Petaling Street, or Chinatown Kuala Lumpur, is a busy street known for its food, caf́́és, and flea market.

Most of the traders and storekeepers here are Chinese, but you can also find Malays, Indians, and Bangladeshis manning the stalls. If you look carefully, some of the shophouses along the street are old buildings which are more than a century old.

Locals love to come here for the food, hidden bars, and cafés. Some of them arrive before dawn to buy their supply of meat, vegetables and other groceries at the wet market.

For tourists and backpackers, Petaling Street is the place to shop for cheap goods. There are many affordable hostels and budget hotels around this area too.

The street is most vibrant at night as visitors pour into the market for food and some light shopping. At the same time, stall keepers kick into high gear to call for your attention.

Attraction Type

Food and shopping.

Name in Local Language

Malay: Jalan Petaling
Mandarin: 茨厂街 (cí chǎng jiē)

History

Petaling Street, which many called Chinatown Kuala Lumpur, is known among the Chinese as Chee Cheong Kai in Cantonese, which means Starch Factory Street.

In 1870, the Chinese got involved in the Klang War or Selangor Civil War (1867 to 1874). The two largest Chinese gangs in Kuala Lumpur at that time – the Hai San (based in Kuala Lumpur) and the Ghee Hin (based in Rawang and Kanching area) started fighting. As a result, they left the tin mines around the city in the cold.

After the war, they returned to the mines. However, the long neglect left the mines flooded, making them unusable.

Yap Ah Loy, the Kapitan (headman) governing the Chinese community in the city, then built a large tapioca mill in Petaling Street. The mill provided jobs for the Chinese miners and coolies, and that is how the Starch Factory Street nickname came about.

Key Attractions

The two things people come to Petaling Street for are food and shopping.

Street Food and Local Restaurants

Random Food Stall Around Petaling Street

Petaling Street is the place to go if you want to sample some local Chinese cuisines. The food here is so good even the locals frequent them.

Walk around the street, and you will see food stalls, food courts and restaurants offering a broad range of food and delicacies.

Having your meal in a dirty alleyway or beside a hectic street can be a turnoff for some. To decide whether to “risk it,” look at the number of people eating at these places. A stall is probably safe to try if it has many patrons.

The following is a list of local favorite Chinese dishes that are worth trying:

  • Hokkien noodles
  • Wonton noodles
  • Grilled fish
  • Assam laksa
  • Curry noodles
  • Air mata kucing (literally means cat’s tear drops, but it is a sweet drink made from dried longan, monk fruit, and winter melon)
Stall Selling Air Mata Kucing
Stall Selling Air Mata Kucing

The opening hours of the food stalls and restaurants vary. Those selling breakfasts will open as early as six or seven in the morning, while the rest may open until late past midnight.

Shopping

You can find all types of goods on sale at Petaling Street, especially at night.

Most of these goods are counterfeit branded goods. You can see these products at almost every corner once you stepped into the street. The irony is that there is actually a signboard near the entrance warning traders against the sale of imitated products.

You can find counterfeit bags, shoes, watches and other fashion accessories with either one of the iconic logos like Nike, Adidas, Rolex, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Coach, or many others. You name it, and they’ll have it.

Stalls Selling Clothes and Slippers
Stalls Selling Clothes and Slippers

Even though these goods are fakes, the price tag on them is not cheap. If you are buying one, be prepared to compare prices and haggle.

Aside from imitated goods, you can also find toys, gems, jewelry, fabrics, clothes, watches, bags and fashion accessories for sale here.

Gallery

Getting There and Around

Going to Petaling Street by taking an LRT train is the most convenient.

If you prefer to have extra comfort on your way there, opt for a ride-hailing service or a taxi instead.

On the other hand, buses are cheap, but waiting for one to arrive can take a long time. Also, it is not easy to figure out where the bus stops are in Kuala Lumpur.

By Train

The closest train station to Petaling Street is the Pasar Seni LRT Station, which is just one station away from KL Sentral.

Follow the instructions below once you get off the train:

  1. Get down from the platform using the stairs provided.
  2. Follow the signs, and walk through the turnstile after returning your token or tapping your transportation card on it.
  3. Walk straight until you reach a flight of stairs.
  4. Walk down the stairs, and continue walking straight until you arrive at a two-way street.
  5. Turn right without crossing the street.
  6. Walk for about 5 to 7 minutes, and you should see Petaling Street’s entrance arch on your right.

By Bus

Petaling Street is near Pasar Seni Bus Hub. Also, its entrance is just opposite Kota Raya Shopping Complex, which is a key stop for city buses in Kuala Lumpur.

From Kota Raya Shopping Complex

If your bus stops at Kota Raya Shopping Complex, all you need to do is to cross the busy street using the pedestrian bridge or the zebra crossings provided.

From Pasar Seni Bus Hub

If you are getting off at the Pasar Seni Bus Hub, follow the instructions below to reach Petaling Street:

  1. Walk out of the bus hub.
  2. Cross the one-way street (Jalan Hang Kasturi) beside the bus hub.
  3. Walk along the road until you reach an intersection with traffic lights.
  4. Turn right at the traffic light without crossing the two-way street (Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock).
  5. Walk straight for about 5 to 7 minutes, and you should see the entrance to Petaling Street on your right.

Taking the following bus services to reach Petaling Street is not only convenient but also very affordable.

GOKL City Buses

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.

These buses that are on the purple route stop at Pasar Seni Bus Hub. Other key stops on the purple route are:

  • 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 Tour Buses

KL Hop-On Hop-Off tour buses stop at Station 8 – Petaling Street every 30 to 40 minutes.

It 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.

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.

