Petaling Street - a Melting Pot of Kuala Lumpur
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Petaling Street - a Melting Pot of Kuala Lumpur

Every local person knows Kuala Lumpur’s Petaling Street as a hub for cheap clothes, budget hotels, trinkets and local delicacies. Chaotic but charming, it is easily accessible by public transport, MRT, LRT, Monorail as well as buses and even locals who have visited this old area of the city, can always find something new to discover on their next visit.

Established in the 1870s, Petaling Street was the destination of many Chinese immigrants who settled in then Malaya during the prosperous tin rush era. The early years were lawless and bloody as immigrants fought it out for survival and influence.

Those days are long gone and Petaling Street is a microcosm of what then Malaya used to be and what Malaysia evolved to be since Merdeka - bustling, full of energy, dynamic multiculturalism with various races living and working together.

Since the 19th century, Petaling Street has undergone several cultural evolutions. The oldest Hindu temple in the city, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, was established in 1873 and is located in one of the main streets.

When I was growing up, the area was long known for its seedy reputation, dirty back alleys, but in recent times, the site which stretches from the Central Market to the old police station in Jalan Panggung, has seen a renewal of sorts.

A slew of trendy cafes, restaurants, and bars have opened in the area in recent years, attracting a younger crowd and more families. The old shop lots, many built after the Japanese occupation are tattered and stained, the old traders and their families, mostly long gone now but the renewal of this area which has been ongoing in the last 15 years has given the area a renewed sense of purpose and community with eateries, cultural shows and jazz performances taking the highlights. And as always, as the locals already know, the old Central Market which harkens back to a time of intrigue and violence a hundred years ago continues to be the symbol of tourism for locals and foreigners alike with more than 300 stores.

What new things do you think you can discover in Petaling Street today? Take the train and bus and find out!

Team Mobiliti
June 11, 2024