Street market in Jalan Petaling, the heart of Kuala Lumpur City Centre's Chinatown
Kuala Lumpur's City Centre is the tradition heart of Malaysia's capital city, both in terms of administration as well as trade and commerce.
The City Centre comprises the former colonial administrative district just west of the confluence of the Klang and Gombak River, where Kuala Lumpur was founded. At the heart of the colonial district is Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) where Malaysia's independence was declared. Many other colonial-era building surround the square. To the west of the square lies the pretty Lake Gardens while to the south, you'll find the National Mosque, KL's Moorish-style old railway station, and several museums including the Islamic Arts Museum and the National Museum.
KL's traditional commercial district lies to the east of the Klang River. The area's narrow streets are lined with traditional Chinese shops, markets and eateries, and is now commonly referred to as KL's Chinatown. Although the old pre-World War Two shophouses are quickly disappearing and being replaced with modern buildings, the area is still fascinating enough for a wonder. Chinatown is also where you can find budget accommodation.
The easiest way to get to the City Centre is by rail, whether by light rail transit or the KTM Komuter. The monorail does not serve the City Centre.
The main stations of the Kelana Jaya LRT line are Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek while the stations of the Ampang LRT Line in this district are Plaza Rakyat and Masjid Jamek. Take the Kelana Jaya Line to the City Centre if you are coming from the KL Sentral transportation hub in Brickfields.
If you are coming from the suburbs of KL, catch the KTM Komuter. The main stations in the district are Kuala Lumpur (often referred to as the Old KL Station as opposed to KL Sentral), and Bank Negara, although there will be a fair bit of walking from both stations to get to any attraction.
Almost all bus routes start and end in the City Centre. The main bus terminals are Pasaraman Kota (or the Klang Bus Station), Terminal Sultan Mohamed or Pasar Seni (opposite Pasarama Kota), Kotaraya (Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock), Bangkok Bank (Jalan Tun H.S. Lee), Sinar Kota (Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin, formerly Jalan Silang) and Puduraya.
Some routes, especially those by RapidKL, may end at the outskirts of the City, such as at KL Sentral or Titiwangsa. You'll be able to catch connecting City Shuttles from this terminal into the City Centre. See Kuala Lumpur's Get Around section for route details.
- Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) - Merdeka Square has a special place in the hearts of all Malaysian as it was here that the Union Jack was lowered for last time in 1957 and Malaysia gained her independence. Standing tall here is also one of the tallest flag poles in the world, measuring in at 100m. Surrounding the area are host of historical structures like Sultan Abdul Samad building (see below) and the Old City Hall. The Royal Selangor Club and St. Mary's Cathedral are two famous landmarks nearby.
- Sultan Abdul Samad Building - Originally the offices of the Colonial Secretariat, they later served as the first administrative centre of the Malayan government. Built in 1848 by British architects, A C Norman and A B Hubback, this historical landmark is famed for its Islamic-inspired architecture. Today, it houses the Courts of Law. The 40-metre high clock tower is a popular gathering-point for New Year and National Day countdown celebrations and parades.
- Jamek Mosque (Masjid Jamek) - Located at the convergence of the Klang and Gombak rivers is the stately Masjid Jamek, one of the oldest mosques in the city since its construction in 1909. Inspired by the Mogul mosque in North India, this building's notable features are three elegant domes which dominated the KL skyline long before the popularity of skyscrapers.
- National Monument (Tugu Negara), Jalan Tugu Off Jalan Parlimen - This immense bronze structure was built as a memorial to the soldiers who gave up their lives for their country. This sculpture depicts seven soldiers holding the Malaysian flag, each symbolising one of seven qualities; unity, strength, leadership, sacrifice, courage, suffering and vigilance. It was sculpted by Felix de Weldon, who sculpted the famed Iwo Jima Memorial statue in Virginia, United States.
- Masjid Negara (National Mosque), Jalan Perdana - The Masjid Negara is unique in that it incorporates Malay-Islamic rather than the usual Arabic-Islamic architecture. It is known for its conspicuous turquoise umbrella-like roof. A yellow umbrella is usually part of the royal regalia of the sultans of Malay kingdoms.
