Chinatown Kuala Lumpur , Kuala Lumpur Overview

Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown is the hub of food, accessories, clothing and everything a tourist could ask for. It is one of the most colourful and vibrant areas of Kuala Lumpur. This place is a paradise for shopaholics and gourmands, and provides ample sight-seeing opportunities such as the captivating Buddhist Temples, art galleries and the traditional food and coffee houses.

Chinatown is also referred to as ’Chee Cheong Kai’ (Starch Factory Street) which was opened by a Chinese at the street to prevent his fellow countrymen from going back to their home country after the Civil War abandoned the mills they worked at. Spread on the entire street, there are rows of stalls making available fake branded items. Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur is still bright and glowing after sunset, it is a space which never sleeps. 

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Places to Visit in Chinatown

Sri Mahamariamman Temple: Built by Tamil migrants in 1873 on Jalan Tun H S Lee, it is the main Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. The temple provides a sharp contrast from the hustle-bustle of the outside street with its serenity. It displays the sculptures of Sri Mariamman, Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga and Goddess Lakshmi and many other images.

Kasturi Walk: It was put in place in 2017 along Jalan Kasturi and is a street very similar to Petaling Street but is not that crowded and is much newer. The place is packed with vendors selling fake label products like wristwatches, bags, clothes, etc at prices better than that of Petaling Street. You can also find different food stalls that offer local food such as Malay Kuih and Chinese dim sum.

Central Market: At a little distance from Petaling Street is the Central Market also referred to as Pasar Seni. This market mainly grabs the attention of the artistic bunch with the art exhibition it hosts and the artisans who sell their handicrafts outside the building. You can find different Asian cuisines being offered at the restaurants and at the food court of the building.

Kuan Yin Temple: Built in 1880, also known as Guanyin Temple, it is dedicated to Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy). The temple is one among the most colourful shrines of Kuala Lumpur displaying European and Chinese architecture. The idol of Shakyamuni can be found in the main prayer hall, to the right of this idol is the idol of South Sea Guanyin and to the left is Kuan Yin’s compassionate side with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes.

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple: To the southern end of Petaling Street is the oldest Buddhist Temple of Malaysia. It was built between 1897 and 1906 and is beautifully adorned with colourful paintings and carvings which put to light the Chinese mythology and warriors battling mythical creatures. The Temple also acts as a community centre for the locals.

Kuan Ti Temple: The 121-year-old temple, also known as Guandi Temple is dedicated to Guandi,the Taoist God of literature and war and is situated along Jalan Tun H S Lee. Guan Dao and Guan Jie, sword and spear are placed in front of the Guandi idol which is believed to provide special powers to the devotees if lifted or even touched three times.

Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Samad: The oldest mosque in Kuala Lumpur is situated in the middle of the River of Life, fragmenting the River into two. The mosque is always open except for the days when the tiles get slippery due to wet weather. The mosque can be visited during one of the five prayer calls for the best experience. 

Shopping at Chinatown

  • Petaling Street: A wide range of local goods, modern goods and traditional markets are offered here. You can also find artwork and different souvenirs providing a good value for money.
  • Central Market: It is famous for its art collection. You can find local merchandise like batik prints and remarkable handicrafts here. The Batik Emporium is a must visit and also the ’Jonker Street’ for exemplary furnishings. Many noteworthy silver products can also be found here.
  • Kota Raya Shopping Complex: Located opposite Petaling Street, it is the oldest shopping centre famous for games, electronics, accessories and clothing. Though it lacks the modern influence, it can be visited to purchase things at a good bargain.
  • Peter Hoe Beyond: Located on Jalan Tun H S Lee, the store is divided into a boutique, cafe and a retail store. The goods are famous for their uniqueness proving a blend of traditional and modern. Silverware, handmade flowery fabrics,  and candles are the major attractions. Local designers also present their collection here.
  • Many independent shops are also located such as Weaver House Arts and Crafts, Kong Wooi Fong Tea Merchants and Borneo Pearls. You can find a good range of accessories at the wholesaler's shops.
  • Different bookstores such as Sin Ya Book Agency and Shanghai bookstore can be visited which offer books in English and Malay also.
Bustling street of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur
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Food and Restaurants at Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown

Chinatown is packed with vendors offering mouth-watering street food. Steamed dumplings, fried chicken, Chinese buns, fries, chicken sandwiches, pancakes, they've got everything to satisfy your craving. They don't just have a good variety but also an amazing taste at cheap prices.
  • A very famous coffee shop chain, Old Town White Coffee has an outlet at the Central Market.
  • The Central Market also has a food court which is tidier with around 15 food outlets.
  • Kasturi Walk is famous for its banana fritters and chicken curries.
  • You can also visit some extraordinary cafes such as Cafe Amo, Old China Cafe, Restoran Kim Lian Kee, Lai Fong, Arabesque Kuala Lumpur, Restoran Platinum Chinatown, Restoran Hung Kee and Cafe Cafe.

How to Reach Chinatown Kuala Lumpur

Chinatown is well connected with public transportation.
MRT: You can take the MRT from KLCC or KL Sentral to Pasar Seni, Central Market.
Monorail: Monorail can also be boarded to Maharajalela Station which is near the southern end of Petaling Street.
Walk: You can choose to walk from Bukit Bintang, which would take approximately 15 minutes.

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