Kuala Lumpur Chinatown is a fun area known for its bustle and exotica, so expect to find shopping bargains of a lifetime along its busy, narrow streets. Perhaps its best offerings are located within the matrix of streets lining Jalan Petaling where the notorious Petaling Street market can be found - here, you will find a mind-boggling collection of fake-label fragrances, handbags, shoes, sunglasses, and watches. Alternatively, if it is house ware, souvenirs and spices you are after, visit Central Market, an indoor market housing stalls that sell artwork by the city's creative community.
In any case, it comes as no surprise that shopping opportunities here are plentiful, so to help you make the most of your time, here is a rundown of our favourite retail experiences in Chinatown KL.
A shoppe'’s haven, Petaling Street is best known for its daily flea market packed with stalls notorious for the sale of imitation goods. New merchandise comes in every day making for a fun browse, but quality is sometimes an issue and you should always remember to bargain to get the best deals. Generally prices quoted are about 15% to 35% higher than what they are truly worth (especially for tourists) so when you find an item you like, take your time to inspect it and keep a neutral expression. Then ask 'how much?' to start the bidding process - we recommend offering a quarter of the asking price, and then increasing your offer bit by bit.
Besides inexpensive 'branded' goods such as clothing, handbags, trainers and watches (and even hawker stalls selling local snacks), you can also find music CDs and DVDs of the latest cinematic releases for less than RM10 each. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 12:00 & 18:00 - Late
- Location: Jalan Petaling
- Tel: +603 2693 6661
The focus for the city’s artistic community, Central Market is a Kuala Lumpur cultural landmark just a short walk away from Petaling Street. Also called Pasar Seni, it was built in 1928 and used to be a simple wet market until the early 1980s when it was revamped to promote handicrafts fashioned by skilled artisans. In similar vein to New York’s SoHo flea market, the merchandise here is low-cost and comprises traditional goods such as batik, embroidery carvings, souvenirs, and sculptures.
Classified as a Heritage Site by the National Heritage Department, the 120 year-old Central Market is divided into different zones, with vendors’ stalls separated 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. Another reason to love this market is its collection of local artists who gather outside the building and sell their artworks, or even just break out in impromptu song-and-dance performances. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
- Address: No. 10, 1st-3rd floor, Jalan Hang Kasturi
- Tel: +603 2031 0399 or +603 2031 5399 or +603 2031 7399
The Malaysia Heritage Walk, called Kasturi Walk by locals, is a covered, open-air flea market along Jalan Kasturi, a lane running alongside Central Market. Established in early 2011, in similar vein to Petaling Street, you can find vendors selling local snacks, fruits and fake label goods (think, T-shirts, flip flops, watches) set up side-by-side. Additionally, the goods are reasonably priced plus its convenient location makes a trip here worthwhile. Food stalls sell everything from Malay kuih (desserts) and Chinese dim sum (dumplings with various fillings) to Indian rojak (fruit and vegetable salad) and other local snacks. A popular spot with tourists, during special events Kasturi Walk organises cultural performances, like traditional Lion Dances during Chinese New Year.
To get there using the LRT, alight at the Pasir Seni station: from there it is only a five-minute walk to Kasturi Walk; the KTM Komuter also has a stop (Kuala Lumpur) nearby the market. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 21:30
- Location: Jalan Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur
A store with more than one thing going on, the 8,600sqft Peter Hoe Beyond is a warehouse-sized shop with three colourful sections – a retail store, boutique and café. Set along Jalan Tun HS Lee, its retail store has a lovely collection of home ware, clothes and souvenirs that fuses Asian and modern style, with most of the merchandise designed by local artist Peter Hoe and specially made by craftsmen across the region. Some of the best things to buy here include colourful, woven rattan baskets and place mats in bold colours and designs as well as flowery shirts, batik print pareos and scarves. We especially like the hand-printed fabric and colourful beaded earrings from Jaipur, India, handmade candles from Chiang Mai, Thailand and silverware from Indonesia.
Besides that, the boutique has a compact section with clothes by local fashion designer Justin Yap, with both custom-made gowns and an array of ready-made designs that range from romantic, traditional Malaysian costumes with lots of colourful beadwork to modern outfits with bohemian flair. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 19:00
- Address: No. 145, Jalan Tun HS Lee, Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2026 9788
Kota Raya Shopping Complex
One of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest malls, Kota Raya Shopping Complex is a worthwhile place to browse for inexpensive clothes, fabric, handbags and even shoes. Though it does not have the same polished exterior of newer KL malls such as Pavilion KL, Suria KLCC and Lot 10, it is still attracts a loyal fan base of budget shoppers who come to shop for reasonably-priced goods in an air-conditioned mall with conveniently-located restaurants (including fast food chain MacDonald’s) under its roof.
Built in the 1960s, it is oftentimes overlooked in popular tourist guides, largely because of its atmospheric facade but we recommend a trip here especially if you are looking for quality bargains. The decades-old retail centre sits at the junction of Jalan Silang and Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, only 450m away (a five-minute walk) from Central Market.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
- Address: Kompleks Kotaraya Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Tel: +603 2072 2562