The aim of this blog is to give the general idea about parking a car in Penang – it is not a definitive guide to all prices and all locations.
In Penang your choice of parking is as you would expect.
On the road –
- either free
- or at parking meters – you’ll need coins, and the price varies, but is perhaps 1 sen per minute. Quite often the meter will be broken – I carry a sign to put on my dashboard to cover such a possibility. You can park there, and if an attendant happens to come around, your sign saying “broken meter” should save any problems. Attendants do occasionally come and check meters, so it is better to pay, and be back before the meter expires.
- but a third possibility is that you will be charged by the half hour by someone who hangs around the area, probably on a motorbike, but sometimes on foot. There will be a sign that tells you, but in Bahasa probably. Either the parking attendant will come and you tell him how long you want to pay for, or you will find a docket under your windscreen wiper. Depending on the area it is usually 30 or 40 sen per half hour (half hour being the basic unit of time for them). It is best to hunt down the attendant and pay before you go. Otherwise, sooner or later you will get a hugely inflated bill in the post from the council. of course, if you park in such a place and you have no docket under your wiper when you return, then you haven’t been noticed, and you have just parked free.
- another possibility is that your bank will have a few dedicated spaces for customers, and you can park free there for a certain amount of time. Examples are HSBC across the road from Queensbay Mall, or CIMB in Northam Road area.
- and finally, around Megamall in Butterworth, and in some places in other parts of Malaysia, they have a coupon system, where you need to go to a shop and buy a book of coupons for parking. You then mark the starting time of your parking, and put it on your dashboard. In Megamall last time I was there it was about 20 sen half hour. And which shop can you buy the coupons from? You’ll have to ask someone nearby, or in a shop. Again, there will be a sign in Bahasa telling you this is the system. Look at other people’s dashboards to work it out.
Parking Areas –
Shopping malls, hotels, open parking lots. Sometimes it is free, sometimes there is a flat charge for parking, and sometimes it is time based. A few examples.
- Tesco and Giant supermarkets – free
- Botanical Gardens – free
- Many businesses have parking within their premises, and it is free
- Cold Storage in Island Plaza – RM1 per hour from memory
- E&O Hotel RM6 flat rate until 10pm, RM10 after 10pm, but RM 1 higher the day before holidays and weekends, and on holidays and weekends.
- Gurney Plaza – RM1 for three hours on weekdays, then RM1 per hour. Weekends and holidays – RM3 for three hours and then RM1 per hour. You can also pay with your Touch ‘n Go card, but pay an extra 10%
- Queensbay Mall – from memory the same as Gurney Plaza
- Hotels in Batu Ferringhi – usually free
Bear in mind that Malaysians hate to walk, so if you are prepared to park a little further away and walk, you may be able to park free. And if you are attending a festival, it makes a lot of sense to park a little further away, and avoid monumental traffic jams when you leave.
You may received a parking fine if you are caught illegally parking. This would be either from the council, or the police. Many people ignore the council fines for years, but if you don’t pay the police ones you can’t renew your local driving licence or car registration, so you’ll need to pay at that time, if not sooner – or such is conventional wisdom. A police fine is probably RM30. If you want to contest it, they are not very friendly, and letters you receive will be in Malay, and will ignore any questions you’ve asked that they don’t want to answer.