Penang is the western island state of Malaysia and home to a number of cool attractions. But the one that overshadows everything is Georgetown, a mash of street art, repurposed shophouses, boutiques and food, glorious food!

But elsewhere on this island, you’ll find stunning botanical gardens, beautiful beaches and places where you can actually watch baby sea turtles being born. It’s truly an amazing place.

However, where do you stay? Is it best to base yourself in Georgetown? Or should you go for somewhere more outta town?

Well, we got you. We’ve sorted through all the best hostels in Penang to bring you this handy list that makes life easier when trying to decide on a hostel that’s right for you.

Are you ready to see all the cool hostels in Penang? Ok, let’s go!

Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Penang

Best Hostels in Penang

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

Best Hostels in Penang

Penang is a rather sizable area with a lot of cool places to stay spread across its neighborhoods, towns, and cities. Choosing the right hostel is both a matter of finding the right vibe but also the right location. Luckily, there are heaps of awesome options!

House of Journey – Best Overall Hostel in Penang

House of Journey best hostels in Penang
House of Journey is our pick for best overall hostel in Penang

This cutely named place is easily the best overall hostel in Penang. With chic interior design splashed all over an 1850s heritage building and close to the popular Love Lane, this top hostel in Penang couldn’t be better situated in Georgetown.

Featuring loads of lovely houseplants, wooden floors, polished concrete, things like that, it’s also got a great atmosphere and is a pretty decent place for meeting new people. We also can’t fault the staff who are super friendly and helpful. What more do you want?

The Frame Guesthouse – Best Hostel with a Private Room in Penang

The Frame Guesthouse best hostels in Penang
The Frame Guesthouse is our pick for best hostel with a private room in Penang

The Frame Guesthouse is one of the coolest hostels in Penang. It’s super minimalist, ultra design heavy. You’re seriously gonna wanna do some photoshoots here. Your Insta will seriously be poppin’.

We seriously want to move into this place, let alone stay there. So as you can tell it’s our top pick for the best hostel with a private room in Penang. A nice mix of old and new, all this high-class design is set in an old shophouse (an old frame makers’ house) and a lot of it is preserved the way it is. Super dang cool.

Tipsy Tiger Party Hostel – Best Party Hostel in Penang

Tipsy Tiger Party Hostel best hostels in Penang
Tipsy Tiger Party Hostelis is our pick for Best Party Hostel in Penang

Of COURSE, this is the best party hostel in Penang – with a name like that, how couldn’t it be?! But seriously, it really is. Featuring a bar with decently drinks and staff who help create a fun sociable atmosphere, it’s definitely one for the good times.

We’re talkin’ cocktails, drinks deals, beach outings, all that sorta thing, and all based in the historic colonial neighborhoods of George Town. And when you wake up feeling a lil’ jaded, just head over to the FREE BUFFET BREAKFAST, chat to your new mates and play some PlayStation. Dang.

Drippin Dragon Hostel – Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Penang

Drippin Dragon Hostel best hostels in Penang
Drippin Dragon Hostel is our pick for best Hostel for solo travellers in Penang

The second Penang backpackers hostel on our list to employ some amazing animal names, this place is set right in the heritage warren that is Chinatown in George Town and it’s a great place to meet new people and make friends.

It’s not a big ol’ party hostel, but the staff here work hard to make this a chill place where people can actually get to know each other. Definitely our top pick for the best hostel for solo travellers in Penang, there’s bar crawls, movie nights and all sorts of other shizz to get you chattin’.

Magpie Residence Best Cheap Hostel in Penang

Magpie Residence best hostels in Penang
Magpie Residence is our pick for best cheap hostel in Penang

A peaceful hostel that’s a little bit outta the centre of George Town, this top hostel in Penang is a great place to stay if you’re traveling Malaysia on a budget. It’s not the most sociable of hostels, but then again you get a lot for your money at this place. It’s cheaper than most other places, for a start.

