Best value in Penang

Most things in Penang are quite reasonable value.

Street parking in Butterworth near the Megamall is 40 sen an hour (8 pence).  On  the island it can be up to double that for street parking, and on weekdays in mall parking areas perhaps RM1 (20 pence) for three hours.  Of course, some parking is free, and some banks and supermarkets have free parking.

Rapid Penang bus tickets are priced according to distance, but are cheap.

Theatre and concert tickets are far cheaper than we’re used to, and the cinema is from RM7 (around £1.40).  The cinemas can be very, very cold, so take something to wear.

Coffee at Mc Donalds is good value – the other famous coffee chains charge pretty much the same as London.  Old Town coffee’s price is not too bad – the new Old Town on Beach Street also has a nice atmosphere. Best value though, is coffee (black coffee is Kopi-O), at a hawker centre – depending on the hawker centre it is about 80 sen (16 pence).

Song River on Gurney Drive, corner Jalan Birch

Eating at hawker centres is quite cheap – cheaper than buying food at the supermarket and eating at home – but when you consider the hygiene levels, the unavoidable MSG, and the preponderance of carbohydrate based dishes, many expats soon tire of them and prefer to eat at home mostly.  Song River on Gurney Drive, does have some nice dishes during the day, and although small, is good and therefore very popular. (Daytimes, about 7AM – 3PM.)  At night, instead, are several stalls selling different ranges of dishes, my favourite being the BBQ chicken stall.

Sarkies, E&O Hotel

But one deal stands out – become a member of the Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E & O), and two people can eat a lunchtime buffet for the price of one, on weekdays.  You may have to eat there about five times for the savings you make to recover the cost of the membership. It depends on the day how good it is – sometimes the variety and quality of the food is good, and sometimes excellent.  You also receive some useful, and not so useful, vouchers.  Useful ones are, for example, free afternoon tea vouchers for 1885 – the upmarket restaurant at the E & O, member for a day vouchers you can use when you go with friends – or can give to friends, some good birthday deals at 1885 etc. E & O membership  – 04 222 2000 & ask for Helen

Sarkies, E&O Hotel, buffet

Dim Sum, as in most countries, can be very good value.  There are numerous good Dim Sum restaurants.

And there are a couple of useful free magazines for expats:

The Expat mag –
Expatriate Lifestyle –

Of course, there are free daily newspapers, such as the Sun, Monday to Friday.

Is there anything else I should be aware of? I am sure there is.


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