According to the tips and articles in Lonely Planet, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is voted as one of the world’s best Chinatown. I went to Kuala Lunpur’s Chinatown recently and my impression was that it was chaotic, crowded, dirty, noisy but an authentic Chinatown. Compared it with the Chinatown in Singapore which to me is fake; a visit to Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown means that you are getting the real deal. Now the question is how to go there? Simply take the LRT train and alight at Pasir Seni station. Once you are out of the station, the Chinatown is on your right. You will see a small bus terminal and an open space car park and then further up a building called Plaza Warisan. Just walk towards this building and continue to walk straight; the Chinatown at Petaling Street is just a few minutes walk away.
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is congested with people, cars, buses, buildings, shops, cheap motels and hundreds of small stalls selling all kinds of stuff. Its like trying to stuff so many people and things into one small confined space. Over here you will see lots of backpackers staying in many of the cheap motels and budget hotels. Here can you see lots of tourists walking around buying things and trying out the local food. One thing to take note is to beware of pickpockets and thieves. Take care of your wallets and handbags and be alert especially when it gets very crowded during the evenings and weekends. When I was there in the afternoon, the entire place was hot and humid. But I came prepared wearing my T-shirt, short pants and sandals.
There are so many merchandise that is available here such as – clothes, fashion accessories, belts, souvenirs, toys, branded shoes, leather bags, watches ( many are fakes), jewellery, toys, fruits and food and many other items. Some of the food stalls served very good local food even though it may looked less hygienic, so if you have a strong stomach – try them. I feel that the Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is a great place to shop and I enjoy browsing through many of the stalls which sells items that I have not seen before. I bought some traditional biscuits that are packed in plastic containers because this shop have been selling them for many years. The stretch of road in Chinatown is called Petaling Street and if you want to find a place simply to cool off from the heat, just go to the old shopping mall called Berjaya Kota Raya. It is a old shopping mall selling all kinds of stuff, just like on the streets of Chinatown but with the comfort of air conditioned environment. The rule of thumb is to bargain on the items that you want to buy but be reasonable in your offer price. Food sold in Chinatown are mainly fixed prices – try bargaining and you may end up being scolded by the stall holders.
You can visit Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown in the day or in the evening. It is normally more crowded with people during the evening as it is cooler. So I have to agree with Lonely Planet’s assessment that Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is among the world best Chinatown. This chaotic place has the vibrancy and the energy of a bustling market place. Like what I have mentioned earlier – this is the real deal.