Rapid KL Buses

RapidKL Bus
RapidKL Bus

These two stops for Rapid KL Buses are the closest to Petaling Street:

  • Pasar Seni Bus Hub
  • Kota Raya Shopping Complex

Read the instructions here to find out how to get from these bus stops to Petaling Street.

You can take a RapidKL Bus from the following places of interest to Petaling Street, or vice versa.

FROM Little India to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 600, 602, 640, 641, 650, 651, 671, 770, and 781.

FROM Mid Valley Megamall to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET1, 600, 602, 640, 641, 650, 651, 671, 770, 781, and 822.

FROM Sunway Pyramid to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET3, BET4, 641, and 770.

FROM Bangsar Shopping Center to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 822.

FROM Publika Shopping Gallery to both Kota Raya Shopping Complex and Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 851.

FROM IKEA Mutiara Damansara to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET1 and 780.

FROM KL Sentral to Kota Raya Shopping Complex:
Bus Number 782 and 821.

FROM KL Sentral to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET3, BET4, 600, 602, 640, 641, 650, 651, 671, 770, 772, 780, and 781.

FROM Masjid Jamek LRT Station to both Kota Raya Shopping Complex and Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 851.

FROM Chow Kit Monorail Station to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 180.

FROM Bangsar LRT Station to Kota Raya Shopping Complex:
Bus Number 782, and 821.

FROM Bangsar LRT Station to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET3, BET4, 772, 780, and 822.

FROM Asia Jaya LRT Station to Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 770.

TO Mid Valley Megamall from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET1, 600, 602, 640, 641, 651, 671, 781, and 822.

TO Sunway Pyramid from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET3, BET4, and 641.

TO Bangsar Shopping Center from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 822.

TO Publika Shopping Gallery from both Kota Raya Shopping Complex and Pasar Seni Bus Hub):
Bus Number 851.

TO IKEA Mutiara Damansara from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET1 and 780.

TO KL Sentral from Kota Raya Shopping Complex:
Bus Number 821.

TO Masjid Jamek LRT Station from both Kota Raya Shopping Complex and Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 851.

TO Masjid Jamek LRT Station from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 180.

TO Bangsar LRT Station from Kota Raya Shopping Complex:
Bus Number 782 and 821.

TO Bangsar LRT Station from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number BET3, BET4, 772, 780, and 822.

TO Abdullah Hukum LRT Station from Kota Raya Shopping Complex:
Bus Number 782.

TO Abdullah Hukum LRT Station from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 772 and 780.

TO Universiti LRT Station from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 772, 780, and 781.

TO Asia Jaya LRT Station from Pasar Seni Bus Hub:
Bus Number 780.

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 Petaling Street.

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 “PETALING STREET (CHINATOWN)” and use it as your drop-off spot.
  6. Click on “Book.” A driver will then 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 “Destination required” field under your pickup location.
  6. Search for “Petaling Street Flea Market” and tap on it to set your destination.
  7. Tap on “REQUEST uberX.” A driver will then 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. What is great about these apps is that they will show the approximate fare before letting you confirm your request.

By Taxi

Most taxi drivers in the city center know the directions to Petaling Street. They will drop you off at the taxi stand in front of 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 Petaling Street:

  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Petaling Street: RM80 to RM120
  • PETRONAS Twin Towers to Petaling Street: RM10 to RM18
  • Bukit Bintang to Petaling Street: RM10 to RM15
  • Mid Valley Megamall to Petaling Street: RM15 to RM22
  • KL Tower to Petaling Street: RM10 to RM15
  • Batu Caves to Petaling Street: RM25 to RM35

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

Things to Note

  • Wear loose clothes. You will be sweating a lot due to the weather and the crowd.
  • Bring one or two packs of tissue paper. Use them to clean your cutleries before eating, and yourself after finishing your food.
  • Beware of pickpockets, especially at night when the street gets crowded.
  • Do not park along the roadside with yellow or white lines. The police often dispatch tow trucks to pull away illegally parked vehicles in the area.

Opening Hours

Opens 24 hours a day, all year round.

However, most of the shops close at late night.

Admission Fees

Free

Facilities

  • Toilet

Parking

There are paid parking spots provided by the KL City Hall (DBKL) along the roads around Petaling Street. However, empty spots are hard to find.

Head to the following parking areas where you will have better luck of finding a place to park your car:

  • Lorong Bandar 20: Turn left on Jalan Tun H. S. Lee right before Sri Mahamariamman Temple.
  • Jalan Sultan: Between Jalan Hang Jebat and Lorong Petaling.

Contact Information

Address

Jalan Petaling,
Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.

GPS Coordinates

3.145214,101.6953479

Travel Blog Mentions

Food Stall Selling Dumplings
Food Stall Selling Dumplings

Kuala Lumpur: Crave for More

Justinas and Eisvė visited Kuala Lumpur, and specifically Petaling Street, in January 2017. They captured one key element of the street that many travelers do not pay attention to when they are wandering around Kuala Lumpur – the street art. Hop over to see art pieces that they encountered when they were at Petaling Street.

Chinatown | Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur

Geri, a food and lifestyle blogger from Singapore, visited Petaling Street in October 2016. In her blog post, she showcases different food stalls that are worth trying. If you are planning to drop by Petaling Street during your Kuala Lumpur trip, then you need to read her blog post.

Petaling Street & Madras Lane, Kuala Lumpur

Chopinand, the food and travel blogger behind this blog post, is from Sydney, Australia. Aside from the street itself, Chopinand also wandered to the wet market and Madras Lane, a small alley along Petaling Street that is famous among locals for its food stalls.

Petaling Street 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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    • Hi Ling, maybe you should have posted this under the KLCC Park guide? Haha, no worries, though. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. Yeah, the park is huge and the free musical fountain show every evening is amazing.