You get pod bunk beds with curtains here (there are private rooms as well), there’s decent air con, the staff are helpful and cook up a different breakfast every day, which makes for a change. Clean, friendly, safe, the best cheap hostel in Penang also offers free coffee ALL DAY. So you can get your fix at any hour.

Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
Aether Backpack

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel – Best Hostel for Couples in Penang

Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel best hostels in Penang
Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel is our pick for best hostel for couples in Penang

Based on a Japanese ryokan and housed in a historic heritage building, this youth hostel in Penang is a little bit more luxury than typical backpacker level accommodation. The best hostel for couples in Penang, it’s comfy and the private rooms are pretty sweet, we gotta say.

There’s a bar here where you can enjoy a drinkie or two before heading out to one of the many, many amazing places to eat that literally litter the streets of George Town (in fact, it’s located on ‘Food Street’). There’s also a free breakfast here, so there’s that, too.

Georgetown Residences – Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Penang

Georgetown Residences best hostels in Penang
Georgetown Residences is our pick for best hostel for digital nomads in Penang

This one sounds a bit more upmarket than a regular old Penang backpackers hostel, and, well, it sort of is. Think green plants, and inside/outside kinda feeling, deck chairs, funky street art, exposed brick, clean lines – all the good stuff, y’know.

Very secure and with some great common areas just right for you and your laptop, we’d say this is the best hostel for digital nomads in Penang. With good high-speed internet as the cherry on top, you’ll be zipping through all your work before you know it! And it’s also a relatively peaceful hostel to live in, which is code for: NO ONE WILL DISTURB YOU.

Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

More Best Hostels In Penang

Still not convinced that Penang is one of the best areas to stay in Malaysia? Then allow us to remedy those fears… with these bonus hostel honorable mentions!

The 80s Guesthouse

The 80s Guesthouse best hostels in Penang
The 80s Guesthouse

A cool guesthouse in Georgetown, this place is actually so cool you’ll wanna move in. Seriously. What is with all these cool hostels in Penang? We love it, but dang, it’s all too much to process!

This one is definitely up there as one of the coolest hostels in Penang though. Even the dorms are super cool. Simple and understated, though it’s more like staying in a boutique hotel, and there ain’t much atmosphere, it’s very good value for money: e.g. free brekkie and free coffee ALL DAY.

Summer Terrace

Summer Terrace best hostels in Penang
Summer Terrace

Turquoise and pink and palm leaves and stuff decorate this cool hostel in George Town, featuring private rooms and dorms giving you a nice lil’ choice; it’s also set at the end of Love Lane, a very cool place to visit in Penang.

There are chilled vibes going on here, not a lot of party action (if any), which makes for a decent night’s sleep. We’d say this is a good shout for a couples hostel in Penang, actually.

Container Hotel Penang

Container Hotel Penang best hostels in Penang
Container Hotel Penang

Can you guess what this hotel is made of? Well, part of it is made from a couple of containers. One of the coolest hostels in Penang, think dark shiny surfaces and geometric patterns. It’s very design-y.

It gets less and less like a Penang backpackers hostel the more you look at it: the dorm beds are like pods, which is cool, but if you don’t like pod stuff then… well. Yeah. Their corridor is a mini art gallery to show off Penang’s heritage and culture, which is pretty interesting. Sleep here and spend your days exploring your Penang itinerary.

Roomies Penang

Roomies Penang best hostels in Penang
Roomies Penang

Another cool hostel in Penang (like, seriously), this one makes for a change since it’s not actually located in the tourist town of George Town: you’ll find this Penang backpackers hotel in Batu Feringghi, on the north of Penang island.

The style is more industrial style than those in Georgetown. Plus Roomies Penang is located near the beach, meaning you can have some chill time. It’s also close to Malaysia’s smallest national park, where you can see turtles hatching. Cute!

Chateau One

Chateau One best hostels in Penang
Chateau One

Located in George Town, this top hostel in Penang has big open spaces and a load of exposed brick. It’s sorta cool, but it’s not the most atmospheric of places. Even so, it’s in an old shophouse, so it’s still a decent place to hang around in.

