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 II 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.
Trains are very convenient for transportation in KL.
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.
Two new FREE bus services started 1st September 2012. The purple bus service starts at Pasar Seni and travels to the shopping area of Bukit Bintang where it links up with the green bus service that loops around KLCC. 
- 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 100 m. 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 m 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.
- Kuala Lumpur Railway Station is a Moorish-style masterpiece designed by Arthur Benison Hubback, a British Architectural Assistant to the Director of Public Works. As well as suburban trains and express trains to Ipoh, it houses a mini-museum of Malaysian railway history.
- 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. ☎ +60 3 2282-6255, [email protected] (fax:+60 3 2282-6434),  hours 9AM-6PM admission for foreigners RM5. 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-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.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple with elaborate gopuram
- 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 8AM-5PM. 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, ☎ +60 3 2693-4799. Experience the life cycle of the beautiful butterfly. Butterfly Park is home to over 120 species of butterflies. RM20 (children RM10) plus another RM4 if you wish to use your video camera.
- Bird Park, No. 920 Jalan Lembah Taman Tasik Perdana 50480, ☎ +60 3 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 RM48 (children RM38). 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.
- Free Bus, . Catch the regular free Purple bus service running from Pasar Seni station to Bukit Bintang / Pavilion shopping area.
- 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. Local vendors in the shopping district can be extremely aggressive to couples and women, yelling and calling them names. Restaurant customers on Jalan Petaling can be treated with shocking disrespect.
- 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 A/C inside. Has a particular emphasis on local crafts although many of them are from other SE Asian countries.
- Hello Laundry (Laundry), 38 Jalan Walter Greenier. BB. (Monorail: Bukit Bintang), ☎ 0192265450, . 8-8 except Sundays. Drop-off or DIY laundry (coin operated).
Get away from the hub-bub of the markets and take high tea at Carcosa Seri Negara
, the former British High Commissioner's palace in Lake Gardens.
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), ☎ +60 3 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 a well known KL 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.
- Restoran Vinni Jeyaa, Jalan Sultan Mohammed (in the middle of Jalan Sultan Mohammed, next to the Pasar Seni RapidKL Station). typical Indian restaurant (as for Malaysia) but with exceptionaly wide choice of Indian delicacies (both veg and non-veg). Very friendly staff and budget prices - full meal with drinks for two = around 13RM.
- Indian Restaurant in the Kuala Lumpur Old Train Station next to Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin. Prices and service similar as in Restoran Vinni Jeyaa.
- Viaggio Italian Restaurant (Viaggio Italian Restaurant), Lot 243, Jalan Sultan (Chinatown), 50000 Kuala Lumpur (Walking distance from Chinatown), ☎ +60 3 2031 6888, . daily from 7AM-11PM. Pizzas, pasta dishes are on the menu. Spacious, contemporary with open-concept kitchen. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner or for snacks.
- Carcosa Seri Negara Hotel, Taman Tasik Perdana, Persiaran Mahameru, 50480 Kuala Lumpur (in Lake Gardens), ☎ +603 2295 0888, . Lunch - 12:00 noon – 2:30 pm, English Afternoon Tea - 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Dinner - 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm. Colonial-style high tea in the former British High Commissioner's palace in Lake Gardens. Lunch and dinner also available.
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, ☎ +60 3 2284 7732. 8AM-11PM Monday - Friday, 8AM-Midnight Saturday-Sunday. Hot and cold coffee beverages and delicious cakes of all kinds.
- Reggae Bar, 158, Ground Floor, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee (on the edge of the Jalan Petaling night market), ☎ +60 3 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.
- Eclipse Guesthouse, 55, Jalan Sultan (Chinatown), ☎ +60 3 2022 0836. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12 noon. Single rooms, double and dorms. Air-con or fan. Free breakfast, wifi & internet, common room with DVDs, kitchen. Clean, cosy, dynamic atmosphere. RM20-30.
- Hostel Travel Hub, 15 JL Balai Polis (Behind The Traffic Police HQ), ☎ +60 3 2630 2955, . checkin: 1PM; checkout: 12 noon. Run by a friendly Sri Lankan family. Air-con and breakfast included with free wifi and no curfews. Clean, very safe and basic. RM25-90.
- AnCasa Express at Pudu, 4th floor Puduraya Terminal, ☎ 6 03 2072 2688, . All rooms equipped with air-conditioning, telephone, private toilet and bath. Facilities include services are cafe, transit lounge, wake-up call, parking, airport and city transfers. These places of interest near the hotel are but a few of the things visitors can enjoy in the Malaysian capital: Pudu Plaza, Petronas Towers and Orchid Garden. Rates start at 118 MYR.
