The best things to do after dinner in Penang are great for experiencing the island's diverse nightlife scene. When the sun goes down and strobe lights come on, this lively island really comes alive with a different kind of energy. Rooftop cocktail bars, pubs and beach bars are just a few of the main nighttime attractions – visitors will also be impressed by the island’s array of family-friendly after-hours activities.

    Penang does have a certain charm, drawing travelers out of the comfort of their hotel rooms to party or shop when the clock winds down. Check out our list of the best nightlife in Penang for all the right places to party, shop or relax.

    1

    Batu Ferringhi Night Market

    The Batu Ferringhi Night Market is one of Penang’s most popular shopping experiences. Jalan Batu Ferringhi is really the place to head to for after-dark shopping. Not only does this street deserve an honorable mention for having the most extensive stretch of outdoor retail offerings, but it also has the best beach frontage on the island.

    Highlights include homemade crafts like bejeweled headbands and ultra-cool pop art of DC and Marvel comic characters. Open every night, you will find dozens of stalls at the Batu Ferringhi Night Market. Vendors are pretty open to bargaining and will usually give visitors pretty good deals.

    Location: Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Kawasan Perumahan Sungai Emas, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

    Open: Daily from 7 pm to late

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    photo by Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Upper Penang Road bars and nightclubs

    Upper Penang Road has one of the largest concentrations of pubs, bars and nightclubs in Penang. Located at the start of Jalan Penang, it is closed off to vehicle traffic, allowing neon-lit clubs to place tables and chairs outside. You can people-watch and listen to the diverse, slightly muffled music soundtracks from individual clubs.

    Long-standing institutions along this stretch include Monkey Bar, a cool speakeasy-style bar with quirky interior design, and Soho Free House, a British tavern with fantastic all-day happy hour beer promos.

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    Penang’s beach bar scene is fairly comprehensive, ranging from simple shacks to themed bars set on the sand. Not only will you find them along Jalan Batu Ferringhi’s beach border, but there are also a few seafront venues in George Town. 

    Make that dream of sipping a cocktail with excellent ocean views by visiting Hard Rock Hotel’s Caribbean-style Sand Bar or ultra-posh QEII. These beach bars often have DJs spinning remixed tunes from the 1980s to the latest chart hits.

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    photo by Ah Wei (Lung Wei) (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    4

    Rooftop bars

    Penang has plenty of great rooftop bars and nightclubs, all offering excellent views of the Andaman Sea. The dramatic Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant & Sky Bar and the equally-stunning HH Rooftop Bar are just some of the island's must-visits. Rooftop bars in Penang lets you appreciate the island's gorgeous views with a drink in hand. 

    5

    Cocktail lounges

    Cocktail lounges in Penang are great for those who enjoy unique flavors and classy settings. Mixologists whip up some of the island's most inventive, colorful and tastiest beverages. All venues offer a winning formula of these beverages amid pleasing interior design, comfy seats, and unobtrusive music. 

    Some of our favorites are the rustic, Peranakan-style Baba Bar, and the fashionable G Lounge (in G Hotel along Gurney Drive), which has a 46-metre bar – the longest on the island.

    6

    Live music

    Live music is a thriving industry in Penang, as the island hosts several music festivals throughout the year. A must-see is the Penang Island Jazz Festival in August, one of Malaysia’s largest performing arts events. The Penang World Music Festival takes place between March and April. 

    Visitors looking for year-round entertainment will not be disappointed as several island bars regularly host live acts. Our top choice is the iconic Hard Rock Café along Jalan Batu Ferringhi, where live local performers rule the roost, but international artists make stage appearances from time to time.

    Penang's local hawker food scene really comes alive at night. Notable, sprawling open-air venues are found along Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Gurney Drive and Georgetown’s New Lane begin operations. Our favorite is New Lane Hawker Center for its char koay kak, a dish of pickled vegetables, rice cake, bean sprouts and fried egg.

    Also good is almost everything at the Gurney Drive Hawker Center (but it tends to get really packed), and the Long Beach Food Court along Jalan Batu Ferringh

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    8

    Kek Lok Si Temple

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    Visit Kek Lok Si Temple at night to experience real local culture during your vacation in Penang. You can visit during the day but it somehow loses that magical spark that makes it so special when lots of locals stop by for nightly prayers, with the smell of incense scenting the air and candles lighting the altars. 

    Kek Lok Si Temple is illuminated with thousands of lights up at night, providing you with plenty of opportunities for postcard-perfect pictures.

    Location: 1000L, Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Air Hitam, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

    Phone: +60 (0)4-828 3317

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    9

    Penang National Park

    The Penang National Park is a great place for discovering exotic wildlife during the day, but exploring it at night is an altogether different experience. The Penang Sunset Cruise takes you on a tour of the park, which spans 1,181 hectares of forest and 1,381 hectares of wetlands. 

    The tour starts at 5 pm, when there is plenty of natural light to see the park’s ecosystem. On the way back, you can see the sun setting over the horizon from the comfort of your boat.

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    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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