Central Market Kuala Lumpur, also known as Pasar Seni Kuala Lumpur in Malay, is an indoor flea market in the capital of Malaysia.

For travelers visiting Kuala Lumpur, Central Market is an ideal place to shop for traditional clothing, accessories, homewares, antiques, and locally-produced art.

The market consists of several sections representing the biggest group of races in Malaysia. These sections showcase the diversity of the Malaysian cultures and traditions.

Even if you are not into shopping, you can discover a lot about the tradition and culture of Malaysians by visiting this flea market. Just ask the shopkeepers about anything that seems interesting to you, and they will share the stories behind a particular tradition.

If you are lucky enough, you can even catch a performance by buskers, local performers, artists or dancers during your visit. Most of the time, the outdoor stage next to the entrance or Kasturi Walk is the venue for these performances.

Malay Street at Central Market Kuala Lumpur
Malay Street at Central Market Kuala Lumpur

Central Market is also a heritage site classified by the National Heritage Department of Malaysia. Since its founding in 1888, the building has undergone several renovations and refurbishments to attract the younger crowds and tourists.

The structure of the building features the Art Deco architectural style. According to Wikipedia, the Art Deco architectural style features geometric shapes, distinct and precise lines, and decoration which is attached to the structure.

Attraction Type

Shopping and cultural.

Name in Local Language

Malay: Pasar Seni

History

The founding of Central Market Kuala Lumpur was in 1888.

It was a wet market for back then. It was just beside the train station and Klang bus stand, the hub for buses servicing the city area back in those days. Thanks to its strategic location, people who were staying and working in the city frequented the market for their daily supplies.

Since then, Central Market underwent multiple expansions. The completion of their current structure was in 1937.

In the 1970s, plans to demolish the building started bubbling up. This is to make way for the rapid development of its surrounding area. The Heritage of Malaysia Trust intervened, but their pleas to conserve the building felt on deaf ears.

Execution of the development plans was in progress until there was a slowdown in the property market for office and commercial spaces. As a result, the development of the area and the building that became Central Market exchanged hands.

In 1986, what used to be a wet market reopened as a cultural market. From then on, the Malaysian National Heritage Department also classified Central Market as a heritage site. It since become a popular attraction for local handicrafts, souvenirs, and antiques.

Key Attractions

Travelers come to Central Market to shop for souvenirs, but there are plenty of things to see here as well.

Shopping

Cultural Accessories for Sale
Cultural Accessories for Sale

At the ground floor of the building, there are rows after rows of stalls and small shops selling a wide variety of traditional and locally-made crafts. These includes:

  • Souvenirs
  • Batik artworks, prints, and clothing
  • Wood carvings
  • Clothing
  • Homewares
  • Decorative accessories
  • Food items

You can find quirky goods and services too.

For example, there is a shop offering Chinese fortune telling services. There is also a shop in Lorong Melayu (Malay Lane) that sells keris, a dagger used as a weapon or a spiritual object by the Malays during old times. At the Indian Lane, a few shops are providing Henna drawing services. Henna drawing is an artistic form of body painting for your palms, the back of your hands or your feet.

Some shops are also selling antiques collected from the South East Asian region.

Shop Selling Antiques at Central Market Kuala Lumpur
Shop Selling Antiques at Central Market Kuala Lumpur

The market becomes crowded when Malaysia celebrates its annual festive seasons like Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year and Deepavali. This is because it is still one of the best places for locals to buy their traditional outfits and homewares.

You can shop around comfortably thanks to the air-conditioning inside the building. Shoppers like air-conditioning because it cools you down if you have been wandering under the sweltering heat outside. Thus, roam around the market before buying something. Take your time to find items that you like and to compare prices.

Be prepared to bargain if you want to get a good deal out of your purchase.

Cultural Performances

Every Saturday, from 8:00pm to 8:30pm, there is a cultural show at the outdoor stage next to Central Market’s main entrance. If it rains, the performance will take place behind the Information Counter inside the Central Market building.

During these performances, local male and female dancers in traditional costumes will take the stage to perform traditional dances.

They will also interact with the audience by inviting a selected few for a dance together. Do not worry too much if you get chosen because the dancers will guide you.

Along with the cultural performance, Central Market will also organize events during festive celebrations and on special occasions.