The people who work here are always friendly and on hand with great travel tips for Malaysia and Penang, most importantly about where to eat (Malaysians definitely know their food). And if you wanna party? It’s close to nightlife spots.

Tido Penang Hostel

Tido Penang Hostel best hostels in Penang
Tido Penang Hostel

Offering up a loada comfort at a low rate – wait, you guessed it, this place is stylish and cool. AGAIN. Different from other Penang backpacker hostels in the area, there’s a nice lounge area where you can sit and chat to fellow peeps staying here. Plus its 88 beds mean it can get pretty busy and vibey here. Good for groups, we’d say.

The dorms here are super clean and the private rooms… well, they’re like the sorta rooms you’d expect from a super nice hotel. What more can we say other than we wish this recommended hostel in Penang was OUR HOUSE.

Dream Catcher Travelers Refuge

Dream Catcher Travelers Refuge best hostels in Penang
Dream Catcher Travelers Refuge

Set in an old shophouse in the centre of George Town, the people who run this top hostel in Penang are super friendly and helpful. There’s a nice common room complete with a load of seating, games and even art supplies (!) so you can get your art on with new mates. Maybe some self-portraits.

One thing about this place is… the walls are thin, so you might have some trouble sleeping if any of your neighbours are snorey Snorlaxes. But that’s not a huge deal. What is a huge deal (always) is the free breakfast. All over it.

Olive Hostel Female Only

Olive Hostel Female Only best hostels in Penang
Olive Hostel Female Only

This top Penang hostel is female-only, as you can tell by the name. Instantly we’d say this is the best hostel for female travellers in Penang – and not only that, if you’re female AND you like baked goods, you’ll be pleased to know that they bake FRESH STUFF EVERY MORNING. Pastries, bread… you name it.

Aside from the tasty food, this place is (you guessed it) set in an old shophouse. The dorms are decent and spacious with privacy curtains and stairs instead of ladders – hooray! Oh and this recommended hostel in Penang is above a cafe, meaning even MORE baked goods!

What to Pack for your Penang Hostel

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out our definitive Hostel Packing list for our top packing tips!

Why you should travel to Penang

Wow, those were the best hostels in Penang – and how many of those places are the coolest you’ve ever seen?!

Seriously, we’d jump at the chance of moving into one of these cool Penang hostels, let alone stay just a few nights in ’em!

Featuring amazing decor and immaculate design, these hostels truly are some of the coolest hostels in Malaysia – let alone Penang!

A lot of them are in George Town, sure, but there are a couple of options elsewhere to keep your horizons open.

But since there’s such a big choice, your head may be spinning at what to go for.

And we don’t blame you! But we’d just say book yourself a bed at House of Journey! That’s easily our top choice for the best overall hostel in Penang, not the coolest but a great all-rounder.

House of Journey best hostels in Penang

Get ready to be wowed by charming Penang – and its amazing food!

FAQ about Hostels in Penang

Here are some questions backpackers ask about hostels in Penang.

How much does a hostel cost in Penang?

The average price of hostels in Penang starts from $7 – $10+ per night. Of course, the private rooms are on the higher end of the scale than the dorm beds.

What are the best hostels in Penang for couples?

Check out these ideal hostels for couples in Penang:
Sleep Box
ET Budget Guest House By The Beach

What is the best hostel in Penang near the airport?

The airport is quite far from the city center, so it is better to find the best place that offers airport transfer. I recommend House of Journey, just a 28-minute drive from the airport.

Travel Safety Tips for Penang

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Do you think Malaysia might be dangerous? Not so! Staying safe in Malaysia is easy particularly if you read our dedicated tourist safety report filled with travel tips, advice, and other information.

More Epic Hostels and Accommodation in Malaysia a

Hopefully, by now, you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to Penang.

Planning an epic trip all across Malaysia or even Southeast Asia itself?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

For more cool hostel guides around Southeast Asia, check out:

Over to you

By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in Penang has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure!

If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Penang and Malaysia?