- Hotel Petaling No. 121-123 JL Petaling. Clean and cheap hostel along Petaling Street run by Malaysian-Chinese owners. ☎ +60 3 2078 9971, (fax:+60 3 2078 9863)
- The Original Backpacker's Travellers Inn, 60 A, Jalan Sultan, ☎ +60 3 2078 2473, . No-frills, budget accommodation close to Bukit Bintang and Chinatown. 5 min walk from the Pasar Seni train station. Dorms are basic, no sheets are supplied except for a pillow and a mattress cover. Air-con is on 21:00-09:00only. Private rooms are small. Rooftop restaurant/bar for breakfast. Dorm RM11, twin from RM30 (bunkbed) to RM65 (A/C double with private bathroom)″.
- Reggae Guesthouse 2. Fairly new, guesthouse located next door to a reggae bar that runs past midnight so expect some noise. Very clean, modern 6 bed female/mixed dorms for RM35. No windows in dorm. Breakfast included. Entrance is guarded by electric lock and security cameras. Friendly and knowledgeable staff are available 24 hr and the rooms cleaned daily. Dorm RM35″.
- Etika Inn, 76A Jl Sultan, ☎ 60 3 2032 2676. Unassuming with its small, easy-to-miss entrance. Large rooms, attached bathrooms with hot water shower, clean. RM65 single and RM80 double/triple, wifi is available in all the rooms. RM65-80.
- Dorsett Regency Hotel Kuala Lumpur, "172, . Fully A/C rooms with 32" LCD TV, satellite channels, in-house movies, free internet connection and mini-bar. Spa, lounge by the pool. From RM228.
- Heritage Hotel, Bangunan Stesen Keretapi, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, ☎ +60 3 2273 5588 ([email protected], fax: +60 3 2273 7566), . Housed in KL's beautiful old railway station, one stop from KL Sentral). Backpacker packages from RM18 with breakfast. Varying standard of condition and cleanliness throughout, wifi in the lobby. Full hotel rooms start at RM60. Walk-in prices are around RM85
- Chinatown Boutique Hotel, No.34 Jl Hang Lenkir (At the corner with Jalan Sultan), ☎ +60 3 2072 3388 ([email protected], fax: +60 3 2072 3389). checkout: 12 noon. New hotel opened near Chinatown. Some rooms are smaller than others and some have bigger windows, so you may want to check first. Windows are all quite thick and sound proof so noise from Jalan Sultan is not a problem. 24 hr CCTV, and (slow) wifi in the rooms. No breakfast is included. RM100 weekdays, RM130 holidays and weekends.
- 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 3 storey building near the Puduraya bus station and Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek LRT stations. Great atmosphere and friendly, helpful staff. Rooms are spread out on 3 floors. Lounge with TV on 2nd and 3rd levels. Dorms for RM25, singles RM35, 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 6 digit number code to open the gate.
- Matahari Lodge, 58-1 Jl Hang Kasturi (opp Pasar Seni LRT), ☎ +60 3 2070 5570 ([email protected]), . checkin: 1PM; checkout: 12 noon. Clean hostel/guesthouse, with private air-con single, double rooms and mixed dormitory with shared showers. 24/7 reception with security system. Single and double rooms are windowless but quiet. Helpful staff, TV lounge, free breakfast (toast, tea & coffee) and internet (WiFi & sesktops @ TV lounge). RM30-76. (3.143976,101.695753)
- Oasis Guest House, Upper Floor 125 Jl Petaling. (Across the street from the Petaling Street Market). Rooftop terrace, TV/chill area. RM30 for dorm, RM40 for single w/fan, RM50 for single with air-con.
- Monkee Inn, 48 Jalan Sultan, ☎ +60 3 2072 4229 ([email protected], fax: +60 3 2072 4271), . RM25-80, private rooms from RM50-80 RM.
- My City Hotel, 118-120A, Jl Petaling, ☎ +60 3 2026 6288, . 5 min walk from the Pasar Seni train station, and a short train ride from the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC). From RM98″.
- Travellers Home Moon Lodge, No. 23 & 25 Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin (formerly Jalan Silang) (Near Mydin), ☎ +60320316873 +60320313556. Cheap, simple, central, no bed bugs, no hot water. Ideal for budget travellers. Rooms from 30 ringgit.
