Timothy Tye
Campbell Street

Campbell Street, at its intersection with Cintra Street (left) (20 May, 2012)

Campbell Street, or Lebuh Campbell, is a street within the buffer zone of the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site. A one-way street, it runs from Penang Road to the junction of Buckingham Street and Carnarvon Street. In between, it forms junctions with Kuala Kangsar Road, Cintra Street and Rope Walk.

Campbell Street was named after the Penang Inspector General (1866-1891) Sir George William Robert Campbell, who was also the acting Lieutenant-Governor of Penang between 1872 and 1873. As such, the street was named after a different person from Campbell Road (nowadays known as Jalan Dang Wangi) in Kuala Lumpur or Campbell Lane in Singapore. Campbell Street extends from Buckingham Street, which is older. No wonder the locals called it Sin3 Kay1, meaning "new street".

During the third quarter of the 19th century and into the 20th century, it was a red-light district, lined with brothels that advertise themselves by hanging red lanterns at their doors. The term "sin kay" acquired a whole new meaning, as a pun to mean "fresh hookers", in reference to the newly arrived prostitutes, many of whom are Cantonese. The Malays called Campbell Street Jalan Makau, in reference to Macau, in reference to the port city from which Cantonese laborers and prostitutes arrive.

In the mid 20th century, Campbell Street had become the most important shopping street for the locals. It is the place to shop for clothes, watches and shoes. The business began to decline by the mid 70's. Today most of the retail outlets have been taken over by wholesalers. The eastern end of Campbell Street, between Rope Walk and Carnarvon Street, was the centre of the Chinese jewellery business, with jewellery shops lining both sides of the street.

Map of Campbell Street

Hotels along Campbell Street

  1. Campbell House (GPS: 5.418203, 100.333581)

Sights along Campbell Street

  1. Campbell Street Market (GPS: 5.41693, 100.33566)
  2. Medan Lebuh Campbell Arch (GPS: 5.41896, 100.33174)
  3. Nazlina Spice Station (GPS: 5.41713, 100.3358)

Eateries on Campbell Street

  1. Hameediyah Restaurant (GPS: 5.4186, 100.33263)
  2. Kedai Makanan Yee Heong (GPS: 5.41721, 100.33556)
  3. Restoran Tho Yuen (GPS: 5.41802, 100.33386)
  4. Secret Coffee Bear (GPS: 5.41719, 100.33565)
  5. Toh Soon Cafe (GPS: xxzz)

Street Art on Campbell Street

  1. "Retail Paradise" Sculpture (GPS: 5.41757, 100.33433)

Businesses along Campbell Street

  1. Aiksin Enterprise (souvenirs)
  2. Angel Tours
  3. Asia Batik
  4. Bee Bee Fashion
  5. Belfort Furnishing (curtains and blinds)
  6. Bistania Fashion Accessories
  7. Campbell Pharmacy
  8. Cheng Woh Medical Hall
  9. Cheong Loong Goldsmiths (jeweller)
  10. Cheong Yoon (jeweller)
  11. De Young Fashion
  12. Dongfah Sdn Bhd
  13. D Myth Jewelry
  14. Elegance carpet Trading
  15. Eng Lee Shoe Company
  16. F.A. Karim Cloth House
  17. Guo Qiang Sdn Bhd (accessories)
  18. Hin Company
  19. Huang Chen Hao Tea Art (tea merchant)
  20. Hup Wat Sdn Bhd (wholesaler)
  21. Izuhan Pharmacy
  22. Jerry Venture (clothes wholesaler)
  23. Jing Tian Wholesalers Sdn Bhd
  24. Jing Yu Tong Industries Sdn Bhd (tea merchant)
  25. Joo Wah Shoe Merchant
  26. Kalamay Holding (clothing wholesaler)
  27. Kean Hin Shoes
  28. Kedai Beg Tong Chai Tong (bags)
  29. Kedai Emas Sungai Emas (jeweller)
  30. Kedai Ubat Sheng Li Herbal
  31. Khing Wah Electrical Sdn Bhd
  32. Khong Seng Medical Hall
  33. Kim How Gold & Jewellery (jeweller)
  34. Kok Eng Fashion Trading (made-to-order t-shirts)
  35. Konsen Hardware
  36. Kwong Tuck Sundries & Liquors
  37. Lai Yuen / Lai Wah (jeweller)
  38. Lee Sang Tong Medical hall (non operational)
  39. Li Hong Giap Garment Sdn Bhd
  40. Lian Aik Sheung Tim (accessories)
  41. Lin Lin Qi Fashion House
  42. Lucky Curtain Design
  43. Nam Loong (jeweller)
  44. Poh Aun Tong Medical Hall
  45. Qmaxco Trading (clothing wholesaler)
  46. Sam Heng Goldsmith
  47. Sang Yuen Sdn Bhd (goldsmith)
  48. Senjia Enterprise
  49. Sin Teong Heng Maslino Vinyl Flooring
  50. Sing Hung Yee Fashion Wholesale
  51. Sky Bluecaps Enterprise
  52. Sky Galaxy (clothes wholesaler)
  53. Sun Cheong Co. Sdn. Bhd.
  54. Sungai Emas Jewellery & Gold Centre
  55. Syarikat Sinah
  56. Tsien Heng Goldsmith
  57. Tai On Tong Medical Hall
  58. Ten Ren Trading (tea merchant)
  59. United Compete Flooring
  60. Veng Tatt Soon Enterprise (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
  61. VM Marketing (spectacle wholesaler)
  62. Wing Hing Co. Sdn. Bhd.
  63. X-treme Collection
  64. Yishion Fashion Wholesale

Clinics on Campbell Street

Campbell Street was once the main shopping precinct of Penang (30 August, 2012)

Medan Lebuh Campbell

Medan Lebuh Campbell is the RM2.3 million pedestrian walkway built by the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP), as part of the effort to bring life into Campbell Street. It was opened on July 1999, and was not entirely successful, as it had introduced street concepts such as benches, without regard to the impracticality of the climate. To bring life into the street, it should ideally shelter the street, as is done in Singapore (Clarke Quay, Chinatown, Far East Square, Bugis Street, to name a few places) and air-condition the sheltered area. As such, Medan Lebuh Campbell succeed in creating a bottle neck for Campbell Street.

Campbell Street (24 November 2008)

Major Junctions on Campbell Street

Penang Road Junction

Cintra Street Junction

Rope Walk Junction

Carnarvon Street Junction

Campbell Street in Penang Hokkien

Learn to read at Penang Hokkien Made Easy
Look up words in the Penang Hokkien Dictionary

Updates on Campbell Street

2 August, 2014: StarMetro, The Star reports that the Municipal Council of Penang Island (MPPP) is considering widening Campbell Street. Councillor in charged of Infrastructre and Traffic, Dr Tan Kim Hooi, said that details are being finalized. The Council is also considering a proposal from Rapid Penang to run a bus route through Campbell Street, providing a link between Penang Road and Pitt Street.

Lebuh Campbell road sign (24 November 2008)

In Other Words ...

Campbell Street is called Sin3 Kay3, meaning "new street", in Hokkien.

Getting there

The nearest bus stop to go to Campbell Street is at Penang Road. You can take Rapid Penang Free Shuttle Bus to Station No. 8 (Lebuh Campbell) and walking a short distance from Penang Road to Campbell Street. Rapid Penang buses 10, 11, 101, 103, 104, 201, 202, 203, 204, 206, 301 and 302 also stop at the bus stop along Penang Road.

Campbell Street plaque (24 November 2008)

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