Central Market is one of KL’s most familiar landmarks and a popular tourist attraction. Built in 1928, it is a short walk away from Petaling Street, along Jalan Hang Kasturi. Also called Pasar Seni, it used to be a simple wet market but in the early 1980s was revamped into a handicrafts outlet.
The focus for the city’s artistic community, inside the building is a warren of boutiques, handicraft and souvenir stalls with traders selling local merchandise such as authentic Malaysian batik prints and more. Central Market is located on the opposite bank of the Dayabumi Complex and is an art-deco style building with local ‘Baroque’ trimmings.
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A Malaysian cultural landmark, it has been classified as a Heritage Site by the National Heritage Department. Similar to London’s Covent Garden or San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, the 120 year-old Central Market has undergone several renovations over the years to attract younger generations and to foster greater appreciation for racial tolerance and integration.
Central Market is strategically located close to major public transportation links, making it easy to access from all major KL destinations. The second floor has several restaurants and a food court serving Asian cuisine.
Central Market hosts a variety of vendors that bring out their best wares during the country’s colourful and exciting annual festivals such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali. For example, during the Hari Raya festival vendors will sell an assortment of sweet cakes and titbits; at Deepavali, the market has a colourful collection of saris and other Indian merchandise on display, while Chinese New Year sees the bazaar filled with Chinese treats as well as traditional Chinese costumes for sale. For the rest of the year Central Market supports local contemporary arts by hosting art exhibitions.
Another way to describe Central Market is to say that it is like New York’s SoHo flea market – the merchandise here is cheap and traditional goods such as batik, embroidery carvings, souvenirs, and sculptures are on offer. The Batik Emporium houses well-known batik designer labels, while outside local artists painting renderings of the busy street or impromptu song-and-dance performance take place.
Divided into different zones, vendors’ stall zones are distinctive by race: the purpose of this zoning practice is to let visitors get an insight into the cultural differences of the various races in Malaysia. There is even a Malacca ‘Jonker Street’, an area of Central Market that looks like a typical Baba-Nyonya house with Peranakan-style furnishings and fixtures on sale.
- Highlights: Arch Collection, Actop Craft, Asli Craft, Borneo Pearls, Cute Fish Spa, Dodo Art & Craft, Fine Batik, House of Silver, Kheng's Antique and Collectible, Success Portrait, Suria Portrait Centre, Swartz Creation.
- Opening Hours: Daily, 10:00 – 22:00
- Location: Just around the corner from Kota Raya Shopping Centre
- Address: No. 10, 1st-3rd floor, Jalan Hang Kasturi
- Tel: +603 2031 0399 or +603 2031 5399 or +603 2031 7399