- Lanson Place Ambassador Row Serviced Residences, No. 1 Jalan Ampang Hilir, 55000, ☎ 603.4253.2888, . Non-smoking and air-conditioned suites, all equipped with cable TV, electronic key lock and microwave oven. Access to an outdoor swimming pool, gym, sauna and spa. From MYR 487.20.
- Quality Hotel City Centre, Jl. Raja Laut., ☎ +60 3 2693 9233, . 250 rooms and suites, all equipped with mini-bar, coffee/tea maker and cableTV. Outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium and squash court. 5 min drive to Putra World Trade Centre. From RM161.24.
- The 5 Elements Hotel, Lot 243, Jl Sultan (Chinatown) (Walking distance from Chinatown), ☎ +60 3 2031 6888, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12 noon. Boutique hotel inspired by traditional Wu Xing (五行) philosophy.
- Daffodils Park KL Hotel, "188, (Off Jalan Bukit Bintan), ☎ +60 3 2141 4890, +60 3 2141 4891, . Monorail is within quick walking distance. From RM120.
- Carcosa Seri Negara, Taman Tasik Perdana, ☎ +60 3 7622 6600, . Air-con rooms and suites, all with TV, IDD with access to internet. Espresso coffee and tea making facilities. Private butler, private bar, and landscaped garden with outdoor seating. The Veranda Restaurant offers a modern interpretation of Malay cuisine. From RM1,100.
- Citin Hotel Masjid Jamek, Lot No. 7, Seksyen 33, Jl Melayu, Off Jalan Masjid India (1 min walk to Masjid Jamek Station), ☎ +60 3 2693 2999 ([email protected], fax: +60 3 2693 2988), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: noon. New hotel near Little India. Rooms are simple and comfortable yet fun and trendy. Air-con, 22" LCD TV, free wifi and ensuite bathroom. Cafe and room service though operating hours are limited. From RM115 depending on time of year.
- Hotel Chinatown 2, 70-72 Jalan Petaling, ☎ +60 3 2145 9599 (general), +60 3 2145 2593 (reservation),  Popular with foreigners. At night it may be noisy like all hotels on this street (centre of the Chinatown night market). Comfortable, generic rooms. Service is not friendly, but highly professional and efficient. Room with window and air-con RM100.
- D’Oriental Inn Chinatown, KL, 82-84, Jl Petaling. ☎ +60 3 2273 9999,  Quiet and comfortable.
- Phoenix Hotel, No. 57 Jl Sungai Besi, ☎ +60 3 9222 8668, . The 46 guestrooms have air-con, cable TV, Internet access and IDD phone. Conference room with wifi access. 15 min away from Suria KLCC, KL Sentral, and other landmarks. ″.
- Hotel Sabrina, No. 83, Jl Bukit Bintang, ☎ +60 3 2142 0255, . From RM90.
- Ascott Kuala Lumpur, No 9 Jalan Pinang, ☎ +60 3 2142-6868 ([email protected], fax: +60 3 2142-9888), . The residence is in the Central Business District of the city and has 221 apartments that come fully-furnished with a home entertainment system, kitchen and broadband Internet access. Daily rates starts from RM 375.
- The Zon All Suites, 161-D, Jalan Ampang, 50450, Wilayah Persekutuan, ☎ +603-2164 8000, . 184 suites, all equipped with Air-conditioning, Cable TV and Internet. Some of its facilities and services are outdoor swimming pool, gym, Jacuzzi and sauna. From MYR 330.60.
- Hotel Maya, 138 Jl. Ampang 50450, ☎ 60 3 2711 8866, . All rooms have telephone system with voicemail, flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Internet with wifi access, library in the Sky Lounge. From RM343.
- The Westin Kuala Lumpur, 199, Jl. Bukit Bintang, ☎ +60 3 2773 8338, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12 noon.
- Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur, 165, Jl. Ampang, ☎ +60 3 2161 1111 ([email protected], fax: +60 3 2161 1122), .
- Maytower Hotel Serviced Apartments, No.7, Jl. Munshi Abdullah. ☎ +60 3 2692 9298, . 179 and serviced apartments.
- Midah Hotel, 8, Jl. Kampung Attap. ☎ +60 3 2273 9999  10 min walk to China Town.
- Twin Tower View, Bistari Condominium (Close to PWTC (Putra World Trade Centre)), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12 noon. 2 bedroom apartment located in a condominium opposite PWTC train station. View across KL city centre. air-con, ceiling fans, wifi, swimming pool. US$110 per night. (3.1683,101.6938)
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