driving and parking in Penang

Nowadays the window for light traffic is really only about 9.30AM to 11.30AM on weekdays.  This may or not be useful, as shops and businesses will not usually be open until 10.30 or 11.  However, government offices are open much earlier, and banks from 9.30AM, I think.

Saturdays doesn’t really have a morning rush hour, but as you approach midday it’s already getting busy. And Sundays is even lighter in the morning, but can be busy by midday.

We are hoping that once the major infrastructure projects are built in the next few years that the above will be irrelevant and traffic smooth.  And that I can even cycle safely when I want to go somewhere relatively nearby.

Parking on the street is done by coupon in the busier places.  If you see parking bays marked on the road then it is likely you’ll need to buy a book of coupons and place one or more on your dashboard to show the period you are parked.


parking bay with number – means you’ll need to use a coupon for parking



display coupon with scratched out date and time on dashboard

40 sen for half an hour would be the charge, and you can buy the coupon booklets from many petrol stations, convenience stores, or even sometimes from vendors who are hanging around.

a vendor on Gurney Drive

a vendor on Gurney Drive


some voucher booklets

some coupon booklets

Don’t try to cheat by being optimistic about the time you scratch on the voucher, as I have seen people booked even though they cheated by 5 minutes. There should also be signs around saying when the parking restrictions are in force.

There are three kinds of signs - the red one means the longest parking restrictions

There are three kinds of signs – the red one means the longest parking restrictions.  This one means daily from 9AM to midnight the restrictions are in force.



Coupons necessary for parking Monday – Friday, 9 – 5, and Saturday, 9 – 1

Parking in malls can be easy as you pay when you leave, so you do not have to guess how long you will be.  But some multi-storey parking is designed for micro-cars and it can be tight using the up or down ramps, and fitting the car into a bay, even.  Straits Quays is very tight, so since they eliminated the easy outdoor parking I no longer go there.  Gurney Plaza is good.  Gurney Paragon parking is confusing.  I tend to walk from the Gurney Plaza parking.  First Avenue in George Town probably has the best designed, most comfortable parking in Penang, except for the entrance where you pick up your ticket, which is very tight. Pragin Mall parking is also OK.   And Queensbay Mall parking is also OK.  Other than that I don’t really visit any malls, so I can’t say any more.


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