Kuala Lumpur Chinatown
Kuala Lumpur Chinatown is a diverse place with great food, a wide variety of shopping, and beautiful temples.
Mara and I visited Chinatown several times during our four days in Kuala Lumpur. It’s easily accessed from the hop-on-hop-off bus or free bus purple line. If you take the free bus, get off at Petaling Street or Pasar Seni.
The ambiance and sights change dramatically from day to night so make sure you visit at both times. Some shops are only open until 6 PM and the temples also close early so see them during the day. The vibrant street markets, including Petaling Street come alive at night.
We wandered into some tea shops and a Chinese bookstore during our morning visit. Of course all the books were in Chinese. But, they also had a wide variety of calligraphy materials and a desk where you could practice.
We also visited the Guan Di Taoist Temple dedicated to Guan Di, the god of war and literature. There are no English signs indicating what this temple is. So use your tourist map (or phone navigation) and this photo to identify it. The Guan Di Temple stands out among the other buildings so it’s easy to find once you know what it is.
The Sri Mahamariamman Temple lies diagonally across the street from The Guan Di Temple. It’s the oldest Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur.
Central Market is just a few blocks away from these temples. It’s a great place to do some souvenir shopping. There is an indoor market and an outdoor one along the street to the right of the building.
Probably the most famous market in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown is Petaling Street. The market here is open during the day but it’s hopping at night. I made a short video of the Pateling Street night market.
We found it a bit odd that most of the vendors in this Kuala Lumpur Chinatown market were Indian. It seems that only a few companies own the stalls so don’t try bargaining for the same thing at multiple stalls. TripAdvisor has an interesting forum discussion about this. You’ll mostly find clothing, cheap electronics, purses, and belts on Petaling Street. Central Market is better for souvenirs.