Penang – a Treasure Trove for Shoppers Everywhere
Shop. Dine. Unwind. These are the favourite pastimes of locals and tourists alike here in Penang. In fact, statistics show an annual increase in sales and in the number of shoppers engaged in wholesale and retail trades.
Shopping here is a larger-than-life experience. Just know where to go and you will find what you want. And where can you best enjoy this obsession? Where else but in the numerous shopping malls, department stores, hypermarkets and even night markets scattered around George Town, Batu Ferringi, Bayan Lepas, and even the mainland. With a wide array of merchandise to purchase, from collectibles to the latest fashion trends, Penang is no doubt, one of the best shopping destinations in Malaysia.
Penang shopping centres stay relevant by evolving with the new generation of consumers, providing a blend of iconic retail chains, as well as access to both international designer labels and local specialty retailers.
Bargaining is the culture in Penang. Although it may seem strange for tourists, haggling between vendors and buyers is already a common scene. Don’t be afraid to ask for discount, and you may be surprised what negotiating power you have!
Still, if you are not comfortable in bargaining, the modern shopping malls and department stores are your best option. After all, the air-conditioned malls make for a far better shopping afternoon on the island. Aside from shopping in comfort, malls have the same selection of merchandise as in the alfresco markets. There is always SALE in every occasion – New Year sale, Christmas sale, Hari Raya sale, Deepavali sale, even school holiday and school opening sales.
Penang has a good blend of modern high-end shopping complexes, local “pasar malam” (night markets) and traditional antique shops. Everything from the finest fashion labels, cosmetics and jewellery to electronics, home accessories and furniture, to little knick-knacks and souvenirs, you’ll be tempted by the stunning displays and bargains aplenty.
Most of the popular malls can be found in George Town, including Gurney Plaza, Prangin Mall, 1st Avenue, Penang Plaza, Pinang Megamall, Island Plaza, and the new Gurney Paragon Mall in Kelawai Road. Queensbay Mall, so far the biggest mall in Penang is located in Bayan Lepas while Sunway Carnival Mall is situated in Butterworth, in the mainland. Older shopping malls are the historic Komtar Kompleks, Bukit Jalil Kompleks and One-Stop Midlands. All these malls boast brand-name clothing and accessories for sale in their stores.
Even hypermarkets are abundant in Penang including Tesco and Tesco Extra, Giant, Carrefour, and Sunshine Farlim. Department stores in Penang include Parkson Grand, Jusco, Metrojaya, GAMA and Sunshine.
Pasar Malam or night markets are almost at every corner. When the sun goes down, small stalls line up the streets selling different merchandise like clothes, toys, handicrafts, jewelleries, and snacks, fruits, and even tasty fast food dinners.
In the UNESCO-listed George Town, Little India, Upper Penang Road, Campbell Street and numerous heritage shop houses offer opportunities for digging antique, rare and unusual treasures. Shopping in these narrow alleys is like entering living museums of century-old clan houses, antique shops and budget lodgings.
Not forgetting the “Dine” and “Unwind” parts of shopping, Penang malls are not confined to clothes-buying anymore, but have included options for dining and recreation that heighten the overall experience for shoppers.
Each is a lifestyle destination of its own. Most if not all, of the malls in Penang houses a variety of restaurants, cafés, even small booths for quick snacks and refreshments. Even if you are not into shopping, most malls offer venues for recreation and leisure – from cinemas, playgrounds, bowling alleys and amusement centres; some even have live bands and fashion shows. Or you can simply indulge in a spa, massage, nail or hair fixing experience.
The number of these facilities and the quality of service they offer continues to improve as the Tourism sector promotes Malaysia’s Extended Shopping Zones to become internationally acclaimed, and in the process bring more recognition to the ever dynamic shopping sector.
So, where to shop in Penang? Check out our features to explore, so you can shop ‘til you drop!