MalaysiaKuala Lumpur Free All Year Mostly Outdoor
District

Chinatown (Petaling Street)

Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown centers around the bustling Petaling Street, where dozens of vendors gather daily to sell imitation designer clothing and handbags, electronics, souvenirs, fruit, vegetables, and spices, and every form of knick-knack imaginable. At night, the street transforms into vibrant night market, illuminated by the red Chinese lanterns strung above the street.

This is also the place to find KL’s best Chinese food, from bargain street vendors to fine dining restaurants. Although now a popular tourist attraction, Chinatown’s oriental heritage can still be found in places like the historic Chan See Shu Yuen Temple.

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Price

Free

Time Spent

1-2hours

Fitness level: Easy

Hours

7days

Look Around

Walking through one of the stallsWalking through one of the stalls
Another stall with imitation handbagsAnother stall with imitation handbags
Looks original at a fraction of the priceLooks original at a fraction of the price
More handbagsMore handbags
Main street with hanging Chinese lanternsMain street with hanging Chinese lanterns
Around Chinatown

Who Will Like Chinatown

Food Connoisseur

Delve into the delectable world of Chinese cuisine found on street food stands and tucked away in small restaurants underneath rows of red Chinese lanterns.

Culture Buff

Visit Chan See Shu Yuen Temple, one of the largest and oldest surviving Buddhist temples in Kuala Lumpur. For a real taste of Chinatown’s hustle and bustle, stay overnight in one of the district’s budget hotels or hostels.

Retail Therapist

Bargain for clothing, toys, souvenirs, imitation handbags, and more at the many street stalls along Petailing Street.

Insider Tips For Chinatown

Be mindful of food hygiene at street food stands and never buy from vendors with dirty fingernails or aprons. The best stalls can be spotted by crowds of locals waiting to be served and are well worth the short wait.

Never accept the first price offered by a shopping stall vendor as they will often add 25-50% on top of the actual value. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you can’t agree on a price. You’ll likely find the same item in another stall.

Video

Where Is It

City Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Open map...

How To Get There

Car

RM3 for the first hour then RM2/hour. Flat fee of RM5 after 5pm. Parking at nearby Central Market.

Driving directions... Walking directions from car...

Train (MonorailMaharajalela Station)

5 minute walk northwest from station.

Walking directions from train...

Train (LRT Kelana Jaya LinePasar Seni Station)

Walking directions from train...

Train (MRT Sungai BulohKajang Line Pasar Seni Station)

Bus (Go KL Purple LineChinatown Stop)

Free bus service.

Walking directions from bus...

Bus (Lines 451, 501, 601 & 604KL 108 Kotaraya)

Walking directions from bus...

What To Bring

Do:
  • Cash as few vendors accept card payments.
  • Savvy bargaining skills to secure the best price. 
  • Hungry stomach ready to gorge on Chinese food.
Don't:
  • Valuable belongings like precious jewelry and large amounts of cash.
  • Backpacks. If you must bring one, wear it on the front of your body to protect your belongings.

Tech & Photography

Wifi

Public wifi access: None

Photography

Photography allowed: Yes

Tripod allowed: Not encouraged

Selfie sticks allowed: Yes

Best time to shoot: Blue Hour

Drones

Drones allowed: Not encouraged

Bags

Backpacks allowed: Yes

Secured bag lockers available: No

Food & Drink

Chinatown is flowing with Chinese restaurants, from street vendors specializing in one dish, to buffet restaurants, to fine dining restaurants. There’s also a small selection of European restaurants for those not willing to step out of their comfort zone.

Try local specialties like curry laksa, seafood, Hokkien noodles, and claypots.

Backstory

The original Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur centered around Market Square or "High Street” and was mostly inhabited by the wealthy. In the early 1800s, many Chinese males moved into the area seeking work in the mines. A civil war between 2 Chinese factions broke out in 1870 leading to the destruction of many buildings. After the war, the men were unable to return to work in the mines as most had been flooded. Instead, they began to farm rice and other vegetables at the prompting of Chinese captain Yap Ah Loy, who also opened a Tapioca Mill in Petaling Street. This is why Petaling Street is also known as "Starch Factory Street".

Etiquette

Pros:
  • Bargain politely yet aggressively.
  • Walk away if a price can’t be agreed.
Cons:
  • Get angry or argue with vendors who won’t lower their price.

Scorecard

Best Parts:
  • Low prices on food and shopping.
  • Bartering culture can be fun when you get used to it.
Could Be Better:
  • Quality of products. Most items for sale are cheaply manufactured knock-offs. Don’t expect them to last a long time. 
  • Food Hygiene. Check for cleanliness when buying from street food stands.
My itinerary Save View

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What's Nearby In Kuala Lumpur

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