Little India In Penang

Little India in Penang – There’s a lot of energy and charm packed into this area of George Town! And it’s right in the middle of Penang’s heritage zone with Khoo Kongsi and Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion too!

Other than the glorious Indian food that you can have here, there are all sorts of shops to see! From sarees, prayer paraphernalia, gold, flowers, sweets and spices!

Experience a slice of India at this Penang tourist attraction!

Table Of Contents:

History Of Little India Georgetown Penang

Little India began in Chulia Street under the administration of Sir Francis Light, the founder of Penang.

Agricultural workers, spice traders and money lenders made up the majority of Indian immigrants here.

Colorful Street At Little India Penang
Colorful Street At Little India Penang – photo credits to chinatigerpg (Instagram)

The Indian community grew (with the addition of Punjabis, Malayalees, Telugus and Gujaratis) to include Queen Street, Penang Street and Market Street. Known as the Francis Light Grid!

Trishaws Going Down Little India Penang
Trishaws Going Down Little India Penang – photo credits to cyclopseven (Instagram)

For decades, merchants and traders plied their traditional trades like spices. Attracting Indian rubber plantation workers to stop by!

Today, some of these shops remain. Along with more recent enterprises!

Penang Little India Map

It’s possible to get around Little India on foot! There’s the option of hiring a trishaw too!

Little India Penang Opening Hours: Most stores open daily from 8am to 9:45pm

Little India Penang Restaurants

Expect to find authentic Indian cuisine and all of the classic Indian dishes like roti canai, naan, biryani, tandoori chicken, samosas and thosai!

These are usually served on a banana leaf and pair nicely with refreshing coconut juice!

Banana Leaf Rice At Penang Little India
Banana Leaf Rice At Penang Little India – photo credits to ramenkimono (Instagram)

Have a go at eating like a local – that means no utensils! If that’s not for you, you can always ask for cutlery!

Note: Many eateries in Little India Penang are vegetarian-friendly!

1. Thali-Nr Sweets Café

As the name implies, Thali-Nr Sweets Café serves a wide variety of Thali and Indian sweets!

Thali Set By Thali NR Sweets Cafe, Market Street In Little India Penang
Thali Set By Thali NR Sweets Cafe, Market Street In Little India Penang – photo credits to diptiv (Instagram)

On top of that, they serve banana leaf rice too in a modern café setting.

They have dishes from the a la carte menu that are free from onion, garlic or eggs!

Location: 75, Lebuh Penang, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +6012-462 0987

Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 10pm

2. Karaikudi Restaurant

Karaikudi Restaurant along Market Street serves North and South Indian food, as well as the Chettinadu cuisine. In a comfortable air-conditioned environment!

Palatable Indian Food By Karaikudi Restaurant In Penang Little India
Palatable Indian Food By Karaikudi Restaurant In Penang Little India – photo credits to chienhuey (Instagram)

Their list of signature dishes is long and includes mutton chukka varuval, prawn malai curry and masala thosai! Do ask for their special if it’s a weekend!

Location: No. 20, Lebuh Pasar, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-263 1345

Opening Hours: Daily from 11am to 11pm

3. Tea Kadai

Tea Kadai sells pre-packed imported traditional Indian tea, fresh cow’s milk and Indian Muslim snacks along with variations that are hard to find elsewhere!

The Front Of Tea Kadai In Penang Little India
The Front Of Tea Kadai In Penang Little India – photo credits to stevenrajz (Instagram)

There are indoor and outdoor (in the evening) seats in a pleasant modern ambiance.

Not a fan of tea? Their Kolkattai, Vada and Roti Bomb alone are worth coming in for! For snacks, they serve Bangwich and Pati Roll.

Location: 68, Lebuh Queen, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +6012-496 8938

Opening Hours: Daily from 1pm to 10:30pm except on Friday where they open from 3pm to 10:30pm

Read more: 17 Penang Cafes For A Well-Deserved Coffee Break

4. Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant

Known for their dosas like their rava masala dosa, you can come here for breakfast to take advantage of the earlier opening hours and extensive menu!

South Indian Food At Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant In Little India Penang
South Indian Food At Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant In Little India Penang – photo credits to carryoncarrot (Instagram)

Serving time can be more than 15 minutes per dish but the prices make up for that!

Other dishes worth trying are the Bendi Masala and palak paneer! Which pair wonderfully with their masala tea!

Location: 60, Lebuh Penang, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-263 9764

Opening Hours: Daily from 8:30am to 10pm

5. Bite N Eat Dindigul Biriyani

Food is pricy considering the area but they do have good service and air-conditioning!

