Previous page, top: colourful arches in
Little India; SkyBar on level 33 of the
Traders Hotel serves up free cocktails
on ladies night and a spectacular view
of the landmark Petronas Towers. This
page, from top: Sri Mahamariamman
in Chinatown is Kuala Lumpur’s
oldest Hindu temple; street food is
everywhere and plentiful; Petaling
Street Night Market is full of bargains
– and fabulous fakes
| BNE May/June 2017
contemporary takes on Chinese-Malaysian classics, in the city’s
rapidly gentrifying Chinatown. Sri Mahamariamman (Jalan Tun H S
Lee, Chinatown), KL’s oldest Hindu temple, and the colourful Taoist
Guan Di Temple are an easy stroll, with stops in between at local
boutiques. From here, it’s a nice walk to Coffee Amo (First floor,
54 Jalan Sultan, Chinatown), where cappuccinos and lattes come
complete with 3D coffee art (and more Instagram snaps).
The Petaling Street Night Market doesn’t really get going until
later, so there’s time to take a taxi back to Bukit Bintang for some
bargain hunting, followed by lunch. Nagasari (Jalan Nagasari) is a
great little Mamak – Malaysian-Indian – eatery serving classics such
as sardine roti or nasi lemak, arguably Malaysia’s national dish, and
traditional curries. Around the corner Jersey Jack Gelato (49 Jalan
Berangan) has gloriously tropical ice-cream.
There’s upscale shopping in Bukit Bintang as well, but the great
tech bargains are at Low Yat Plaza (7 Jalan Bintang), a six-storey
electronics mall that’s the largest in Malaysia. High street brands are
super-cheap at the Lot 10 shopping mall (50 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Bukit Bintang), particularly for smaller-sized girls, and the Lot 10
Hutong food court is an amazing spot to try some of Malaysia’s
favourite street-food vendors all in one place.
I avoid the touristy Central Market but the Petaling Street Night
Market (Petaling Street, Chinatown) is in full flow by early evening
where fabulous fakes, particularly sunglasses, draw cabin crew from
around the world. There are bags and watches too and you shouldn’t
need to haggle much to get a bargain.
Again, there are snacks aplenty here. The tangy fish-noodle soup
served at the grungy No 1 Assam Laksa inside the market is another
Malaysian classic, while Kim Lian Kee’s Hokkien Chinese noodles
(56 Jalan Petaling) are famous and the beers are cold – a great spot to
watch the world go by.
For me, a highlight of KL is its street food, but this thoroughly
modern city has its sophisticated side too and we end the break
as we started, on a high note, admiring the skyline views from
Coppersmith (Level 23, The Troika, 19 Persiaran KLCC), a slick,
contemporary craft cocktail bar and just above it there are four
restaurants to choose from at Troika Sky Dining, where the likes of
David Beckham have been spotted.
most spectacular sight. The golden statues and brilliant temples at this
limestone complex are magnificent in scale and worthy of more Instagram
snaps before heading back to base to get ready for the night ahead.
In the central Ampang district we find more upscale Indian Chettinad
cooking at Betel Leaf (77 Leboh Ampang, Ampang) where we feast on
quail and crab before hitting one of Asia’s very best bars. At the well-hidden
speakeasy Omakase & Appreciate (Ampang Bangunan Ming Annexe,
Jalan Ampang, Ampang) the door says “no entry” in five languages! As well
as their own creations they serve up favourites such as the Jungle Bird, a
tropical cocktail created in KL in the 1970s.
It’s easy to spend the night in this little place but the strip of buzzing bars
and clubs that line hectic, friendly Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang offers a
change of pace. For night owls the Teochew Chinese restaurants at the top
of Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah serve until 4 or 5am; Fong Wah Teochew
Porridge (61 Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah, Pudu) is one that dishes up
delicious roast duck and razor clams into the wee hours.
Today’s the day to explore Kuala Lumpur’s Chinese side, starting with
breakfast at Chocha Foodstore (156 Jalan Petaling), which serves
TOP 3 TRAVEL TIPS
While public transport isn’t bad, KL’s red
taxis are cheap and reliable – check the driver will use the
meter before you get in. Uber has great coverage, as does
its South East Asian rival, Grab.
STAY IN AN APARTMENT:
Airbnb and clones such as
Roomorama have good coverage in Kuala Lumpur and are
generally great value compared to multiple hotel rooms
when you’re travelling with a gang. Look for locations in
the centre of town rather than Petaling Jaya; Bukit Bintang
is central and popular.
BUY A DATA PACKAGE:
Don’t get saddled with killer
roaming charges. You can pick up a MyMaxis SIM for just
10 MYR ($3). And data comes cheap too, you can buy
600MB of data for a week at 10 MYR ($3), or 2GB for a
month at 30 MYR ($9).
Malindo Air flies daily between Brisbane and
Kuala Lumpur via Denpasar (Bali). For service