News & more!
My trip reviews
My travel photos
Trip planning
Destination guides

My Escapes Malaysia My First Malaysian Escape Kuala Lumpur Contrastful Kuala Lumpur Jalan Petaling [...]

Jalan Petaling - Chinatown

May 30, 2014
July 19, 2014

It's the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur. A huge market where they sell just about anything - from food sold on the streets to fake sneakers and "Rolex watches".

Petaling Street is essentially a covered area that's the local Chinatown... But the real Chinatown looked far more extended, way beyond Jalan Petaling.

Jalan Petaling entrance gate

The gate through which you can enter the Kuala Lumpur Chinatown

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

Shops everywhere and you can bargain!

I didn't buy anything, having purchased various souvenirs here and there, elsewhere in the city. But I couldn't help strolling several times across the mysterious Chinatown.

Inside Jalan Petaling

The covered street. There even are hotels in this labyrinth. I hear, big cockroaches too!

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

It's quite a large area, but pretty much everywhere you can see the same types of products. The cheap "Made in China" (and elsewhere: Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia) goods...

Stall in Chinatown

"Stalls forbidden" or what could the sign mean?

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

There are lots of food stalls and restaurants, but to me it seemed like almost all had severe hygiene issues. And I don't like purchasing food prepared on the streets, anywhere. Except on a very few rare occasions/situations...

The fruit and vegetable sellers' stalls look particularly beautiful. Like still life with fruits, exotic Malaysian style...

Fruit seller in Chinatown

"David Beckham" likes fresh fruits... And wicked hairstyles! (Of course it's not him!).

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

And the most exotic fruits on sale are totally fresh... Bananas, pineapples and just about anything has a much stronger flavour here than in Europe, for instance.

Because the produce in Southeast Asia is collected while still fresh.

Restaurants in Chinatown

Lots of places to eat. Weird smells emanate from everywhere...

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

Locally renowned foods are the laksa (traditional Malaysian spicy noodle soup), curry noodles, hokkien mee (noodles with either prawn, eggs, fish or else), ikan bakar (Malaysian-Indonesian charcoal-grilled fish).

Old building in Chinatown

Beautiful old Chinese building

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

Let me tell you a few words about the history of the Kuala Lumpur Chinatown...

This market has formed at the beginning of the 20th century, when many Chinese arrived to Kuala Lumpur.

Especially Cantonese and Hakkas came to the city, mainly working in the tin trade industry and in nearby mines.

Traders are currently mostly Chinese, but there are Indians, Malays as well.

Originally, the Chinatown was situated on the Jalan Tun H.S. Leee street. It has shifted to Petaling Street since then.

In 1870, civil war had broken out between the Hokkien Ghee Hin and the Hakka Hai San secret societies.

The British decided to use force in order to put an end to the war. Unfortunately many old buildings were destroyed during the fighting.

Interestingly, as I walked and explored Chinatown, I felt like in a small town within Kuala Lumpur.

I could say - it's a small society within a big society, small town within a big city...

But the long walk can be exciting and except the many places where you can eat, there aren't many options for sitting down and taking a rest.

Decorations in Chinatown

All sorts of decorative elements everywhere

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

Chinatown is different... a lot more crowded, there's a lot of "buzz" and all sorts of smells...

Ethnically, the Central Market is more mixed. But it's not excluded that you'll find plenty of products here and there.

Crowded Chinatown

Weird building makes me think of camouflage

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

I honestly couldn't choose which one I liked the most - the Central Market or the Chinatown.

On one particular day, the Chinatown got so overcrowded that I could barely get across it - I even had to walk behind some stalls by apologizing to the merchants and asking to allowed to pass.

It does get quite hot in there. Very...

I've been to few places with such a density of people per square meter!

And because much of it is covered and there are lots and lots of products hanging everywhere, I felt oxygen scarcity. Air doesn't circulate that well in the middle of Chinatown.

As opposed to the Singaporean Chinatown, this one felt much more alive. Noisy, totally in use and it seemed bigger.

While, the one in Singapore was cleaner, but felt a bit like a museum area...

Their buildings were well-restored, but many closed to the public. Less shops, less people, less noise and the list could follow.

But that was during my first trip to Singapore.

Getting back to the main subject: I adored Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown - the atmosphere, the beautiful vintage architecture and I even enjoyed a bit of bargaining.

Restaurants in Chinatown

Endless places to eat...

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

I wanted to buy a souvenir Kuala Lumpur shirt and I asked for the price.

The friendly seller said 100 ringgit (gosh, that's 30 bucks!) and I got shocked... he quickly brought the price down to 50, but I still wanted less, so 30, 20 and I decided to walk away.

The guy literally screamed "15!" after me, which would have been way below the price. I told him I changed my mind, I don't like the design that much.

Then he barely let me walk away: "How much do you offer, then?".

Wowie, we were already below 5 US dollars and he still wanted to bargain!

Just for the sake of bargaining and probably creating satisfaction to the client, some sellers will kindly let you rip them off!

Restaurants at the edge Chinatown

This is a bit towards the edge of Chinatown

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

Chinatown is a different kind of World, which adds more pleasure to visiting KL.

I hear hotels are very cheap in there, but I wanted to be closer to the LRT and away from too crowded areas.

Street sellers in Chinatown

There's an entire World in there!

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

And there's even more than you've read and you've seen so far...

Check out the beauties below...

Colourful old Chinese buildings

These are not far from the entry gate seen on the top (first) photo

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

These buildings were just across the street - opposite to the Jalan Petaling entry gate.

Too bad the lighting conditions weren't right. The Sun was shining from the opposite direction and the street was soaked in dark shade.

Shadow on KL buildings

Delicious building facades on the shadowy street

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

But, it's not just the Chinatown that you'll find in this part of the city...

The Central Market (Pasar Seni) isn't far away from this area and along the Jalan Tun H. S. Lee street, you will find the Sri Mahamariamman Temple (it's the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, dating back to 1873).

The edge of Chinatown

Walking out of Chinatown... slowly, slowly less shops, less restaurants, less people.

View Photo Gallery for more travel photos

Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


comments powered by Disqus

Escape Hunter's Facebook Fan Page Escape Hunter's Twitter Channel Escape Hunter on Google Plus Escape Hunter on LinkedIn

About | Copyright | Advertising | Terms & Policies | Partnerships | Sponsorships | Contact

Copyright © 2012-2017 All Rights Reserved - EscapeHunter.com