Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown located in Petaling Street is a pocket of the city steeped in Oriental history and culture. The lively night market is a bargain hunter’s paradise, where culture lovers can explore the elaborate Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Malaysia Heritage Walk and Central Market that are all close by.
Chinatown is a bustling shopping district with low prices, Chinese herbs and delicious cuisine which attracts visitors from all around. A couple of minutes’ walk away is popular Central Market. The market was originally used to promote handicrafts and is the ideal place to pick up embroidery, sculptures and batik souvenirs. The market is easy to navigate with several different zones which symbolise regions of Malaysia. Running alongside Central Market is the open-air flea market known as The Malaysia Heritage Walk. Goods are reasonably priced, and the Chinese dim sum is legendary. Sri Mahamariamman Temple offers a glimpse into local culture. The intricately designed Hindu Temple is nestled between two Buddhist temples on the cusp of Chinatown. The 75 feet tall tower is an impressive sight, as 228 decorative sculptures adorn the entrance and tower. The awe-inspiring architecture makes this the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, a difficult landmark to miss. There are many Chinese Temples in the vicinity which are vibrant and architecturally beautiful. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is perhaps the most memorable, as it’s a popular cultural centre and the hub of the Chinese community. Locals believe that circling the main altar three times will bring good fortune. Venture a little further on foot for fun family days out without the shopping. KL Bird Park, Butterfly Park and Perdana Botanical Garden offers something for everyone in a tranquil, city oasis setting.
Reaching Chinatown and Petaling Street is simple using the LRT Train from KL Sentral on the Kelana Jaya Line. Disembark at Pasar Seni Station next to Petaling Street. Taxis are also reasonably priced, or visitors can walk from downtown Kuala Lumpur to Chinatown in less than half an hour.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Kuala Lumpur was a bustling town of traders and pioneers with many arriving from China to work in the tin mines. Following the closure of many mines, one man, Yap Ah Loy persuaded miners to remain in Kuala Lumpur, and with the help of the Malay people he organised growth of rice and garden products in the area. He opened Tapioca Mill in Petaling Street to bring in the produce and prepare for sale. Today, Petaling Street and Chinatown are still famous for its food and the street is nicknamed Chee Cheong Kai" by the locals which means “Starch Factory Street”.