Chowrasta Market, George Town, Penang
(30 August, 2012)
or Pasar Chowrasta
(GPS: 5.41812, 100.33143) is one of the two community markets in inner George Town. The name comes from Hindi and Urdu "Chowk" meaning "market street" (The word "Chowk" is still found in many cities in India where markets are held).
How to go to Chowrasta Market
From the Weld Quay Ferry & Bus Terminal
, take Rapid Penang Bus
Nos. 10, 11, 101
, 204 and 206 to the bus stop in front of Chowrasta Market. You can also take the Penang Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist Bus
to go there.
About Chowrasta Market
Chowrasta Market is the usual watering hole for the local community, and it is usually positioned where major roads meet. In the case of Chowrasta Market, it is bordered by Penang Road
, Chowrasta Road
, Kuala Kangsar Road
and Tamil Street
Chowrasta Market, Penang Road
(1 September 2008)
History of Chowrasta Market
The area around Chowrasta Market has been a settlement for Tamils from Kadayanallur in southern India (in present-day Tamil Nadu), since the mid 19th century. In fact, the entire stretch of George Town from Market Street
through Chulia Street ending at present-day Penang Road
and Transfer Road
was an expansive Indian settlement that dwindled in size over time, to only Little India as well as various other pockets in the city.
In the 1870s and particularly 1880s, a massive influx of Chinese immigrants replaced the Indians in places such as Campbell Street, Kimberley Street
and Cintra Street
. Even the originally Indian Chulia Street saw a makeover as many Cantonese and Hakka moved in.
For that reason, it was known as "Kelinga Ban San" in Hokkien, meaning "South Indian Market." To this day, there are still shops along Lebuh Tamil
that are run by the Tamil community of Chowrasta Market.
The first permanent market building was erected by the Commissioners of the Municipality of George Town - precursor of the Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang, MPPP - in the year 1890, at the cost of $16,471. The structure, which is single storey tall, remained unchanged until 1960. In some old photographs, you can see the front facade with the date 1920 on it. This refers to the extension on the Penang Road
side which was put up in that year.
In 1961, the old market was demolished to make way for the new structure, built at a cost of $1,310,000, and is still standing to this day. When it was completed, it was one of the first buildings in Penang to be fitted with escalators, which brings wide-eyed users straight to the wet market level. There were also four service lifts. Both of these have since been dismantled.
Chowrasta Market, Chowrasta Road
(16 July 2008)
Today, most of the market activities spill out onto Jalan Kuala Kangsar, Jalan Chowrasta, and Lebuh Tamil. A visit to the temple will show that the demographics of Penang has evolved since the 19th century, that now the majority of the sellers and patrons are not South Indians, but rather Chinese.
Chowrasta Market is probably the most popular spot to get local titbits such as preserved nutmeg, tau3 sah3 pneah1 and other similar items. These used to be de rigueur
on the shopping list of anybody, particularly ladies from other states, or their local counterparts before making a visit to their friends of other states. The stalls are still operating today, as before.
Penang local titbits at Chowrasta Market
(16 July, 2008)
Updates on Chowrasta Market
24 March, 2015
Chowrasta Market, new side view, phase 1
(24 March, 2015)
Renovated back portion
(24 March, 2015)
Renovated wet market
(24 March, 2015)
7 August 2012
: According to MPPP President, Dato' Patahiyah, upgrading works on Chowrasta Market will start in early 2013.
31 July 2012
: Stakeholders and the general public were invited to view the proposed upgrading and facelift for Chowrasta Market. The urban market survey report by ThinkCity for the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) was posted on the wall on the first floor of the market.
23 June 2011
: The Penang Island Municipal Countil called for a focus group discussion for the Urban Market Survey and Market Plan which they commission from Badan Warisan Malaysia. The presentation was held at MPPP in Komtar. During that presentation, I urged the authorities even as they work to upgrade Chowrasta Market, to put in an effort to preserve its history.
