Kuala Lumpur – Visiting Chinatown

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Yesterday we checked out modern Kuala Lumpur, today we stepped back in time. Chinatown is on our doorstep here at the fabulous Back Home Kuala Lumpur just a short walk up the road, which is good. The heat, the traffic, the uneven pavements and the exhaust fumes don’t make walking much fun for the kids. This post is about Chinatown Kuala Lumpur and what is there to see and do in this district of KL. We also cover where to stay in Chinatown KL

Petaling Street Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
Petaling Street, the heart of Chinatown Kuala Lumpur

Our walk today was well worth it, we came across some of my favourite things, food, temples and tea.

First up, iconic Petaling St, the hub of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. It was OK, lots of shops selling T shirts, bags and all things cheesy, an old school meat market which we didn’t venture into. I had a horrible experience in a meat market in China once, I didn’t want the kids seeing anything that would upset them, and food.

Chinatown Kuala Lumpur

Chinatown Kual Lumpur
Petaling Street is the main market area in Chinatown KL, but the Central Market and Kasturi Walk are a very short distance away. Central Market, we think, is a more interesting destination for tourists, housing antiques, art and artifacts plus food and general shopping. The Central Market is actually the oldest market in KL, dating back to 1881. It was formerly a wet market but has had a complete face lift and Kasturi Walk is ver visually striking.
Shopping in Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
Shopping for toys, clothes, shoes and trinkets on Petaling Street, Chinatown.

Deep fried sweet potato balls and pineapple pies were a good find. Ten balls for a dollar, yum! The sweet potato lady took a shine to the boys, particularly my curly haired one, we’ll be back to see her again.

We’re meeting so many lovely ladies in Kuala Lumpur, it’s really, really nice.

Street Food Shopping in Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
Shopping in Chinatown Kuala Lumpur, street food! There is a lot of street food in this part of KL.

So, lunch in hand, we trotted down to check out the temples, Chinese and Indian, on the same street, on opposite sides of the road. That says a lot about Kuala Lumpur, I think.

Chinese Temple Shopping in Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
A Chinese Temple in ChinaTown KL
Chinese Temple Shopping in Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
Temple Flowers Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
Hindu Temple Chinatown KL
A Hindu Temple in Chinatown KL. This is the temple from which Lord Murugan departs for Batu Caves during the Thaipusam Festival. It’s open to visitors, you must remove your shoes and be properly dressed.

I love a good temple! I haven’t seen a gopuram like that since we were in Southern India, years ago, that’s the tower thing with the carved figures, they’re very characteristic of the south. The kids spotted Ganesh and his parents, Shiva and Parvati, straight away, I’ve filled their heads with all this stuff since before they could talk.

Hindu Temple Chinatown KL Malaysia

Just as we were feeling the heat and heading towards the free Go-KL pink bus stop, we wandered into a little tea shop and were given the full tea-making works, green tea and oolong with ginseng. The boys enjoyed both, they’ve never really had tea before, they loved the experience and the make-you-strong ginseng tea.

My newly strong boys perked up enough to walk the ten minutes back to our hostel. Thanks for that Mr Tea!

Tea Tasting ChinaTown KL

The most amazing thing we saw today I’ve saved ’till last. I wonder if they make good pets.

Kuala Lumpur Chinatown. Hedgehogs in a pet shop

Where To Stay in Chinatown Kuala Lumpur

There are plenty of accommodation options in or near Chinatown KL and yes, this is a good area to stay, within walking distance of many attractions, with good food options and an easy (free) bus connection into the center of KL. It should be much cheaper to stay in Chinatown than near central Kuala Lumpur. You’re not far from a monorail station that will connect you to KL’s main train network. Hotels in Chinatown include the following.

  • A space-themed capsule hotel, Space Hotel Chinatown, is a lot of fun and cheap for a short stay. We have stayed here and enjoyed our stay. We took a 4 capsule private room for our family of four, with shared bathroom facilities, the kids thought this place was super-cool, particularly the slide between floors. Book it here on Booking.com
  • There is a Sheraton in the heart of Chinatown. For a quality hotel, well located, with family rooms, but still very affordable, Book the Four Points Sheraton Kuala Lumpur Chinatown here on Booking.com
  • For a hotel with old-world character take a look at the Tian Jing Hotel, it’s in a beautifully restored shop house very close to Petaling Street, the Indian and Chinese Temples, Masjid Jamek and the Central Market. See it on Booking.com. Not so great for families, they don’t have rooms for four or more that I can see.

More information about KL and Chinatown

We’re finding loads to do in Kuala Lumpur, a wonderful mixture of cultures, ancient and modern, side by side. We’re going back to the 21st century tomorrow, we have a date with another travelling family, our first time, we’re looking forward to it! Kuala Lumpur Chinatown is a good place to base yourself in KL and a must see area. Back to our main Malaysia Travel Blog page

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

9 thoughts on “Kuala Lumpur – Visiting Chinatown”

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences and photographs of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. It’s evident that you had a wonderful time exploring the markets, temples, and enjoying the street food. Your blog comment provides valuable insights for travelers interested in visiting this vibrant district. Safe travels and enjoy your future adventures!

  2. So interesting, I have been to Chinatowns in the US, so interesting to see what is similar and different in Kuala Lumpur. And what an amazing mix of cultures! Thank you for sharing at the Culture Swapper!

  3. Pictures of the boys getting involved with everything, as is their way, heart warming. They look gorgeous and so interested. What a great day out!

  4. Love the temples and the hedgehogs. Adorable What an amazing adventure!

  5. I’m not sure I could cope with seeing a meat market either, I can still remember visions of one I read in a magazine which i think was also China… *shudders

    I love a good temple too, they’re so majestic.

    Glad you’re enjoying your time so far!


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