Kuala Lumpur is famous for its Chinatown situated at Petaling street, also known as ‘Chee Cheong Kai.’ This beautiful street reflects the oriental culture and heritage and is one of the most famous places for tourists in Malaysia. Here one can find beautifully ornated Taoist and Buddhist temples with stunningly beautiful Shree Mahamariamman temple and the ever tranquil Kuan Yin temple.
When in Chinatown, one cannot miss out on the overcrowded and buzzing tourist atmosphere, street kitchens, bustling markets, and old architecture. There are gorgeous markets that sell handicrafts and traditional items to take back home as souvenirs.
Though Chinatown is going through a modern change with trendy new eateries and cafes popping up and old Chinese buildings being renovated, Chinatown will always maintain its charm while offering some of the cheapest accommodation and food to attract tourists.
Here are a few things which will warrant multiple visits to Chinatown.
1. Petaling Street
This street is the epicenter of Chinatown. It is an ever-bustling street with tourists searching for fake designer bags, fake designer watches, mobile phone cases, shoes, jewelry, toys, hats, belts, and everything else that a tourist would fancy buying while traveling to Malaysia.
While on the battling street while on the Petaling street, one can get a taste of delectable Chinese cuisine with deep-fried chicken feet, steamed dumplings, coconut pancakes, chicken floss sandwiches, freshly cut fruit, Chinese buns, and stir-fries.
2. Central Market
Head to the Central Market for a cleaner, less hectic market with better quality goods. It was once an old wet market and now a cultural heritage site. It has been restored with an art deco facade. This market offers shopping, outdoor stage, and eateries with a beautiful food court. It is a pleasant place to be in even if you don’t want to shop. The market is home to one of the most popular coffee shop chains in Malaysia – Old Town White Coffee that offers exceptionally cheap and delicious coffee.
3. Guan Di Temple
It is the most beautiful temple in Chinatown. It was founded in 1886 and is an incense-filled Chinese temple. You can freely enter and admire the typical Chinese architecture of the temple with tiled eaves, red walls, high ceilings, and pointed gable end. Mornings are the best time to visit Guan Di Temple as you can witness the locals praying and worshipping in the temple while they hold and wave the incense sticks.
4. Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
This beautiful, highly monumental, and ornately carved temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Kuala Lumpur, with an intricately carved entrance tower just like the South Indian temples. This imposing entrance is 23 meters tall with colorful decorations of Hindu gods. Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is named after the South Indian mother goddess Parvati and was founded in 1873. To enter this shrine, one needs to take off their shoes and dress appropriately.
5. Chan See Shu Yuen Temple
It is one of the ancient and largest surviving Buddhist temples in the whole of Malaysia. It is situated at the bottom of Petaling street and has beautifully decorated wood carvings, ceramic fittings, bright paintings with a well-formed pavilion, and a typical open courtyard.
This elaborate temple Chan See Shu Yuen was built between 1897 and 1906 and is a typical Buddhist temple with an expertly carved Kwang-tung roof portraying Chinese history and mythological scenes. The main temple has pillars full of painted lions, Dragons, and various mythical beasts depicting war scenes.
6. Kasturi Walk
Near to the Central Market building is the Kasturi Walk . It is a covered street with stalls selling crafts, fashion accessories, souvenirs, and a great variety of street food and local drinks. One can find some of the best street food kitchens made out of mini caravans serving local delicacies such as banana fritters, chicken curries, Nasi Lemak, and iced coffee, which is sweetened with condensed milk.
7. Old China Café
Though there are plenty of establishments in Chinatown that offer sumptuous Chinese or Malaysian cuisines, this one is the oldest restaurant in the city and is one of the best in Chinatown. This ancient but charming cafe houses walls decorated with Chinese paintings, oversized mirrors, and historical photography. It has a beautifully inviting ambiance with classic marble top tables and wooden chairs with a popular choice of foods and drinks available.
8. Chinese Shop Houses
In Chinatown, amidst all the never-ending markets, stalls, hotels, and large shop signs, one can find these quaint old colorful Chinese shophouses that go back to the 1800s. They are typical Chinese buildings with an outside undercover space that offer protection from the hot Asian sun and torrential rain and joined terraces. These shophouses are designed so that the owner and the family stay at the back of the property while carrying on business in the front. Make it a point to visit these charming Chinese shophouses.
9. Chinese Massage
The Chinese massage shops offer all kinds of passages, right from a firm Shiatsu massage to a relaxing full body oil massage to foot massages. The masseuses usually stand outside the shop with a list of massages they offer, and the prices have to be negotiated before taking any of the options.
10. Street Food at Petaling Street Market
The best time to visit Chinatown, especially the Petaling street market, is in the late afternoon. All the shops and stalls are open, with the market being at its busiest. The street sides are filled with tables and chairs for the tourists to enjoy Chinese meals cooked in an alfresco kitchen.
Jalan Sultan is the busiest street food section of the road, which runs from north to south. Some of the best kitchens specialize in a single dish, while some offer a full-size restaurant menu full of Chinese delicacies—a word of caution not to choose kitchens found in the dark and dirty alleys.
redBus in Malaysia
As part of its international development, the bus ticketing website redBus has established services in Malaysia and Singapore.
In Malaysia, redBus has compiled a supply of 5700 bus routes from a significant number of bus companies. More than 100,000 online bus tickets are available for purchase daily. You may purchase bus tickets online in either Singapore Dollars or Malaysian Ringgits.
Tourists from India may now buy online bus tickets in Malaysia by going to www.redbus.my or adjusting the Region and Currency settings on the redBus apps.