Annexe Central Market

Artist Painting a Drawing in His Shop at Annexe Central Market
Artist Painting a Drawing in His Shop at Annexe Central Market

You can find Annexe Central Market at the back of Central Market. This is where artists sell their arts and crafts, paintings and art-related activities. You can join a batik drawing class or have your portrait drawn by a local artist.

There is also an art gallery and spaces for musical and theater performances.

Kasturi Walk

Giant Wau Bulan Made from Pewter at Kasturi Walk
Giant Wau Bulan Made from Pewter at Kasturi Walk

There are some restaurants inside Central Market as well as a food court on the second floor. You can have a taste of Malaysian food at these places, but they are probably overpriced. Get yourself out of the market and onto Kasturi Walk for cheaper options.

Kasturi Walk is an open-air walkway beside Central Market where you can find hawkers selling different local food, fruits, snacks, and drinks.

Identifying Kasturi Walk is easy. Look up, and you should see a few pewter wau bulans (a type of traditional Malay kites) forming arches over the street.

Hawker Stalls at Kasturi Walk
Hawker Stalls at Kasturi Walk

Along the same street, there are restaurants behind the food stalls where you can get cheaper food than those offered by their counterparts inside Central Market.

Other than food, there are also vendors selling fake label handbags, t-shirts, watches, and accessories. Yes, these are no different from those in Petaling Street.

Gallery

Getting There and Around

Being in proximity to Pasar Seni LRT Station, the bus hub adjacent to it, and Petaling Street provides Central Market with excellent accessibility.

By Train

LRT Train Approaching Platform
LRT Train Approaching Platform

The nearest train station from Central Market is the Pasar Seni LRT Station. The station is just one stop away from KL Sentral.

Here are the steps to follow to get yourself from Pasar Seni LRT Station to Central Market:

  1. After coming down from the platform, follow the signs pointing towards Pasar Seni or Central Market.
  2. Walk down a flight of stairs.
  3. Walk straight until you are at the side of a road called Jalan Tun Sambanthan.
  4. Cross the road.
  5. Continue walking straight, and you will end up in Central Market’s car park.
  6. The entrance to the market should be on your right.

By Foot

Many backpackers stay in the Petaling Street area because it is where you can find the cheapest hostels in Kuala Lumpur. If you are also putting up in the area, a short walk is all you need to reach Central Market.

From Petaling Street / Chinatown Area

Walking from Petaling Street to Central Market takes about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your starting point.

Here are the directions to follow:

  1. Walk towards the section of Petaling Street covered with a green roof.
  2. Walk along the roofed section until you reach an intersection where you can see Hong Leong Bank and Restoran Kim Lian Kee.
  3. Face towards the roofed section beside Hong Leong Bank.
  4. Continue walking straight until you reach a busy intersection with two-way traffic. (Note: If you arrive at an intersection of one-way streets, you are at the wrong place. Turn back and walk straight all the way to the other end.)
  5. Cross the busy two-way street using the traffic lights and pedestrian crossing provided.
  6. Make a left turn and continue walking for about 3 minutes.
  7. You will see Kasturi Walk, and its pewter-made wau bulan arches on your right.
  8. Walk onto the street, and you will soon see at Central Market’s main entrance.

By Bus

Central Market is near Pasar Seni Bus Hub, which is just beside Pasar Seni LRT Station. Taking the following bus services to reach Central Market is not only convenient but also very affordable.

GOKL Buses

You can take a GOKL CityBus on the purple route to Pasar Seni Bus Hub, which is just beside Pasar Seni LRT Station. It will take around 3 to 5 minutes to walk from here to Central Market.

GOKL Citybus
GOKL Citybus

GOKL CityBus is a free bus service. It was introduced to ease traffic congestions around the city center.

You can spot these buses from far because their purple exterior is unique among buses in Kuala Lumpur.