The halal restaurant is very tourist-friendly with pictures of dishes from the mostly South Indian menu, making it easier to order!

Location: 43, Penang St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang

Contact: +604-261 4532

Opening Hours: Daily from 11am to 10:30pm

Read more: 19 Famous Penang Street Food To Try

Penang Little India Shops

Penang Little India is full of shops specializing in currency exchange, sarees, fabric, prayer paraphernalia, flowers and gold!

1. Umayal Textiles Sdn. Bhd.

Those on the hunt for suitable saree fabric may find what they’re looking for at this textile shop!

Umayal Textiles At Penang
Umayal Textiles At Penang – photo from their Facebook

The prices are not cheap but the quality and variety of fabric are more than satisfactory!

In case you need to repair or customize something, you can seek out their tailoring service too!

Location: 10, Market St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-250 9920

Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 9pm, except on Sundays when they open from 10am to 9pm

2. Vkn Sivasamy & Sons Sdn. Bhd.

A clothing store for ready-made Indian costumes for men, women and children! The staff is only too happy to help you find a suitable outfit!

Colorful Textiles Seen At Vkn Sivasamy & Sons Clothing Store At Penang
Colorful Textiles Seen At Vkn Sivasamy & Sons Clothing Store At Penang – photo from their Facebook

They do have saree material for sale as well! For reasonable prices and quality!

Location: 55, Market Street, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-263 4877

Opening Hours: Daily from 10am to 10pm

Read more: 11 Best Night Market In Penang – Monday To Sunday (Especially #5)

Attractions Near To Little India In Penang

When you’re done having a look around Little India Penang, why not check out these other Penang attractions?

Or you can see these first!

1. Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Over 2 centuries old, the esteemed temple is still an active place of worship with daily prayers at 7.30am and 6.30pm!

It is open to visitors twice a day (6.30am to 12pm and again from 4.30pm to 9pm).

Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Penang
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Penang – photo credits to i_am_yumi.h (Instagram)

Inside are statues of Hindu deities, Lord Subramiam, Durga and Ganapathy. See the masterful architecture by South Indian artists all around the temple too!

Note: The back entrance is at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (or Pitt Street), between Lebuh Pasar and Lebuh Chulia

Location: Lebuh Queen, George Town, 10450 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-264 3494

Distance From Little India: 2 minutes’ walk

2. Penang Peranakan Mansion

Penang Peranakan Mansion is the starting point for learning more about the rich Baba and Nyonya culture in Penang!

Penang Peranakan Museum
Penang Peranakan Museum – photo credits to aishahfarhanah_ (Instagram)

The opulent home is a well-preserved collection of the past, 100 years ago!

There are daily enriching tours at this museum for groups of 5 and above! You can spend 2 hours here with ease!

Location: 29, Church St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang

Contact: +604-264 2929

Opening Hours: Daily from 9:30am to 5pm

Distance From Little India: 4 minutes’ walk

3. Clan Jetties Of Penang

Still home to many Chinese families, these intriguing 19th century clan piers are not just adequate for a sea-side stroll with views of Penang!

Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥)
Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥) – photo credits to 07071124ried (Instagram)

Visitors can observe their way of life!

Note: Just respect their privacy and avoid taking photos inside the homes!

Most of the jetties are calm places with their own little temples at the end of the piers.

While Chew Jetty has taken on a more touristy look with market stalls and colorful walls!

Location: Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +6019-593 5333

Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 9pm

Distance From Little India: 8-10 minutes’ walk

Read more: 13 Best Things To Do In Georgetown Penang

4. Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi

Another impressive mark left behind from the Chinese clan community in 19th century Penang:

Khoo Kongsi is the stateliest of all clan houses in Malaysia, with its own square/ courtyard!

Khoo Kongsi Clan House And Temple
Khoo Kongsi Clan House And Temple – photo credits to lindacurley (Instagram)

Other than to admire the clan house up close and from the inside, visitors can better understand the strategic location of the clan house!

Location: 18, Cannon Square, George Town, 10450 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-261 4609

Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 5pm

Distance From Little India: 7-9 minutes’ walk

Read more: 13 Best Penang Souvenirs – What To Buy In Penang

5. Goddess Of Mercy Temple Penang (Kuan Yin Temple)

From its location close to the sea, it makes sense that Penang’s oldest Taoist temple (Dating back to 1728) was dedicated to a sea deity.

Goddess Of Mercy Temple (Kuan Yin Temple)
Goddess Of Mercy Temple (Kuan Yin Temple) – photo credits to food_ian0903 (Instagram)

Although today, the Taoist Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin is the main deity here. After the temple’s renovation in 1824.

