If your top priorities are cleanliness and security, look no further. Ryokan’s Peranakan-style exteriors belie the crisp, contemporary feel inside (think cove lighting, bean bags, and no-frills bunk beds). Everything is spic-and-span, and you need a fob key to get in and out. Location is central, without the noise.
The only “party hostel” in town, this is the place to hit if you want to get tipsy with your new roomies. With two free drinks every night and an all-you-can-drink deal starting at 35 MYR (about 9 USD), it’s basically spring break every day. Good for younger travelers.
At the heart of Love Lane (pun? no?), this shophouse-turned-hostel offers comfy, clean beds in air-conditioned rooms for under 60 MYR (15 USD) a night. Breakfast is basic (toast and coffee), the sinks are old school (fat, flat slabs of concrete), and the walls peel a little (for the old “historic” vibe), but it’s a quirky treat nevertheless.
This budget house sits bravely at the fork of Penang Road and Chulia Street. Roomy, modern, and well-lit, SIOK (loosely translated as “exciting”) is next door to a famous nasi kandar place, Line Clear, and two streets away from colorful Little India. Watch the stars from the rooftop terrace, or play table football in the common lounge.
This charming place will make you feel like you’ve stepped back half a century. With an open courtyard, gossamer mosquito nets, and steep staircases without handrails, MoonTree is Peranakan brought forward into the 21st century. Rooms are clean and bright. Leafy plants and resident cats abound.
If you’re not fussy, this budget hostel will have fun decor and a great lounge area to make up for its less-than-super-clean rooms. Located on the fiercely busy Penang Road, you’ll be hard pressed to find a livelier place to stay.
If you want a good shower, House of Journey will give you the best (on this list). The rain-head system makes you feel like you’re standing under a waterfall, after which your face will be soft and supple as a baby’s bottom. Close to Little India and George Town’s glow-in-the-dark bar, Curacao.
With funky cafés, spirited bars, and lip-smacking street food, is it any wonder that Chulia Street is the go-to place for travelers? When you’re done partying it down, The Frame offers clean beds in a modern-minimalist setting, complete with pendant lights and marble countertops. If you need it, their laundry service is quick and cheap, too.