Within walking distance to many of Kuala Lumpur’s heritage centres and cultural monuments, Chinatown is one of the rare spots in the city where tradition hasn’t bowed out to rampant modernism. Dig a little deeper and you’ve arrived at the heart of Kuala Lumpur – Petaling Street – one of KL’s oldest areas.
Colourful and chaotic, Chinatown is a constant throb of activity from day to night. Locals flock to Petaling Street for bargain shopping and scrumptious street food. An unsavoury reputation for counterfeit items does not obscure the fact that some of KL’s most authentic and original shopping destinations are to be found hidden in its midst.
Widely touted as souvenir central, the Central Market and fashion and decor institution Peter Hoe are some of the shopping spots giving some star appeal to this old-time address. Find out what fabulous shopping awaits you with our shopping guide to Petaling Street, Chinatown!
Haven for local merchandise
Formerly a wet market, Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market or Pasar Seni has been reincarnated as a massive air-conditioned gift emporium, teeming with tourists and souvenir-hunters. Everything you expect to see at a market bazaar can be found here, only less haphazardly displayed. Shoppers are spared the market chaos that so often accompanies such venues and allowed to shop for souvenirs and local handicrafts in air-conditioned comfort, just minutes’ walk away from the city’s Chinatown.
Pegged on a variety of “top must-see attraction lists” in Kuala Lumpur, the Central Market is a mosaic of the nation’s arts, culture and handicraft wholly deserving of its heritage status. Inside the art deco style building is a captivating spread of local merchandise such as batik and songket, ceramics, sculptures, antiques, art, jewellery and apparel arranged into miniature ethnic enclaves to showcase Malaysia’s racial diversity.
Rummage through shelves brimming with ethnic crafts and goods or unearth some antique collector’s items at Heritage of the Orient. Tenmoku Pottery houses artisan-made ceramics with an earthy feel whereas Borneo Pearls is popular for jewellery handcrafted from cultured pearls. Head to Batik Emporium for your fill of Malaysian-made batik items. For a more contemporary snapshot of the local arts scene, The Annexe – located at the back of Central Market hosts the occasional film screening, art exhibition and public talk. A narrow laneway occupied by street artists and lined with makeshift art galleries give the place a youthful and colourful vibe.
PETER HOE BEYOND
All-in-one lifestyle showroom
As far as all-in-one stores go, Peter Hoe Beyond is the one to rule them all. Home to a vast expanse of homewares, textiles and souvenirs, the showroom boutique is a hypnotic swirl of modern chinois influences and ethnic bohemian flair. Try your best to take it all in – the heady mix of hand-printed batik print sarongs, scarves, floral shirts, woven baskets, cushions, candles and silverware and tons more objets d’art may prove too much for your wallet. A wide offering that includes Malaysian designer, Justin Yap’s custom-made ethereal gowns and a café with decent coffee make this one legendary spot.
Guide to shopping in Petaling Street
Nearest LRT/Monorail: Pasar Seni