Markets are loved by all for their eclectic mix of goodies, friendly customer service and sense of community. Rather than the sterile experience of shopping at a supermarket, markets are social affairs that thrive off relationships, loved by children and adults alike. There is also the satisfaction that any money spent goes directly to small business owners, supporting those with artisanal pride and effort behind their products. Penang is rich in markets in terms of quantity, quality, diversity and size, not least in its wet markets where most people buy their fresh meat and vegetables. Here are some of the others we like best:
Hin Bus Depot Pop-up Market
Shop for cute trinkets, handmade stationary, skin care products, leather goods and more at this chill Sunday market held in the backyard of Penang’s most popular art gallery. Feeling peckish after all that shopping? Have your fill of cakes, pasta dishes, ginger beer and other homemade treats. Other activities include fortune reading, stamp carving and, of course, browsing the present artworks on view at Hin Bus Depot.
Opening hours: Every Sunday, 11am-5pm
Address: 31A Jalan Gurdwara, Penang, 10300
Organic Farmers Market
Held on the third Sunday of the month, this market aims to showcase producers from Penang’s small but growing organic farming sector, and also promotes sustainability, fair trade and responsibility to the environment. In addition to vegetables stalls offer health foods and demonstrations on the making of enzymes, handmade soaps and other artisanal products.
Opening hours: Third Sunday of Each Month, 2pm-7pm
Address: Straits Quay, Tanjung Toking.
Contact: 04-890 8295
Occupy Beach Street
Every Sunday morning Occupy Beach Street provides family and friends with fun and retail therapy, located strategically at Lebuh Pantai, Lebuh Bishop, Lebuh Gereja and Gat Lebuh Gereja. Occupy Beach Street Project is held in conjunction with Penang Car Free Day where roads are closed from 7am – 1pm to accommodate exciting activities ranging from thrilling sports, challenging activities, street performances and traditional games. Strolling down the streets filled with cultural food, art and craft booths, visitors can also be a part of the fitness activities such as the Zumba dance session, play with pets at a mini pet fair or indulge in a book from the book exchange on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Different themes are set up in different areas to make the event a more meaningful:
Lebuh Pantai (eco-friendly zone): Healthy food sampling, car boot sales, recycling station, bicycle station for rent and street market (eco-friendly products and services).
Lebuh Bishop (sport zone): Street soccer, basketball, zumba, bootcamp, fit club and other sport activities.
Lebuh Gereja (cultural zone): Live music, street performance, historic building tours and street market.
Gat Lebuh Gereja (play zone): Children games stall, weekly events (e.g, inflatable, singing, drawing etc.), roller blade.
Opening hours: 7am-1pm
Address: Beach Street
Contact: 012 430 2251
Batu Ferringhi Night Market
Perfect for travellers looking for variety, the Batu Ferringhi Night Market is an extensive one, stretching up to one kilometre and providing shoppers with more than 100 stalls. They retail everything from clothes in batik prints or sporting in-style fads (like pyjamas with Frozen cartoon character stitches), to homeware items like decorative lacquer plates and embroidered pillow cases and even handcrafted, one-of-a-kind bejewelled accessories. Open from as early as 18:00 daily, one favourite stall here is operated by underground designers The Odd, who sell cool pop art of famous figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Taylor Swift and Johnny Depp. They also do artsy graphics on fictional DC and Marvel Comic characters such as Thor, Iron Man, Batman, The Joker and Star Wars’ Darth Vader.
Opening Hours: 18:00 – 24:00
Address: Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Penang
Lorong Kulit Flea Market
Lastly, the Lorong Kulit Flea Market holds a special, memorable and peculiar place in the hearts of Penangites – largely for its thoroughly quirky and eclectic collection of vendors. You will find everything here from second hand books and vinyl records, to old hunting knives and vintage kitchen trays. Operating on the weekends from 06:00 to 13:00, it is an entirely outdoor experience and when the weather is warm, it can get quite stifling under the shade of the colourful umbrellas. However, persevere in your explorations and you will find some pretty cool stuff – on our last visit, we purchased a couple of reasonably priced crystal and copper door handles and a vintage mini three-tiered wooden musical carousel.
Opening Hours: 06:00 – 13:00
Address: Lorong Kulit, Georgetown, 10460 Penang