Heaven to the bargain hunter, Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur is a crowded and chaotic Chinatown dominated by market vendors and street food stalls. Tourists and locals alike love to get their haggle on in this multicultural shopping mecca.
As visitors approach either end of the street, they’re sure to be struck by the large welcoming Chinese arches, whose green roof cover is known as the “Green Dragon”. Haggling with the many vendors on Petaling Street is of course at the top of the to-do list, but sampling street food like curry noodles, Hainanese chicken, and barbequed fish should also rank highly. Other points of interest in the area include the Moorish Jamek Mosque, the Hindu Sri Mahamariamman Temple, and a Chinese bookshop.
There are a number of bus stations in the area surrounding Petaling Street. Two lines of the LRT light rail, however, stop at Plaza Rakyat, which is about a 10-minute walk away from the market. The neighbourhood is quite well connected to other parts of the city, as it marks the border between Chinatown and Kuala Lumpur’s official city centre.
Malaysia has long had a large Chinese population, and Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown was developed around Market Square. The nearby High Street was aptly named for its elevation and so appealed to wealthier shopkeepers wanting to protect their wares from floods. After heavy flooding in the late 19th century destroyed the area’s mines, Petaling Street expanded and industrialised.