- National Museum, Jalan Damansara, telephone 603-2282-6255, email firstname.lastname@example.org fax 603-2282-6434, http://www.museum.gov.my hours 9AM-6PM admission for adults RM2. Contains exhibits on traditional life among the various ethnic communities of Malaysia, numerous well-explained artifacts including fine clothing and shadow puppets and Orang Asli woodcarving pieces. The history section is divided into four galleries - Gallery A (prehistoric), Gallery B( Malay kingdoms), Gallery C (colonial era) and Gallery D (modern Malaysia). A visit to this museum can help you to understand more about Malaysian history and culture.
- Islamic Arts Museum (Muzium Kesenian Islam), Jalan Lembah Perdana,  - One of the most interesting museums in KL, the Islamic Arts Museum houses both modern and traditional Malaysia as part of the larger Islamic world and, through exhibitions of objects of religious and aesthetic significance, shows both the connection of Malaysian Islamic culture to the Muslim lands to its west and its uniqueness. Open Daily: 10.00AM to 6.00PM.
- The National Planetarium, Lot 54, Jalan Perdana, the attractions here include space science and astronomy exhibits, a theatre screening 3-Dimensional movies, a viewing gallery and an observatory. Admission is RM1 for adults and children over 12 (extra charges for all shows). Open Daily : 9:30AM to 4:15PM.
- Istana Negara (National Palace), Jalan Istana,  - The Istana Negara is the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the constitutional monarch and paramount ruler of Malaysia, which is a largely ceremonial post. Built in 1928 by a Chinese millionaire and occupied by Japanese officers during the Japanese occupation of Malaya, the palace, which sits on a 11.34 hectare site, was bought by the federal government at independence in 1957 and has since then undergone extensive renovations to become what it is today. Visitors can witness the changing of the guards daily from the main gate. The palace is not open to the public.
- Chan She Shu Yuen Clan Association, Jalan Petaling (Monorail Maharajalela) - The clan house (kongsi) of the Yuen family, this is the largest and oldest in KL, with the present version completed in 1906. Free admission (but donations welcome), open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. If you have trouble finding it, look for the green walled temple near Maharajalela monorail station (there are no English signs).
- Sze Ya Temple, Jalan Tun HS Lee - The oldest Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur built in 1882, it is located behind the old shophouses between Jalan Tun HS Lee and Jalan Hang Kasturi. The temple is dedicated to Shen Kong, worshipped as the guardian deity for the local Chinese miners and houses several other deities, including the deified Yap Ah Loy, third Kapitan Cina of KL. The ornate interior and elaborate roof ridges are typical of religious Chinese architecture and visitors can still see patrons conducting worship to the gods and the ancestors.
- Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Jalan Tun HS Lee - An elaborate Hindu temple known as the starting point of the yearly Thaipusam pilgrimage to the Batu Caves, where Hindu devotees haul portable altars pierced to their skin with 108 lances. Check out the elaborate gopuram above the entrance. Free admission (but donations welcome).
- Butterfly Park, Jalan Cenderawasih 50480 Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603-2693-4799. Experience the life cycle of the beautiful butterfly. Butterfly Park is home to over 120 species of butterflies. RM18 plus another RM1 if you wish to use your camera.
- Bird Park, No. 920 Jalan Lembah Taman Tasik Perdana 50480, ☎ +630-2272-1010, . 9AM - 8PM. From beautiful peacocks to the alien looking birds from all over the world, this 60-hectare bird park is home to 200 species. However it is expensive at RM42. You can actually experience part of the bird park without paying to go in by eating at the Hornbill Restaurant and Cafe, which is actually built within the bird park where you can get up close with some of the birds that wish to share your lunch including the large and entertaining hornbills. The restaurant is also not cheap, neither for tourists nor for locals who enjoy a measly discount on exorbitant prices.
- Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens, (Near Cenderawasih). 91.6 hectares of fascinating gardens holding exotic flowers around a large artificial lake. This park is popular among locals and tourist alike as a location to relax and take in the sunshine and beauty. Lake Gardens is very close to both the Bird Park and Butterfly Park.
- Chinatown, Jalan Petaling and nearby streets - Known as Chi-Chong-Kai (translated as Tapioca Factory Street due to its origins) to the local Chinese. Lots of food and souvenirs stalls here. A mosque known as Masjid Jamek is at walking distance. (Star LRT: Plaza Rakyat or PUTRA LRT: Pasar Seni). Prices are sometimes exorbitant. Haggle furiously.
- Central Market (Pasar Seni), Jalan Hang Kasturi (LRT Pasar Seni). KL's grand old market dates back to 1936, although it may have lost a bit of its charm when refurbished in 1986, complete with air-con inside. Has a particular emphasis on local crafts although many of them are from other SE Asian countries.
You will be able to find some of the most interesting places to eat at reasonable prices in this district. Chinatown is the place to head to for Chinese food while Lebuh Ampang just north of Chinatown is the place for Indian food. There are also the usual fastfood outlets like McDonalds and KFC.
- Lai Foong, 138 Jalan Tun HS Lee (corner of Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Jalan Tun HS Lee), ☎ 03 2072 8123. A classic Chinese coffeeshop with stalls offering a range of items. The beef noodles here is renowned throughout KL. Other items available include chicken and roast pork rice, prawn noodles and wantan mee.
- Soong Kee, 3 Jalan Tun Siew Sin (at the intersection with Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin (formerly Jalan Silang) and Jalan Tun H.S. Lee) - This is KL's most famous beef noodle shop, it is said to have started operating since 1945! It serves the noodles "dry" with beef mince while the beef balls are given separately in a bowl of soup.
- Kam Lin Kee (金莲記), (corner of Jalan Petaling and Jalan Hang Lekir, opp Hong Leong Bank) - No English sign, no menu in any language, and a kitchen you really don't want to look into - but it packs the crowds for its famous hokkien mee (fried noodles in dark sauce, RM5). Wash it down with a RM1 mug of cooling liang teh and soak in the busy market ambience.
- Lebuh Ampang banana leaf rice - The street is lined with banana leaf rice shops, just make your pick. One of them is Lakshmi Villas. For purely vegetarian food, you can try Bakti Woodlands.
There is little nightlife in this part of Kuala Lumpur, as most of the bars and clubs are in the Golden Triangle.
- San Francisco Coffee Express, LG-022 Lower Ground Floor, City Square Mall, ☎ +603-2284-7732. 8AM-11PM Monday - Friday, 8AM-Midnight Saturday & Sunday. San Francisco style in the heart of KL? You bet! Hot and cold coffee beverages and delicious cakes of all kinds.
- Raggae Bar, 158, Ground Floor, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee (on the edge of the Jalan Petaling night market), ☎ 03 2026 7690, . Popular drinking hole for backpackers. They also serve Asian and Western food.
You will be able to find the cheapest beds in KL in this district, most in Chinatown. However, you tend to get what you pay for, and very cheapest rumah tumpangan guesthouses, mostly rented by the hour or used by foreign workers, are health and safety hazards that are best avoided. For more upscale accommodation, see Golden Triangle instead; and if you're looking for hotels around the KL Sentral station, see Brickfields.
- Hotel Petaling No. 121 - 123 Jalan Petaling 50000 Kuala Lumpur - Clean and cheap hostel along Petaling Street run by friendly Malaysian-Chinese owners. Tel: (603) 20789971, Fax: (603) 20789863
- Etika Inn, 76A Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, ☎ 603-20322676. Unassuming with its small, easy-to-miss entrance, this friendly guesthouse has the biggest rooms in Chinatown. All come with attached bathrooms with hot water shower, and it's sparkly clean. At 65RM for a single and 80 RM for a double/triple, it's in the high end of the low budget, but a very good deal. Wifi is available in all the rooms. 65-80 RM.