Aside from Pasar Seni Bus Hub, key stops for GOKL CityBuses on the purple route include:

  • KL Tower
  • Starhill Gallery (interchange stop between purple, green and blue bus routes)
  • Pavilion Kuala Lumpur (interchange stop between purple, green and blue bus routes)

Key stops on its green route are:

  • Suria KLCC / PETRONAS Twin Towers / KLCC Park
  • Starhill Gallery (interchange stop between purple, green and blue bus routes)
  • Pavilion Kuala Lumpur (interchange stop between purple, green and blue bus routes)

Key stops on its blue route are:

  • Dang Wangi LRT Station
  • Starhill Gallery (interchange stop between purple, green and blue bus routes)
  • Pavilion Kuala Lumpur (interchange stop between purple, green and blue bus routes)
  • Jalan Tun Razak Bus Terminal (interchange stop between blue and red bus routes)

Key stops on its red route are:

  • Independence Square
  • National Mosque
  • National Museum
  • KL Sentral
  • Kuala Lumpur KTM Station
  • Chow Kit Wet Market
  • Chow Kit Monorail Station

KL Hop-On Hop-Off

KL Hop-On Hop-Off tour buses have a stop (Station 9) opposite Central Market. All you need to do to reach Central Market is to cross the road once you got off the bus.

KL Hop-On Hop-Off is a bus service offering travelers a tour around Kuala Lumpur. Its buses stop at popular attractions around the city. Travelers can then choose when to get off the bus to explore an attraction further.

KL Hop-On Hop-Off buses stop at Central Market (Station 9) every 30 to 40 minutes.

There is a 24-hour and a 48-hour ticket for the bus service. You can buy the tickets online or as you board one of the distinguished double decker buses.

The prices of tickets are as follow:

24-Hour Ticket (Without MyKad / MyKid)
Adult: RM45.00
Child: RM24.00

24-Hour Ticket (With MyKad / MyKid)
Adult: RM19.00
Child: RM12.00

48-Hour Ticket (Without MyKad / MyKid)
Adult: RM79.00
Child: RM43.00

48-Hour Ticket (With MyKad / MyKid)
Adult: RM32.00
Child: RM20.00

If you are a foreigner, buying your tickets on their website get you RM5 off every ticket purchase.

RapidKL City Buses

RapidKL City Buses stop at the Pasar Seni Bus Hub just beside the Pasar Seni LRT Station. From the bus hub, you can walk for about 3 to 5 minutes to reach Central Market.

You can take a RapidKL Bus from the following places of interest to Central Market, and vice versa:

From/To Mid Valley Megamall:
Bus Number 600, 602, 640, 641, 650, 651, 671, 770, 781 and 822.

From/To Little India:
Bus Number 600, 602, 640, 641, 651, 671, 751, 770 and 781.

From/To Sunway Pyramid
Bus Number BET3, BET4, 641 and 770.

From/To 1 Utama Shopping Center
Bus Number 780.

From/To IKEA Damansara
Bus Number 780.

From/To Bangsar Village
Bus Number 822.

From/To Bangsar Shopping Center
Bus Number 822.

From/To Publika Shopping Gallery
Bus Number 851.

From/To KL Sentral:
Bus Number BET3, BET4, 600, 602, 640, 641, 650, 651, 671, 750, 751, 770, 772, 780, 781, 782, 821 and 822.

From/To Masjid Jamek LRT Station:
Bus Number 180 and 851.

From/To Bangsar LRT Station:
Bus Number BET3, BET4, 750, 751, 772, 780, 782, 821 and 822.

From/To Abdullah Hukum LRT Station:
Bus Number 772, 780 and 782.

From/To Universiti LRT Station:
Bus Number 772, 780 and 781.

From/To Asia Jaya LRT Station:
Bus Number 750.

From/To Awan Besar LRT Station:
Bus Number 651.

From/To Chow Kit Monorail Station:
Bus Number 180.

By Ride-hailing Services

Registering an account with GRAB or Uber after clicking on the links below gives you and kuaby RM10 worth of free rides.

GRAB and Uber are the preferred ride-hailing services in Kuala Lumpur. You can use them to travel from the city center or anywhere in the Klang Valley to Central Market.

If you have never used either of these services before, here are the steps to register an account:

GRAB

  1. Click on this link to register a GRAB account.
  2. Download GRAB to your mobile phone from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  3. Open the app and follow the steps to sign in.
  4. Select your pickup spot.
  5. Search for “CENTRAL MARKET” and use it as your drop-off spot.
  6. Click on “Book” and a driver will be on his or her way.

