petaling street market kuala lumpur

Before you start, you should really read days 1 and 2 (part 1 and part 2), day 3, and day 4. Honestly, they’re not terrible.

Day 5 and we are off to CHINATOWN today, and the Petaling Street market Kuala Lumpur.

Free Bus To petaling street market kuala lumpur

One of the main reasons we came to Malaysia was the draw of the food. The country has culinary influences from across the region and when in Kuala Lumpur we absolutely had to visit Chinatown and the famous Petaling Street market. Starting to find our feet a bit in KL now, and we caught the FREE Go KL bus there. This is a superb service, and to quote the website:
Go KL City Bus service is an S.P.A.D. initiative to improve public mobility into the Central Business District (CBD) of Kuala Lumpur. Rakyat & tourists alike may enjoy Go KL as Go KL stops at various main attractions & business centres for city dwellers’ convenience. If you happen to be in KL and spot a light purple bus near you, just hop on the bus and enjoy the ride!

The free KL bus

Pretty great, regular services, good, new buses, and free!

Fifteen or so minutes later and we got off in Chinatown and immediately we were assaulted. Assaulted with tremendous smells, sights and sounds of food being cooked on the street (well, on cooking equipment placed on the street).

The bustling crowds were drawing us just fifty yards forward to the top of the Petaling Street market, so we headed in.

Petaling Street Market kuala lumpur: exploration

The market takes place on Petaling street and there is another street which bisects it. It’s all under cover, and nicely decorated with Chinese lanterns overhead.

Petaling Street market

The Petaling Street market Kuala Lumpur is famous for really does seem to sell everything. As you make your way down the street, you can purchase clothes, sunglasses and belts, bags, electronics, fruit, toys… really it’s all here. There’s even a stall with a man out front trimming his nose hair, and further round we saw a chap cutting his toenails whilst manning the stall. It’s basically like InShops. Remember InShops?
You will be cajoled and addressed by every stall holder, but we are used to this now.
We got ourselves some melon, some rose apple (delicious and refreshing), picked up a few bits (including new earphones, given that mine opted to stop working on the journey to Malaysia), and hovered around a bakery admiring the goodies. We couldn’t resist getting something so purchased some ‘husband cake’, some ‘wife cake’, and some other little buns.

Husband and wife cakes

These are little baked parcels with different fillings, including the peculiar but delicious red bean paste. Superb, and a matter of 2 or 3 Ringgit each (£0.40 – £0.60).

Husband cake, filled with red bean paste

After ensuring we had been seen all the stalls, given PY Jr ample opportunity to ask for every item in the market (and us the challenge of finding different, valid-sounding reasons why she couldn’t have EVERYTHING) and settled on buying a fan for her for 10RM (£2), we headed out into Chinatown to get some money out of the atm for lunch in a recommended restaurant.

Improvements In Chinatown

The area around the market is undergoing a LOT of work. New pavements, roadworks, the lot. They are obviously looking to properly make this area accessible to reflect it’s popularity, which is only a good thing. Unfortunately, it means the difficulty in navigating the area with a pushchair is stepped up a notch. It’s a bit dicey, truth be told. If you enjoy physically-challenging, obstacle-based endurance events like Tough Mudder or are familiar with skills required in navigating active warzones, you’re well set for exploring KL with a pushchair. Not all areas are bad but some are pretty ropey.
We get to the atm and realise we have no bank card, so are down to our last 13RM. Blast. We opt for a local bakery to take out some bread-based snacks. PY Jr Jr selects a sweetbread with raisins, and the rest of us have a strange sweetbread with cheese on top and sugar sprinkled on for 3RM a piece.

Mmmm. Sweet, cheesy treat

After a look at the local Chinese and also Hindu temple, we head back to catch the bus.

Ornate Hindu temple

There is one waiting and it’s much quieter than the one we took to get here. Some room-chilling, some swimming pool, then out to Jalan Alor for dinner. The fan purchased from the market is now broken and the 10RM price looks high by about 10RM. I cobble together a fix with a twist-tie from one of the sets of earphones.

Thai-ing Up The Day

The Lonely Planet recommendation of Beh Bros was our choice for a sit-down (outside) meal on Jalan Alor.

Playing in/on the street art on the way to dinner

A Thai restaurant, it was pleasingly busy when we arrived. As ever, Jalan Alor is packed and bustling with locals and tourists enjoying the food and drink. I’ve uploaded a video of the market from a 2-year-old’s point of view on our Instagram. The menu is longer than Remembrance of Things Past  so it takes us some time to select something.

Biggest restaurant menu ever (photo taken from 100 metres away)

We note ‘frog porridge’ advertised across the road.


The food is superb, and comes to us quickly. The dishes were around 10RM (£2) each, filling, delicious, and hot. This may be our best meal yet.
After getting an ice lolly (NOT DURIAN FLAVOUR) we head back to the Ramada, and I go back out to exchange some GBP into Ringgit.

If you are looking to change currency, it’s best to just change enough to get you to the hotel (plus a little for emergency), then exchange in the city. We found a rate of 5.20 Ringitt to the Pound as the best rate, but given that we left it until only a few days before we left and that included a bank holiday and a weekend, the best we were offered was 5.10. The main shopping areas and malls all have a currency exchange in, and you will get a better rate. For example, I exchanged £500 and got a rate of 5.30, a total of 2650RM. That’s 100RM (£20) more than the 5.10 ‘short notice’ rate, a night of accomodation!

I try the new earphones and they quickly give me a message in Chinese. I assume they need charging. Back a the hotel I do some blog work, charge the headphones, and fantasise about a bowl of pasta and some decent bread. The tipping situation is clarified; in Malaysia there is generally not a tipping culture  though tips will not be refused if offered.
Before heading to bed, I assess the earphones. Yeah they’re rubbish and don’t work. And the fan looks a goner. Note to self: the quality of market-bought goods can vary greatly.
I’m a bit concerned about that pacemaker I bought…

We leave Kuala Lumpur tomorrow, but if you want to jump ahead to our RETURN TO KL, feel free!