Where to Find Street Art In Penang: 24 Murals, Map + Tour!

George Town street art Penang

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Wondering where to find Penang street art? This self-guided walking tour will help you find the best urban murals in George Town!

I started my Malaysia travels by finding street art in Ipoh which was perhaps a strange move: George Town, on the island of Penang, is Malaysia’s street art hub.

Penang’s street art history began when Ernest Zacharevic first completed his works of art for George Town Festival in 2012. ‘Zach’ is a Lithuanian artist who uses oil painting, stencil and spray – alongside his training in fine art – to create urban murals often with interactive elements.

Since then, works by other artists have sprung up, and Zacharevic has completed pieces around the world.

Although there are countless other, more historical things to do in Penang, I have to confess the murals were part of the reason I was so excited to visit.

penang street art mural
Street food and street art in Penang

PENANG ESSENTIALS

E-sim data plan

Copy of Lonely Planet Malaysia

Getting there: flight, bus, train (12GoAsia)

Pre-book your Penang airport to city transfer

Accommodation: Browse hotels on Booking.com // hostels on Hostelworld

Tours: GetYourGuide / Viator

Travel insurance: World Nomads

Read next: complete Malaysia itinerary

Penang street art map

penang street art map

Click this map to see the interactive version.

A patriotic mural

Where to find street art in George Town, Penang

There are more pieces than I managed to find during my stay of three weeks but here are the bits I did discover. Some are by Ernest Zacharevic while others are by other talented artists, local and international…

Note – I’ve ordered this list so each mural is a 2-3-minute walk from the next one. You can follow it exactly!

‘Brother and Sister on a Swing’, Step By Step Lane (2012)

Children on a swing
The cutest mural in George Town Penang

Let’s start with a piece of George Town street art that’s very famous yet slightly hidden. It’s located halfway between the waterfront and town, and the fact it’s technically in neither saves it from annoying queues.

Apparently, Step by Step Lane was a nameless alley until this piece of art put it on the map.

The interactive Brother and Sister on a Swing was created by artist Louis Gan, a deaf-mute, self-taught artist. He enjoys watercolour, acrylic and of course, wall murals.

Unlike some murals with complex meanings, this piece celebrates sibling relationships. Cute!

Location: 63 Gat Lebuh Chulia.

‘Old Soy Milk Stall’, Step by Step Lane

Soy milk mural george town penang

Right beside the brother and sister on a swing, you’ll find this sweet mural of an old woman handing out bowls of soy milk from a food cart.

It was created as a collaboration by St. Xavier’s Institution, Homesoy and Vilmedia… In other words a school, a soy milk company and an advertising company. An ad but a pretty one!

Location: 63 Gat Lebuh Chulia.

Next, take a short walk to Armenian Street for more street art in Penang.

‘Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat’, Armenian Street

Fortune Cat

Here’s a heartwarming story: the street artists of Penang came together for the 101 Lost Kittens project, an initiative for rehoming stray animals. This piece is one of 12 cat-themed wall murals around George Town.

It’s a memorable one for me because I photographed it in 2016 before travel blogging became my major hobby, then profession. Coming back several years later and snapping it for this guide felt strangely poignant!

Location: 28, Gat Lebuh Armenian.

‘Skippy Comes to Penang’, Armenian Street

cat mural

This next cat mural in Penang was also created for the 101 Lost Kittens project. It’s faded now so who knows what condition it’ll be in when you visit.

I hear that the real Skippy the Cat has passed away so perhaps it’s only appropriate it isn’t repainted.

Like the others, it was completed by Artists for Stay Animals (ASA), a team made up two artists, one Malaysian and one Thai.

Location: Armenian Street Ghaut.

I Want Bao, Armenian Street (2014)

I want bao

Created by Penang street artist, WK Setor, this mural shows two kids reaching for bao buns. Like the soy milk piece, it’s a clever piece of advertising commissioned by Ming Xiang Tai Pastry Shop beside it.

It certainly made me want bao… Although it’s not exactly difficult to coerce me into eating Penang street food 😉

Location: 28, Gat Lebuh Armenian.

