An Insider Guide To Petaling Street For Malaysians Playing Tourist

An Insider Guide To Petaling Street For Malaysians Playing Tourist

Think you know it all about Petaling Street? Here is an insider guide for the next time you want to play tourist and change your perspective. (Left: Image by @thehungrytapir. Right: Image by @ongray8924.)

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Are you looking to explore deeper into Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur (KL)? Well, this article may spark further interest in you to do so. If you feel like it’s high time to reacquaint yourself with Downtown KL at Petaling Street, keep in mind that there are many cool things to do (and eat).

So much has changed about this quirky area in Downtown KL, and it’s no longer just a place to score some counterfeit goods or souvenirs for friends overseas. Petaling Street has transformed itself into a fantastic place that doesn’t try too hard to be trendy, but is uber cool in more ways than one. There are countless cafes, art spaces, restaurants, bars, and plenty of tourist attractions.

So, here’s a roundup of some of the things we did when playing tourists in Petaling Street.

Safety tip: While some may be confident to wander the streets at night alone, we recommend staying safe by getting a friend (or two) to tag along. Plus, it’ll be more fun with some company.

1. Visit a hidden gem amidst urban living – The Hungry Tapir

If you’re exploring Petaling Street after sundown, visit one of the many hip restaurants in the area for dinner. Most, if not all, are open for business until 10pm, so do plan accordingly to avoid disappointment.

We headed to The Hungry Tapir for our chosen grazing spot, which opens till late and is a trendy vegan and vegetarian restaurant with a full-fledged bar. Pretty much everything on their East-meets-West fusion menu is plant-based.

If you’re one to document cool places on Instagram, this one is worthy of a Reels, thanks to its aesthetically-pleasing decor. Check out their menu to make ordering more leisurely, and you can also make reservations online.

Address: 135, Jalan Petaling, Chinatown, 50000, Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2022 2137

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2. Explore the area on foot

Why not allow your dinner to digest by exploring the street on foot? If the weather is kind, you can enjoy your walk with a cool night’s breeze and take in the sights of busy hawker stalls selling food and goods and the night traffic. There is so much chaos to appreciate within this area, and if you pay attention, there’s beauty everywhere. We recommend carrying a small umbrella because Malaysian weather has been pretty unpredictable.

3. Lose yourself in Kwai Chai Hong

Truly an interesting place, Kwai Chai Hong is a heritage site that allows you to create memorable experiences and get in a few good shots for Instagram too. Depending on the festive season, this small lane does its best to regularly change the scene. Translating to ‘ghost alley’ in Cantonese, Kwai Chai Hong is a literal time portal that takes you back to the 1960s golden era of Chinatown.

Address: Lorong Panggung, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6012 316 6212

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4. Wander through the Chinatown area

No visit to Petaling Street is worthy of being claimed complete without a quick stroll through the Chinatown area. While it’s not so much of an attraction as in the ‘90s, this bustling and loud area is worth spending a little time on.

Practice your bargaining skills here if you fancy purchasing something that catches your eye. If catching COVID-19 is a concern, we recommend coming back during the day when there are fewer people. A daytime visit is also better for when you’re looking to get some snacks and enjoy a delicious local meal as some of the food stalls are only open during the day.

5. Follow your instincts and explore further out

Your sundown exploration in Petaling Street may have taken you to a later time in the night, and you’re likely to hear loud music coming from a distance. Go forth if you’re like us and want to follow the sound! It might be coming from a bar nearby. Or if you hear some classic Malay tunes, it’s probably blaring from a Malay stall selling delicious food.

Again, we cannot stress this enough, carry out your exploration of this area safely. And while it’s generally safe, we remind you to be wary of pickpockets.

On your way back to your mode of transportation, you’ll likely come across some stalls selling fresh flowers. Why not, literally, stop to smell them? Purchase some of these beauties to place in your home!

You may also walk by Guan Di Temple, which happens to be one of the oldest places of worship in Malaysia. While it’s only open from 7:30am to 4pm daily, you can still pause to read some interesting information about the temple on the signboards.

All in all, it’s always a great thing to explore the city you’re living in as if for the first time. If a friend is tagging along, it’ll make for a great bonding experience. Otherwise, you’re free to get to know KL intimately. This city is beautiful for many reasons; all we need to do is just look a little closer.

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Inspirations come in all shapes and sizes. I like writing them as they come by, and sharing what I know with the world. I aspire to inspire.