Chow Kit is a sleepy section of the Kuala Lumpur city centre, filled with rows and rows of atmospheric stores specialising in wholesale goods. Best known for its daily market, called Bundle Chow Kit by locals, where you can find both wet and dry merchandise, it is well worth a visit if you are looking to get a taste of local city life.
Besides the market, visitors can also expect to see a local mosque, Southeast Asia’s largest Sikh temple, and an avenue with great Indian bargains, like sarees, spices and cosmetic jewellery. Our personally reviewed list of the Top 5 Attractions in Chow Kit presents the best things to see and our favourite places to go in the area.
One of the liveliest and most culturally enriching scenes in Kuala Lumpur, a visit to Chow Kit Market is sure to take up a healthy chunk of your time when you are visiting the area. Found at the northern end of Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, it is divided into two sections: a wet market and dry bazaar, both with stalls tightly packed together. Expect to find specialty meats at inexpensive prices at the wet market, which has a mix of spices and fish scenting the air.
However, it is the dry section of the bazaar that is most appropriate for tourists; cleaner with a maze of stalls selling fruit and vegetables as well as clothes, shoes, CDs, DVDs and textiles. The entire market is shaded by oversized, colourful umbrellas in a kaleidoscope of colours. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
- Location: Jalan Haji Hussein, Chow Kit
A Malay dominated section of the city, Kampung Baru is a genuine, old-village neighbourhood that is a great place to head to if you want to get a feel for traditional kampung (village) atmosphere. Expect to see wooden stilt houses and leafy gardens – a seemingly out-of-place sight in the centre of the city.
There is also a whitewashed mosque here, Masjid Kampung Baru, which is worth a visit if you are in the area, with its beautiful glassy blue tile work and golden minarets contributing to some picturesque photos. Just outside the mosque are several roadside stalls selling local Malay delicacies (kuih), deep fried banana fritters and curry puff pastries. Read More...
- Location: Jalan Raja Alang, Kampung Baru
- Tel: +603 2691 3954 or +603 2698 7493 or +603 2693 4463 (mosque)
Gurdwara Tatt Khalsa Sikh Temple
Serving the spiritual needs of the area’s Sikh community, the Gurdwara Tatt Khalsa Sikh Temple along Jalan Raja Alang in Kampung Baru is another impressive sight to see in Chow Kit. Built in 1924, it is the largest Sikh temple in Southeast Asia, serving more than 75,000 Sikh members of the Kuala Lumpur community.
Inside it is an open plan, air-conditioned, carpeted area, with ornate wall plastering and a stage with garlands of fairy lights taking pride of place at the head of the room. While the temple is open to visitors, ladies are advised to bring a scarf along to cover their heads in order to head inside to explore the temple.
- Address: 24 Jalan Raja Alang, Kampung Baru
- Tel: +603 26922215
Jalan Masjid India
Jalan Masjid India used to serve as Kuala Lumpur’s official Little India, until the government decided to designate the nearby, more spacious Brickfields as the new formal Little India district. Nevertheless, Jalan Masjid India has retained its colourful, spirited atmosphere with lots of stores specialising in Indian merchandise. In fact, unofficially the city’s Indian community know that Jalan Masjid India has better bargains for sarees, spices and costume jewellery. There are also reputable Indian tailors to help make sarees from scratch, as long as you bring along your store-bought fabric!
What is more, you can also find roadside stalls selling delicious south Indian snacks such as vadai (a doughnut-shaped, savoury deep fried flour fritter with sliced chillies and spices), thosai (Indian pancakes made from fermented rice flour) and more.
- Location: Jalan Masjid India
A Kuala Lumpur cultural landmark, the 120 year-old Central Market is an air-conditioned, indoor bazaar with vendors specialising in locally-made souvenirs and handicrafts. Classified as a Heritage Site by the National Heritage Department, it is a thoroughly artistic venue, with local artists who set up shop creating custom made paintings for visitors, or even just break out in impromptu song-and-dance performances.
Just a short walk away from Petaling Street, the venue 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. The market is divided into different zones, with vendors’ stalls separated by race to help visitors get an insight into the cultural differences of the various races in Malaysia. 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