‘Little Children on a Bicycle’, Armenian Street (2012)

Children on a bike street art Penang

Enter Ernest Zacharevic! This piece of Penang street art on Armenian Street is one of his most famous, completed in 2012 for the George Town Festival. I had to wait in a lengthy queue to snap this photo so be warned! Visiting on a weekday is advised.

Apparently these cute kids are modelled on real children who were at an event with their parents when they began playing with Zacharevic’s bicycle. He was inspired and the rest is history!

Location: 2, Lebuh Armenian.

‘The Three Girls’, Armenian Street (2013)

Three Girls

I’m not sure you can tell from this photo but this mural is tiny. It’s pretty nonetheless and can be found on Lebuh Armenian as you wander between the other pieces on this street.

Location: 78, Lebuh Armenian.

Almost beside this Penang mural is…

Teach You Hokkien, Lorong Soo Hong (2014)

Teach You Hokkien wall art penang malaysia

This huge purple wall mural is over 2 metres tall, created by street artists, Jim Oo Chun Hee and John Cheng. The young boy is shouting that he can teach you Hokkien, a dialect spoken among Malaysia’s Chinese community, alongside Mandarin and other dialects such as Cantonese and Hakka.

I’m told that the letters have now been removed from the speech bubble. The image remains, so perhaps the bubble will be updated with a new message sometime soon…

Location: 30, Lorong Soo Hong.

Next, a 1-minute walk…

Reaching Up / Boy on a Chair, Cannon Street (2012)

Child reaching up mural

This piece is another piece of Ernest Zacharevic street art in Penang. It’s an original, painted in 2012 but there’s a rumour it received a touch-up in 2016. It suddenly appeared brighter and more defined one day so it’s likely that Zach returned to nurture his work.

It’s another popular one so you probably won’t have it to yourself. On the plus side, having other people around is a good way for solo travellers to get in their own photos!

Location: 14 Lebuh Cannon.

‘The Window Cat’, Cannon Street

Cat in window

Another piece of street art for cat lovers visiting George Town! You can combine a trip to the Window Cat with the Reaching Up piece above as they’re just a couple of metres apart.

Location: 12-2 Lebuh Cannon (in an alley across from the Reaching Up art).

Now, walk 3 minutes to…

‘Boy on a Motorbike’, Lebuh Ah Quee (2012)

Boy on motorbike

Does this art look familiar yet? If its interactive style doesn’t ring any bells, the queues probably will. Yup, Boy on a Motorbike is another Ernest Zacharevic creation.

It’s been here since 2012 and its number of visitors grows each year.

Location: 12, Lebuh Ah Quee.

Roti Seller

Roti seller street art georgetown penang

What’s this, more food-related street art in George Town Penang? You bet!

This piece is located in Little India. Unlike bao buns which came to Malaysia with Chinese settlers, roti is eaten by the Indian community who arrived in Malaysia during British colonial rule, now making up around 7% of the population.

Location: I can’t remember the exact address but snoop around Little India (near Lebuh Ah Quee) and see if you can find him.

Genius Parking Murals (2014)

old lady mural

These George Town murals weren’t on my radar until I strolled past them and stopped for a photo. The old lady is entitled Symbiotic Mural and was painted by Karl Addison, a self-taught American artist with murals around the world.

It was commissioned for the Urban Xchange project in 2014 shortly after Ernest Zacharevic’s original pieces bought fame to the city. It was the first initiative that saw artists from around the world create vibrant murals, securing Penang’s reputation as a global street art destination.

Chinese Dragon (2013)

Lion mural penang

I was lucky enough to experience Chinese New Year in Penang back in 2016 during my very first visit to Malaysia. Aside from noodle throwing and seeing Kek Lok Si Temple illuminated at night, the highlight was catching a vibrant dragon dance.

The ‘lion dance’ is a similar performance where actors in costumes mimic the movement of a lion. Such dances began in China but can be seen in other countries with a Chinese diaspora such as Malaysia and Thailand.

This mural art in George Town is tied to its destination and tells us a story about local culture.

Location: I forgot to note down the address of this one… So keep your eyes peeled!

