Malay Street, George Town, Penang

Chinese shophouses along Malay Street within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Malay Street is a narrow two-way street within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It runs straight between Carnavon Street to the northwest and Beach Street to the southeast.

Up to the late 19th. century, a Malay settlement existed within the vicinity of Malay Street, hence its name. Initially inhabited by ethnic Malays and immigrants from Acheh in Sumatra, Indonesia, the street gradually assumed its Chinese characteristics from the late 19th. century onwards.

As a result, Chinese shophouses and association buildings were built along Malay Street, while Chung Ling High School, currently one of the top Chinese schools in Penang, was founded here.

Today, Malay Street forms part of the invisible boundary separating the core and buffer zones of the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Malay Street sign, George Town, Penang

A bilingual Malay Street sign, featuring its Chinese name.


Malay Street was named after the Malay village that used to exist around the street until the late 19th. century.

At the time, cows, which are essential in Muslim festivals, were bred and slaughtered within the Malay enclave. Hence, the Chinese called the street Thai3 Gu3 Au33, which meant 'the cow-slaughtering street' in Penang Hokkien.


For much of the 19th. century, a Malay village had existed within the vicinity of Malay Street, stretching north up to Acheen Street. During that period, the street served as a village path that cut through the Malay settlement.

Towards the end of the 19th. century, the Chinese began moving into Malay Street, building shophouses and association buildings along the street. From then on, Malay Street has taken on a somewhat more Chinese façade.

Also around the end of the 19th. century, a seaward extension of Malay Street was created and subsequently renamed as Malay Street Ghaut. Prior to the land reclamation of the late 19th. century, Beach Street, where Malay Street terminated, had served as the eastern coastal road of George Town.

Malay Street, George Town, Penang (2)

The pink Chinese shophouses to the right were the original site of Chung Ling High School, which has since grown into one of the elite Chinese schools in Penang.

In 1917, supporters of the famed Chinese revolutionist, Sun Yat-sen, established Chung Ling High School at Malay Street. Today, Chung Ling High School, which has since been relocated west to the Air Itam suburb, is one of the premier Chinese schools within Penang. Meanwhile, the premises at Malay Street that once housed the school is now occupied by a stationery shop.

Notable Landmarks

From west to east :

  • Lung Yen Association
  • Tong Aun Kim Har Association
  • Yeoh Association
  • Heong Giap Paper & Stationery Sdn. Bhd. (the original site of Chung Ling High School)
Lung Yen Association, Malay Street, George Town, Penang

Lung Yen Association is one of the several Hokkien associations within George Town.


*All prices are quoted in Malaysian Ringgit (RM).

The Ghost Museum, which was opened in 2015, is touted as the first of its kind within Malaysia. It explores the creepy encounters, myths and legends, as seen from the perspectives of the different cultures and religions.

Ghost Museum, Malay Street, George Town, Penang

Penang's Ghost Museum was opened in 2015.

It opens daily from 1000 hours to 1900 hours. Ticket prices are as follows.

Malaysians :

  • Adult : RM 18
  • Student : RM 10
  • Child and senior citizen : RM 8

Foreigners :

  • Adult : RM 36
  • Student, child and senior citizen : RM 16


A couple of shophouses here have been converted into budget accommodations.

  • Betel Nut Lodge
  • Yong Yi Yuen Guesthouse

Political Representation

Penang State Government

N.26 Padang Kota State Assemblyman : Chow Kon Yeow (Democratic Action Party)

Malaysian Federal Parliament

P.049 Tanjong Member of Parliament : Ng Wei Aik (Democratic Action Party)


  1. Khoo S.N., 2007. Streets of George Town, Penang. Areca Books, Penang.
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