Chinatown is undoubtedly one of the most popular places to visit in Malaysia. This bargain hunter’s paradise is deeply immersed in Oriental culture and history. To get lost in history, Chinatown is where to go in Kuala Lumpur.
Based in Petaling Street, Chinatown was once known as “Chee Cheong Kai” or Starch Factory Street, as it was once a tapioca producing district. The original Chinatown was located in Market Square and known as High Street, which is now known as Jalan Tun H.S. Lee. Chinatown was popular due to the higher elevation and less prone to floods, which Kuala Lumpur is famous for.
In the beginning of the 20th century, when Malaysia was still known as ‘Tanah Melayu’, Kuala Lumpur was a pioneer town and the population was rough during those times. The population was mainly Cantonese and Hakka men who came to town because of the tin and rubber trade. During the Selangor Civil War, the tin mines were abandoned and when the Chinese returned, they found the mines to be flooded. An influential figure back then, bribed the Chinese to stay on and opened the tapioca mill on Petaling Street.
Since then, Chinatown has been remolded and is now a shopper’s paradise. Still located in the historical shop houses, you can find all sorts of goods from Chinese herbs to knock off brands. Petaling Street comes alive at night. The main entrance of Petaling Street is under an Oriental-style archway. Colorful umbrellas and red lanterns line the streets and hundreds of stalls offer a variety of goods during the night market. Prices can be haggled down to next to nothing
Central Market is of the popular places to visit in Malaysia, familiar Malaysian cultural landmark in Kuala Lumpur and it has been classified as a Heritage Site by the National Heritage Department. It’s just a short stroll away from Petaling Street, opposite of the bank of the Dayabumi Complesx. Central Market was built in 1928 and was used to be a wet market. However, in the early 1980’s, it was renovated into handicrafts outlet.
Central Market is an art-deco style building and has the local Barogue trimmings. It focuses on the city’s artistic community. Inside the 120 year old building, you will find a variety of boutiques, antiques, handicrafts, and souvenir stalls. Many tourists and locals alike spend a day walking through the beautiful market and eat lunch at one of the hawker stalls. The market is located close to all major public transportation links, making it easy to access one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
The Old China Town Café in Chinatown another amazing place to visit in Malaysia and where to go in Kuala Lumpur. This café is off the beaten track in Chinatown. It is housed in a pre-war shop house which dates back to the early 1900 and the café was once home to the guild hall of Selangor and Federal Territory Laundry Association.
The charm has most of the original furnishing, such as marble topped tables that are over 100 years old. The wooden saloon doors and antique trinkets give charm to the café. The Old China Café serves traditional Peranakan dishes. Peranakan people originated from interracial marriages between Singaporean Chinese and local Malay Muslims during the 15th and16th century. Due to religious laws prohibiting Muslim Malays marring other religions, the Peranakan race is rare. However, the Old China Café reflects the blend of cultures and customs, especially in food. Dishes are known to be very rich in flavor and very spicy.
If you want to be lost in history, be sure to visit history Chinatown, it’s the best place to go to Kuala Lumpur. If you are looking for a unique place to visit in Malaysia, head to Chinatown for exciting things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Please remember Chinatown is a historical area and many places are Heritage Sites. It is important to preserve and protect Malaysia’s heritage. Please leave the area in the same condition as when you arrived.