I expressed that Chowrasta Market is not like any other market in the country. Its history is longer than that of many Malaysian towns and cities. The market site has also witnessed an urban morphology of a city neighbourhood that was predominantly Indian during the 19th century to one that is almost homogenously Chinese in the 21st century.
Street market along Kuala Kangsar Road
(16 July 2008)
The wall of Chowrasta Market facing Kuala Kangsar Road
has a steel-rod sculpture entitled "Labourer to Trader"
based on caricature by Tang Mun Kian.
Market along Tamil Street
(16 July 2008)
- Sri Kunj Bihari Temple
- Keramat Dato Koyah
- Masjid Titi Papan
- Loke Thye Kee (dilapidated)
- Prangin Mall
Chowrasta Market is on the map of Penang Road
Traveling somewhere? Get your hotel room at Agoda!
Latest Pages & Updates on this website
Have GPS Will Travel
Find out how having a GPS Navigator device will help you explore more precisely, without requiring an Internet connection, anywhere in Malaysia!Read About It !
Shop for a GPS !
Your Made-In-Penang guide to visit, discover and enjoy Malaysia and Singapore!
My mission with this website is to provide you the most detailed information of the places I've research, many accompanied with my own photographs. It's information I hope you'd find useful. It's not just about Penang
, but about other cities too, including Kuala Lumpur
, Johor Bahru
, Alor Setar
, Sungai Petani
and more. I have also written about major tourist destinations such as Langkawi
and Cameron Highlands
, as well as smaller destinations such as Kuala Sepetang
. So are all the states in Malaysia - Johor
, Negeri Sembilan
. And also Singapore
Visiting Penang? Consider a "Friend of Penang Travel Tips" hotel !
The Friends of Penang Travel Tips Hotels
are hotels that maintain a close working relationship with this website. So, I know these hotels better than the rest in Penang. If you're looking for a hotel room in Penang, you do well to consider them.
Mainstream Hotels with 100 guestrooms and above: Cititel Express
, Cititel Hotel Penang
, Copthorne Orchid Hotel
, Hotel Equatorial Penang
, Olive Tree Hotel
, Parkroyal Penang Resort
, Sunway Hotel Georgetown
and The Wembley
Small Hotels with less than 100 guestrooms: Le Dream Boutique Hotel
, Spices Boutique Residence
, Sweet Cili Hotel
My name is Timothy Tye
and Penang Travel Tips is my website - yay! I created this website to satisfy my own curiosity about the world around me, but I'm glad the information I've assembled can be helpful to others. As a Christian, my hope is that through this website, the sunshine of God's Good News
can beam into every corner of the world and connect with every living soul needing it. To get in touch with me, complete the contact form right here
. Thanks for visiting!
Social Media Presence
To interact with me, LIKE my Penang Travel Tips FB Page
and Places To Go FB Page
, and join any/all of my Facebook Pages and Groups including Penang Travel Tips FB Group
, Exploring Malaysia
, Big World Out There
, My Little Bookshelf
, Learn Penang Hokkien
, Penang Street Art
, Penang Hawker Food
, Penang Restaurant Food
, Masa Masak
, Penang Residential Properties
and Armchair Traveler
Even more sights to discover on Penang Travel Tips!
I try my best to provide you the latest and most accurate information. However, please bear in mind that details change all the time, often before I have the chance to update them. Therefore, I would always encourage you to phone in and re-verify the information. I do apologize if the information I provide to you turns out to be inaccurate or outdated, and I would be most grateful if you would could help to update me
should you discover the right information. Your feedback helps other users.
Using the information and photos on this website
You are allowed to print out any page of this website to carry with you on your travels, for your own personal use
. You may reference and link to any page of this website from your blog/website without seeking my permission. You are NOT ALLOWED to copy and paste, word-for-word, the information of this website into your own blog or website. Photos belonging to me (those captioned © Timothy Tye) may only be used with my permission. Photos belonging to other people bear licenses that have to be observed accordingly. Contact me
to seek permission or to ask a question.
Copyright © 2003-2016 Timothy Tye
. All Rights Reserved.