‘The Indian Boatman’, Lorong Stewart (2014)

Indian boatman

In a back street a little out of town (on the corner of Lorong Stewart and Klang Street), this piece of street art in Penang was completed by Julia Volchkova, a Russian artist known for her flair in creating human expression.

Location: 75, Lorong Stewart.

‘Little Girl in Blue’, Muntri Street (2012)

Girl in blue

Beside the Indian Boatman and Ta Kam Hong temple is a lesser-known piece of Ernest Zacharevic street art. It’s a giant mural that’s hard to see properly from ground level. The girl seems unkempt with hair hanging around her eyes – a little spooky!

Location: 13 Muntri St.

Next, on to Chulia Street…

Girl On a Turtle, Chulia Street (2015)

girl on turtle street art penang

This quirky mural in George Town is a collaboration between Ernest Zacharevic and Argentinian artist, Martin Ron. The combination of his fantasy style and Zacharevic’s realistic human approach is quite unique.

Location: 356 Chulia Street.

Woman with tree hair, Chulia Street (2014)

woman with tree hair

This second piece for the Urban Xchange project was created by Vexta, an Australian muralist and one of the very few women involved in the Penang street art scene. Hoorah!

Although I don’t know the meaning, it depicts a woman connected to nature via her flowing tree-like hair.

Location: 407, Chulia Street beside Ng Fook Thong Temple.

Tiger mural, Chulia Street

tiger mural

Walk a few steps from the Woman With Tree Hair to find this expressive tiger painting. It’s located right beside famous party hostel, Tipsy Tiger, presumably as an advert for them.

‘The Awaiting Trishaw Pedaler’, Jalan Penang (2012)

Trishaw Pedaler Mural art in penang

This final piece of Ernest Zacharevic street art in Penang can be found on Jalan, not far from Chulia Street. It’s displayed on a corner where lots of trishaw drivers hang around offering rides, capturing the nature of the area.

It’s a little faded and damaged. Perhaps Zacharevic will be back to tidy it up!

Location: Jalan Penang (I can’t find the street number but follow the link to the exact location).

Love on Bicycle, Keng Kwee

love on a bike art

Not far from the Trishaw Pedaler, you can see a grown-up couple enjoying a bicycle ride just as much as the famous Children on a Bicycle we saw earlier. It’s a painting of a bike rather than a real one so I suspect this simple mural doesn’t attract quite the same amount of snap-happy tourists.

Location: 3, Lebuh Keng Kwee.

Forest Girl, Jalan Bawasah

Mural Jalan Bawasah

Unlike the more famous pieces of street art in George Town, this final mural is slightly further out on a residential street. It’s by American artist, Elle.

Location: It’s on Jalan Bawasah but I can’t find the exact location pinned. You may find it when visiting Secawon Hutton nearby, one of my favourite coffee shops in Penang.

Street art venues

These venues aren’t technically on the street but they have a connection to wall murals in George Town, Penang.

Murals at Hin Bus Depot

Don’t miss the chance to shop, eat and spot murals at Hin Bus Depot. This cultural centre comes alive with events and markets. There are a couple of cafes and food trucks on site.

As a hipster venue inside a refurbished building (the old bus depot, as the name suggests), it’s practically crying out for urban art!

Murals in Penang cafes

Coffee lovers can escape the midday heat by cooling down in a cafe and spotting even more murals in Penang.

Alas, the mural of a young Lee Kuan Yen can no longer be seen as Coffee Addict has now closed down. But never fear: you can still see a coffee-themed mural in Secawan Hutton and a Frida Kahlo mural inside China House (stay for the salted caramel cheesecake!).

frida mural george town street art
On holiday from Mexico

More Penang blogs:

Kuala Lumpur posts:

Melaka posts:

Ipoh posts:

Southeast Asia travel planning:

Thanks for reading!

See you next time for more adventures,

Rose

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penang street art

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Stay connected with E-sim data plans that don’t require delivery or collection; just span the QR code.

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I use Booking.com for accommodation. They have the best range of hotels and self-catering apartments, plus you can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.

To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.

For activities, I use GetYourGuide and Viator as they both have a huge range of affordable tours.

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