- Dorsett Regency Hotel Kuala Lumpur, . Offers fully air-conditioned rooms, all of which have 32-inch LCD TV with satellite channels, in-house movies, free Internet connection, and mini-bar. Spa, lounge by the pool, Kuala Lumpur restaurants available. Best rates on official website start at MYR 228.
- Heritage Hotel, Bangunan Stesen Keretapi, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, ☎ (+60)3-2273-5588 (email@example.com, fax: (+60)3-2273-7566), . Housed in KL's beautiful old railway station (one stop away from KL Sentral). Offers backpacker packages starting as low as RM18 with breakfast. The facilities are borderline but acceptable, but the old, ramshackle building makes up for it. It is a beautiful place with a certain splendor. Some parts of it can be really disgusting though (There was dried cat poo in the 4th floor halls in September 09, and the carpet in the rooms had not been hoovered in a long long time), and some rooms are much newer than others. We recomment you check first. Also some of the staff is completely incompetent (Receptionnist forgets your wake up call because "I'm alone at the desk!"). Wifi in the lobby. Full hotel rooms start at RM60. Walk-in prices are around RM85
- Chinatown Boutique Hotel, No.34 Jalan Hang Lenkir (right at the corner with Jalan Sultan) 50000 Kuala Lumpur, ☎ (+60)3-2072 3388 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: (+60)3-2072 3389). checkout: 12.00. This is a spanking new hotel opened near the heart of Chinatown. Being a bit excentred it is still fairly quiet, and the rooms look really really great for that budget. Bathrooms are top notch. Everything is ultra-clean. Some room are smaller than others (the ones overlooking the parking in the back namely), and some have bigger windows, so you may want to check first. Windows are all quite thick and sound proof (noise from Jalan Sultan never was a problem). There is 24hr CCTV, and (slow!) Wifi in the rooms. The staff is mostly Chinese Malay, and has proved pleasant and helpful. No breakfast is included. Rooms are RM100 weekdays, RM130 holidays and weekends. You can bargain with the boss, he is often in the lobby. RM100-130.
- Le Village Tingkat 1 Banguan BSN 99A Jln Tun H.S. Lee - Two lots from the Bangkok Bank building, look for the tiny sign on the concrete pillar. Located in a colonial three-storey building near the Puduraya bus station and Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek LRT stations. Great Atmosphere and friendly, helpful Malay staff. Painting sessions on Thursdays in the attic. Free Tea & Coffee and free distilled water, plus free to use kitchen facilities. Rooms are spread out on three floors. Lounge with TV on 2nd and 3rd levels. Dorms for RM15, singles 25 RM, doubles/twins from RM35. Internet available at nominal charge. You will have to leave your shoes at the staircase after you enter the metal gate. Guests will be given a six-digit number code to open the gate. Some guests report bedbugs.
- Matahari Lodge, 58-1 Jln Hang Kasturi (opp Pasar Seni LRT), ☎ +60-3-20705570, . Squeaky clean hostel/guesthouse, with private air-con single and double rooms, but shared showers. Single rooms are windowless but quiet. TV lounge, free breakfast (toast/coffee) and free wifi. Very central location and easy to find. RM 40/70.
- Oasis Guest House Upper Floor 125 Jalan Petaling - Across the street from the Petaling Street Market, a brand-new (opened in May 2008) laidback place with free tea, coffee, kitchen and fridge use, rooftop terrace, TV/chill area. Nice place to stay. RM12 for dorm, 20 for single w/fan, 30 for single w/air-con. It is the only guesthouse that has a tout wandering around Chinatown and the bus-station. This guy will not help any possible guests with getting a metered taxi or tell them it is a short walk from the bus station to Chinatown.
- Monkee Inn (Traveller-friendly. Meet other travelles in the common area.), 48 Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +6-032-072-4229 (email@example.com, fax: +6-032-072-4271), . Plenty of rooms come in all shapes and sizes in this traveller-friendly multi-storeyed guesthouse. Wifi is available in some of the rooms that differ in size, quality and price. Check out a few rooms and find the best for you as higher price is not an indicator of higher quality. All rooms come with breakfast and free use of the common area with internet, tv, dvds and exchanging traveller tales. Dorm beds in a clean room with wifi and aircon - 25 RM. Private rooms - from 30 to 80 RM. 25-80.
