Where to Stay in Chinatown (Petaling Street)
Editor's Guide to Recommended Hotels in Chinatown (Petaling Street)
Kuala Lumpur’s colonial district is centred on Merdeka Square. Close by, across the river and a little to the south, is Chinatown, Malaysia’s equivalent of Thailand’s Khao San Road. The area is best known for KL’s best budget and intermediate accommodation choices; the commercial heart of KL’s Chinatown is Jalan Petaling – a lively, colourful and busy avenue with many pre-war era shop houses.
Petaling Street is best known for the numerous stalls which sell everything from local snacks and fruits to fake label goods. These stalls set up shop in the early morning and the jam-packed street comes alive at night when locals and tourists flock here in search of ‘Rolex’ watches, ‘Prada’ bags and ‘Ed Hardy’ shirts. A new cantilevered green glass roof has given the area a facelift and beneath each large, colourful umbrella good bargains can be had as long as you negotiate well. Along the back lanes, alleyways and walkways, there’s a smorgasbord of Chinese hawker cuisine, from rice and noodle dishes to snacks such as roasted chestnuts.
Hotel in heart of Chinatown
Swiss Inn Kuala Lumpur
Situated within Petaling Street’s busy grid of avenues, the highlight of the well run, long-established Swiss Inn is its 151 clean and comfortable rooms. Centrally located, this three-star venture is a justly popular choice especially if you’re keeping a close eye on those purse strings. The most inexpensive rooms are windowless but they’re still widely attractive with blonde-wood fixtures, spacious beds and pastel coloured linen and coverings. The hotel’s got two cafés but it’s also in close proximity to Chinatown’s ever-burgeoning Chinese hawker fare scene; the Pasar Seni and Plaza Rakyat LRT stations are approximately 300m away.
Citin Hotel Masjid Jamek
The brand new, cheerfully-coloured Citin Hotel is a three-star establishment that’s not as centrally located as many of KL’s other budget-friendly ventures. However it’s within the KL city limits making a taxi ride to sightseeing spots – such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Suria KLCC, the Dewan Filharmonik Orkestra concert hall and KLCC Park – extremely affordable. The compact, air-con lodging unit has standard hotel amenities as well as flat-screen TVs and wireless internet access. The hotel enjoys easy access to the Masjid Jamek LRT station, ensuring a steady flow of customers for this cut-above-the-average establishment.
Ancasa Hotel & Spa Kuala Lumpur
A throwback to another generation, the Ancasa Hotel & Spa is one of KL’s most popular hotel ventures due to its lavish feel with bargain prices. The four-star property is aesthetically appealing and features a restaurant, bar and 400 air-con cooled rooms sporting all the necessary modern conveniences. A Balinese-style spa and staff members that know the ropes add up to make this one of Chinatown’s best mid-range options.
Occupying what looks to be a century-old building, the brand-new Chill Inn has air con rooms that are Spartan yet spacious. The entire place looks like an atmospheric venture that’s been refurbished with a modern twist – the result are rooms that look like they’re caught in a time warp with old fashioned TVs, wooden armoires, cherry red walls, large-face contemporary white clocks and crimson fixtures. The one-star hotel’s cut down on unnecessary facilities and the result is inexpensive rates. The nearest LRT station, Pasar Seni, is a short walk away and you can catch a train to visit the city centre’s renowned attractions including Suria KLCC and the Petronas Twin Towers.
Citin Seacare Pudu Hotel
A cut-above-the-average establishment, Citin Seacare Pudu Hotel is located opposite the Puduraya Bus Terminal. Though it is located on an otherwise downmarket strip, there’s usually a steady stream of guests at this budget-friendly venture; air con rooms have TVs and en-suite bathrooms. Petaling Street is just around the corner and the two-star venture is minutes away from several LRT stations including the Plaza Rakyat, Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek stops. Additionally, KL’s Bukit Bintang area – which plays host to Suria KLCC, the KL Convention Centre, Petronas Twin Towers and the KLCC Park – is a short taxi ride away.