Hence, locals frequently refer to this temple as Kuan Yin Teng.

Note: The temple is very lively on the 1st and 15th day of every lunar month. And during Chinese New Year and the Guan Yin’s birthday, of course!

Location: 30, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-261 4137

Distance From Little India: 2-3 minutes’ walk

6. Fort Cornwallis

Did you know that this was where Francis Light (founder of Penang) first came ashore in 1786?

Regal Statue Of Francis Light In The Fort Cornwallis Compound
Regal Statue Of Francis Light In The Fort Cornwallis Compound – photo credits to uwais_xiii (Instagram)

With views of the sea, it was an ideal site for a defense post against pirates and other invaders!

A flagstaff, lighthouse and part of the wall still remain along with some cannons and store rooms! The compound looks quite different after dark too!

Note: Currently going through renovation works!

Location: Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-263 9855

Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 10pm

Distance From Little India: 8-9 minutes’ walk

Read more: Love Lane Penang: What To Love About This Popular Street In George Town

Hotels In Little India Penang

Staying close to Little India is convenient with lots of vegetarian food available and George Town attractions at walking distance!

1. East Indies Mansion

East Indies Mansion is a boutique hotel that resembles a traditional Chinese shop house. Complete with a scenic courtyard and wooden furniture!

East Indies Mansion At Little India In Penang
East Indies Mansion At Little India In Penang – photo credits to booking.com

What you’ll like:

  • Stellar location
  • Friendly staff
  • Charming atmosphere
  • Baby-friendly
  • Fast WiFi

Good to know:

  • Laundry services are available
  • Tea time session at 4pm every day to meet other guests

Location: 25, Lebuh China, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-261 8025

Price Range: ~ RM252 – RM469

2. Ren I Tang Heritage Inn

Simple but quaint rooms beckon guests at this boutique hotel in a restored building with ample use of timber!

Ren I Tang Heritage Inn At Little India In Penang
Ren I Tang Heritage Inn At Little India In Penang – photo credits to booking.com

What you’ll like:

  • Efficient service
  • Comfortable beds
  • Large bathrooms
  • In the middle of Little India
  • Yummy breakfasts
  • Good WiFi

Good to know:

  • On-site café open for lunch and dinner
  • Inconvenient if you have a car
  • Hotel supports environmental sustainability

Location: 82 A, Lebuh Penang, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-250 8383

Price Range: ~ RM198 – RM432

3. Palm Mansion Boutique Suites

It feels like Bali at this boutique hotel in Little India with rustic décor and generous foliage around!

Palm Mansion Boutique Suites At Little India In Penang
Palm Mansion Boutique Suites At Little India In Penang – photo credits to booking.com

What you’ll like:

  • Beautiful space
  • Attentive manager and housekeeping
  • Clean rooms

Good to know:

  • Light sleepers should bring ear plugs
  • Airport shuttle service is available for additional charge

Location: 76-88, China Street, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-261 3609

Price Range: ~ RM268 (3pax)

4. Armenian House

Budget-friendly Armenian House has small, basic but comfortable rooms within a well-maintained restored shop house.

Armenian House At Little India In Penang
Armenian House At Little India In Penang – photo credits to booking.com

Guests have to share toilet and shower facilities.

What you’ll like:

  • Free bicycle rental
  • Free WiFi
  • Helpful housekeeping staff

Good to know:

  • Airport shuttle and massage services may be requested
  • You can refill your drinking water from fountains outside the rooms

Location: 35, Lebuh Armenian, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +604-262 8309

Price Range: ~ RM85 – RM188

5. The Boutique Residence Hotel

After a hot day of walking around Little India Penang and George Town, you can take a dip at the indoor pool as a guest of The Boutique Residence Hotel!

The Boutique Residence Hotel At Little India In Penang
The Boutique Residence Hotel At Little India In Penang – photo credits to booking.com
Note: Pool is quite shallow

What you’ll like:

  • They provide high quality toiletries
  • Modern furnishings
  • Clean and airy rooms
  • Good WiFi
  • Pleasant breakfast
  • Helpful reception

Good to know:

  • The loft room comes with a delightful bathroom
  • Electric kettle provided in the room
  • If you’re not used to it, the 5am mosque prayers next door can be a bother!

Location: No.133, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town, 10400 George Town, Penang Island

Contact: +6017-556 7619

Price Range: ~ RM234 – RM646

Read more:

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Further reading:


Conclusion

Colorful Little India of Penang is a brilliant addition to any George Town itinerary! Highlights include flavorful and authentic Indian cuisine and the traditional shops!

The best time to visit this area of Penang may be before or during Indian festivals like Deepavali and Thaipusam!

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