- My City Hotel, 118-120A, Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ☎ +60 (3) 2026 6288, . City Hotel Kuala Lumpur is set in the heart of China Town on the famous Petaling Street. The hotel is located just a 5-minute walk from the Pasar Seni train station, and is only a short train ride from the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), the business district and other hot spots. City Hotel is been always the best hotel choice for guest whose seeking for a budget, modern, convenient, comfortable and secure accommodation. Best rates on official website start at MYR 98.00″.
- Carcosa Seri Negara, Taman Tasik Perdana, ☎ +603 7622 6600, . Offers fully air-conditioned rooms and suites, all of which have television, IDD with access to internet, and espresso coffee and tea making facilities. Some of its amenities include private butler, private bar, and landscaped garden with outdoor seating. While staying here, it is a must for you to try The Veranda Restaurant, which offers a modern interpretation of Malay cuisine. Best rates on official website start at MYR 1,100.
- Citin Hotel Masjid Jamek, Lot No. 7, Seksyen 33, Jalan Melayu, Off Jalan Masjid India, 50100 Kuala Lumpur (1 minute walk to Masjid Jamek Station), ☎ +60 3 2693 2999 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +60 3 2693 2988), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Brand new hotel, spitting distance from Little India. Rooms are simple and comfortable yet fun and trendy. And they have all the mod-cons required: air-condition, 22" LCD TV, free WiFi and an ensuite bathroom. Facilities include a Cafe and Room Service though operating hours are limited. Rates are from MYR 115 depending on time of year.
- Hotel Chinatown 2, 70 - 72 Jalan Petaling, Tel : +60 3 2145 9599(General), +60 3 2145 2593(Reservation),  - Hotel Chinatown 2 has nice atmosphere and a lot of foreigners staying there. At night it is noisy, shouting and cleaning the street until 3 AM (like all hotels on this street). Room with window and a/c 100RM.
- D’Oriental Inn Chinatown, KL, 82 & 84, Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia, Tel: 60-3-2273 9999,  – D’Oriental Inn Chinatown, KL is a quiet and comfortable retreat located at the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s shopping district.
- Phoenix Hotel, No. 57 Jalan Sungai Besi, 57100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia, ☎ +603-9222 8668, . The 46 guestrooms have air-conditioning, cable TV, Internet access, and IDD phone. There is a conference room with Wi-Fi access, and the location makes it merely 15 minutes away from Suria KLCC, KL Sentral, and other landmarks. ″.
- Hotel Sabrina, No. 83, Jalan Bukit Bintang (In the heart of the golden triangle in Kuala Lumpur fronting the shopping and entertainment paradise of Jalan Bukit Bintang), ☎ +6-03-21420255, . Best rates on official website start at MYR 90.
- The Westin Kuala Lumpur, 199, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, 55100 Malaysia, ☎ (+60)3-2773 8338, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00.
- Le Meridien Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 2 Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, 50470 Malaysia, ☎ (+60)3-2263 7888 (email@example.com, fax: (603) 2161 1122), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00.
- Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur, 165, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ☎ (603) 2161 1111 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: (603) 2161 1122), . Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur is located along the prestigious Jalan Ampang, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur's business, shopping and entertainment district.
- Maytower Hotel Serviced Apartments, No.7, Jalan Munshi Abdullah, tel. +603-26929298, . 179 and serviced apartments.
- Midah Hotel, 8, Jalan Kampung Attap, Tel: 60-3-2273 9999,  - Midah Hotel a Superior Business City Hotel, is located within the commercial and business hub of Kuala Lumpur. 10 mins walking distance to China Town.
- Twin Tower View, Bistari Condominium (Close to PWTC (Putra World Trade Centre)), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. Two bedroom apartment available to rent as a holiday home. Located in a condominium opposite PWTC train station. Great view across KL city centre. Air con, ceiling fans, wifi internet, swimming pool. $110 per night. (3.1683,101.6938)
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