang at night, making them both a relaxing and cost-effective way to unwind after a long day of wandering around the city. In addition, most places will have discount offers for weekdays after certain hours to attract crowds.
Some massages come with lotion or paraffin treatments, so it's almost like getting a pedicure. So head into one of the massage parlours on the island and ask for the price.
Walk Along Padang Kota Lama
While visiting historical sites only fits some people's definition of great Penang nightlife in Georgetown, it's a top way to enjoy the city if you're a history buff. It's also right beside the sea and is well-lit, making it a romantic Penang night walk.
Padang Kota Lama is Georgetown's city centre, full of stunning architecture and landmarks, including City Hall and the Island's State Legislative Assembly. While you can't enter these sites, you'll be able to appreciate the architecture without the heat from the day.
Make sure you visit the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower and Church of the Assumption on your trip. Both are incredible when lit up at night. There are also a few night food courts scattered around the area, which you can treat yourself to a late snack after.
Get on a Beca
Cruise through Penang nightlife at Love Lane in style on a Beca, one of the island's famous trishaws. Not to be confused with rickshaws, trishaws are cycles that can pull you through Georgetown's hot spots like Chulia street, Love Lane and the many night markets.
Hitching a ride on a Beca before enjoying the best nightlife in Penang is one surefire way to see Georgetown differently.
You can also organise Beca tours with your driver if you'd like. Remember, it's acceptable and expected that you'd negotiate a price in advance, so don't be afraid to haggle a little bit, especially if you're travelling with a family. Also, check around to see what you'd want to do before booking with a Beca driver so you can make the most of the day.
Visit Hean Boo Thean Temple (Unique Penang nightlife views)
Illuminated at night, the Hean Boo Thean Temple, or Shrine of the Goddess of Mercy, is one of the most beautiful sights in Penang at night.
You can check it out from Tan Jetty or walk around if you'd like. Since you can only go into Kek Lok Si temple at night during Chinese New Year, the Hean Boo Thean Temple is a great option. In particular, its reflection on the sea water is gorgeous.
Visit the Monkey King Temple
This modest temple near the Jetty Seafood Court is an excellent place to go for a Penang night walk or before exploring more of the city. Dedicated to the Monkey King "Sun Wukong", this temple is a unique place of worship in the country.
Grab Desserts on a Night Out in Penang
No good evening out is complete without desserts. The best cafes offer excellent nightlife in Penang for those with a sweet tooth, and you can taste delicacies from around the world.
At most food courts, you can try Cendol, a mix of ice, sugar, milk, and jellied fruits. You can also find apom, another excellent option with sweet toppings. While these are delicious choices, we suggest you head to either of these three spots for the best dessert in Penang at night.
Tong Sui Po (Local Penang Nightlife Hangout Spot)
Tong Sui Po focuses on herbal Chinese desserts that are cooling and delicious. We love their peach resin and snow fungus iced soup. However, the lotus pancakes at Tong Sui Po are second to none. This place tends to get pretty packed at night, so fill your patience with your appetite and enjoy plenty of delicious Chinese desserts.
Passion Heart Cafe
The owner Nelly opened the cafe just underneath her residence during her retirement to keep herself busy. They use fresh fruits from local Malaysian farmers. Therefore, their cakes constantly change depending on seasonal fruits and new cake ideas.
Cempadak Crumble is their signature dessert at Passion Heart Cafe. Meanwhile, their Durian Cream Cake is a solid favourite of many locals.
Swatow Lane Ice Kacang
Treat your tastebuds to an unforgettable experience with a delicious Ice Kacang! This unique Malaysian dessert features fluffy shaved ice topped off with grass jelly, red beans and sweet corn. Then the vendors finish it by drizzling it in rose syrup and topped with crushed peanuts.
Swatow Lane is known for using high-quality ingredients and striking the right combination balance that you won't be able to find anywhere else. Plus, the family-friendly atmosphere makes it a top choice for early Penang nightlife in Georgetown.
Best of Penang Nightlife
|What to eat in Penang at night||Durian, Duck Kway Chap, Ice Kacang, Cendol|
|Where to go after dinner in Penang||Chulia Street, China House, Mugshot Cafe|
|Great late-night coffee||Narrow Marrow, Junk Cafe, China House|
|Evening dessert spots||Tong Sui Po, Passion Heart Cafe, Swatow Lane|
|Best nightclub in Penang||Hei Hei Club, The Original Reggae Club|
|Best bars in Penang||Magazine63, Backdoor Bodega|
|Great Penang night walks||Padang Kota, Sia Boey Archaeological Park|
|Penang night market||Macallum Night Market, Batu Ferringhi Night Market|
Georgetown Penang Nightlife
Penang nightlife in Georgetown is always buzzing with fancy cafes, quirky bars, and great food choices. You'll meet both locals and tourists in Georgetown, and it's a massive backpacker haven with street food, cheap beers, and plenty of opportunities to socialize.
If you're travelling alone, consider making Georgetown your home base. You'll never run out of things to do. There are plenty of fantastic cultural spots everywhere, and the bars and cafes are always full of people up for a friendly chat.
Batu Ferringhi Penang Nightlife
Boasting a bit of a different vibe, Penang nightlife in Batu Ferringhi is a resort area. It's quieter with fewer activities compared to Georgetown. It's more family-friendly and is dominated by the area's massive night market and new shopping malls close to Gurney Drive.
You'll be able to find excellent western food with a classy cocktail here. However, you won't find many backpackers as the accommodation price is higher. Nonetheless, you will discover Penang nightlife in Batu Ferringhi as a quiet and upscale alternative to places like Love Lane.
Pantai Jerjak Penang Nightlife
If you're looking for wild things to do in Penang at night, you might want to skip Pantai Jerjak. On the other hand, if you want a local, relaxing experience with an island vibe, it's a good place to go. It's got some great dining choices, Instagrammable Penang beaches, and low-key watering holes.
It's just a short distance from Georgetown and in the Sungai Dua area. A must-visit for anyone who loves surfing, sand, and mellow relaxation. If you want the best of all worlds, stop at Pantai Jerjak during the late afternoon first, then head to Georgetown.
Make sure you follow us on Instagram at @tabitogether for more great things to do in Penang at night.