Uber

  1. Click on this link to register an Uber account.
  2. Download Uber to your mobile phone from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  3. Open the app and follow the steps to sign in.
  4. Set your pickup location by either searching for it or by moving the pin on the map.
  5. Tap on the “+” icon beside your pickup location.
  6. Search for “Central Market” and tap on it to set your destination.
  7. Tap on “REQUEST uberX” and a driver will be on his or her way.

Taking a ride around the city center using either these services will cost around RM5 to RM20, depending on distance and traffic conditions. These apps will show you the approximate fare before you confirm your request.

By Taxi

Most taxi drivers in the city center know the directions to Central Market. They will drop you off at the taxi stand near the main entrance.

It is well-known that taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur may quote exorbitant fares for travelers, citing poor traffic conditions, the long distance, rain or other excuses. Insist on paying according to the meter or at least a reasonable fixed fare.

Use a ride-hailing service if you cannot find a taxi driver who is willing to cooperate.

The following is a list of estimated taxi fares from key attractions around Kuala Lumpur to Central Market:

  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Central Market: RM70 to RM120
  • PETRONAS Twin Towers to Central Market: RM10 to RM20
  • Bukit Bintang to Central Market: RM8 to RM18
  • Mid Valley Megamall to Central Market: RM10 to RM20
  • KL Tower to Central Market: RM8 to RM17
  • Batu Caves to Central Market: RM20 to RM35

The estimated fares above are for budget taxis. The final amount may vary due to traffic conditions. Also, the estimated fares above do not include the 50% midnight surcharge.

Things to Note

  • Beware of ride-by snatch thieves, especially when you are crossing or walking along the roads around the area.
  • Walk against the traffic and pay attention to oncoming motorcyclists.

Opening Hours

Opens daily, from 10:00 am to 9:30 pm.

Admission Fees

Free

Facilities

  • Toilet
  • Baby changing room
  • Prayer room
  • Wheelchairs

Parking

First Hour: RM3.00
Subsequent Hours: RM2.00 per hour

From 5:00pm to 6:59am: RM4 per entry

Lost Ticket: RM30.00

Contact Information

Address

Central Market Management Office (Central Market Sdn Bhd)
Lot 3.04-3.06, Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia

Phone Number

1300 22 8688

Email Address

[email protected]

Website

http://www.centralmarket.com.my/

GPS Coordinates

3.1453177, 101.6931809

Travel Blog Mentions

Dancers Performing a Cultural Dance
Dancers Performing a Cultural Dance

Strolling Around Central Market

Ahmed Ijaz, a travel blogger from Maldives, documented his visit to Central Market in January 2016. He found out that prices at Central Market are somewhat higher than Petaling Street, but it is still possible to find great bargains.

How I Ended Up on Stage at Pasar Seni

Iza Sanchez found herself on stage during one of the cultural performances at Central Market. A dancer invited her to the stage before showing her the dance steps of a traditional dance. In her blog post, you will find beautiful pictures of these dancers entertaining the crowd in their graceful smiles.

The Street Artists in Central Market, Kuala Lumpur

This blog post about Central Market by Shloke in December 2012 is somewhat dated, but it captured something that a lot of other travel bloggers missed. Instead of shops inside the market, he took photos of artists selling their art at Annexe Central Market. He even had conversations with them while taking their pictures, making the blog post a unique and intriguing piece for those who are into portrait photography.

Central Market Kuala Lumpur on Pinterest

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Wayne Liew

Wayne fell in love with traveling and every aspect of it when he traveled to Singapore in 2013. He is a newbie when it comes to traveling and he loves chatting with other travelers to learn from their experiences. Are you a traveler? Let’s connect!

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    • Hey Juander Woman, traveling around Kuala Lumpur by bus will definitely be cheaper than by train. There is also a free bus service that goes around the city center called GO KL: https://www.kuaby.com/central-market-kuala-lumpur/#GOKL_Buses

      However, due to traffic, bus arrival times might get delayed, especially during peak hours or when it rains. Trains have arrival times that are more predictable and they are not affected by traffic conditions.

  1. Hi Wayne,

    Thank you for providing such an informative write-up about Central Market. Appreciate if you can update the weekly performance at Central Market. We now showcase cultural performances every Saturday from 8.00 to 8.30pm, normally at the Outdoor Stage or if it rains, behind our Information Counter. On and off, we always organise events follwing festive celebrations and special/international days.

    Thanks!