Things to do in Chinatown in KL

What to do in Chinatown in KL? Main attractions in Chinatown?

Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur (KL) is our favorite area to visit in the capital! In fact, it’s a must-see during a trip to KL

Chinatown is a vibrant and culturally rich district known for its historical significance and bustling market! It’s also a great place for bars and trendy restaurants.

15 Best Things to See in Chinatown

1. Visit Petaling Street

Things to do in Chinatown in KL

This is the heart of Chinatown, a place where you can find a wide variety of goods ranging from clothes, and souvenirs, to imitation goods at bargain prices. It’s also a great spot to practice your bargaining skills.

However, Petaling Street is the most touristy part of Chinatown, and not really our favorite… There are much better things to see in our opinion…

2. Enjoy the Street Food at Madras Lane

Things to do in Chinatown in KL

Inside the covered market, an entire section is dedicated to local food. Madras Lane, a little out of the way, is a small alley where you can buy or taste any type of fresh product.

There is a typical Asian atmosphere here, and many local workers come to eat there on the go for very cheap!

3. Visit the Central Market, the best place to buy souvenirs!

Central Market building in KL

A couple of minutes’ walk from from Petaling Street is the Central Market. This traditional building, more than a century old, houses numerous craft shops and decorative objects.

Upstairs, there are treatment or massage centers, and even a fish pedicure. If you can’t find a place to eat at the street stalls in Chinatown, you can always eat at the Central Market, which is a little quieter!

The Central Market is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

4. Check out the Kasturi Walk

Things to do in Chinatown in KL

Running along one of the facades of the Central Market, the Kasturi Walk is simply a shopping avenue with several stalls that open mostly in the evening. Although it’s quite small, we like the atmosphere in the evening!

The stalls are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

5. Visit the trendy REXKL

Things to do in Chinatown in KL

Originally built as a cinema in the 1970s, REXKL has since been transformed into a trendy space that hosts a variety of events, shops, and eateries, aiming to foster community engagement and creative expression.

What we like the most at REXKL is its amazing bookstore, over multiple floors, feeling like a maze made of thousands of books! Pretty cool…

6. Explore Kwai Chai Hong, our favorite part of China Town

Kwai Chai Hong, which translates to “Little Ghost Lane,” is a revitalized heritage lane in Chinatown, not far from Petaling Street.

This charming and picturesque spot with lanterns hanging on top, has been restored to preserve its historical significance while creating many trendy bars and restaurants!

The lane dates back to the 19th century and was once a residential area for the early Chinese settlers.

With its beautifully restored traditional shop houses, colorful murals, and atmospheric lighting, Kwai Chai Hong is a paradise for photographers and anyone looking for the perfect Instagram shot in KL!

7. Visit Guan Di Temple in Chinatown in KL

Temple in Kuala Lumpur

Guan Di Temple is a significant Taoist temple in Chinatown.

The temple was established in the 19th century, making it one of the oldest temples in Kuala Lumpur.

The temple is dedicated to Guan Di (Guan Yu), the Chinese god of war and literature. Another best thing to see in Chinatown!

8. Get a cultural immersion at Sri Mahamariamman Temple

This is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur! It is located pretty much across the street from Guan Di Temple! This is one of our favorite places to visit in Chinatown and in KL as a whole!

The temple is adorned with a colorful facade and intricate Hindu deities, offering a glimpse into Indian culture and religion.

If you happen to be in Malaysia during the Taiphusam festival (January), make sure to go to Sri Mahamariamman Temple to see the start of the famous silver chariot processing all the way to Batu Caves.


9. Kuan Yin Temple, another interesting Buddhist Temple


The Kuan Yin Temple, also known as the Goddess of Mercy Temple, is another significant and revered religious site in Chinatown.

This temple is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the East Asian Bodhisattva of compassion, mercy, and kindness, who is venerated in various forms of Buddhism as well as in local folk religions.


10. Chill at a nice cafe

There are many awesome cafes in Chinatown!

Our favorite ones are:


11. Enjoy one of the best nightlife in KL!

Chinatown is also famous for its vibrant nightlife. Many bars are “speakeasy“, meaning they don’t look like bars from the outside, which add a theatrical experience!

Our favorite places for a drink in Chinatown are:

  • PS150: The ambiance is unique, with different seating areas themed around different historical periods.
  • Concubine: known for its creative cocktails and fusion dishes, offering a sophisticated dining and drinking experience.
  • Attic: offering a great view over Chinatown, The Attic Bar is a cozy rooftop spot.
  • Baiju: Right next to Concubine, this place specializes in Baiju cocktails. We usually don’t like this traditional alcohol, but this place makes it taste amazing!
  • G-String KL: we discovered G-String by chance! Again, from the outside, you wouldn’t know that there is a bar inside! But someone on the street recommended we check it out! And wow! One of the best atmospheres in Chinatown!
  • Penrose KL: another hidden cocktail bar behind a massive steel door and a tiny window! There are only a few seats around the bar, hence booking in advance is recommended!


12. Enjoy some of the best vegan foods in town!

For some reason, Chinatown is also a great place to eat Vegan places in trendy places!

Our favorite vegan places in Chinatown are:

  • The Hungry Tapir! A must for all the vegans out there. The place is located in a traditional shophouse on the 2nd floor. They offer amazing vegan dishes.
  • LaGula: the same owner as Hungry Tapir! This place offers one of the best vegan burgers in town!
  • Voilà: for more traditional Chinese food but with a vegan twist, voilà is another great place to try!

13. Admire Merdeka 118

View of Merdeka 118 from Chinatown

In Chinatown, it is one of the best places to admire the newest addition to KL’s Skyline: Merdeka 118!

Merdeka 118, stands as the second tallest building in the world!

The contrast between the traditional townhouses in Chinatown and the modern and impressive glass and steel tower standing in the background makes it a very special sight!


14. Visit the artsy Zhongshan building near Chinatown

The Zhongshan Building in Kuala Lumpur is a noteworthy hub for the city’s creative community, housed in a former printing factory and warehouse that has been thoughtfully repurposed.

Located in the historic Kampung Attap district, this indie and artisanal spot has rapidly become a focal point for arts, culture, and social exchange, embodying a new wave of urban regeneration and cultural renaissance in Kuala Lumpur.

If you visit the Zhongshan Building, make sure to also eat at Tommy Le Baker for the best sourdough sandwich in town! Tommy Le Baker is located in the courtyard.

15. Visit the Chan She Shu Yuen Clan Ancestral Hall


The Chan She Shu Yuen Clan Ancestral Hall in Chinatown was established in the late 19th century, making it one of the oldest and most significant clan houses in Kuala Lumpur.

Originally built as a community center for the Chan clan members, it served as a place for social gatherings, and education, and as a hub for Chinese cultural activities.

Is Chinatown a good place to stay in KL?

Chinatown is actually one of the best places to stay in KL! It’s rather central and located near Bukit Bintang and the famous Jalan Alor Food Street!

At Chinatown, the type of accommodation would generally be cheaper than in KLCC or other parts of the city with many hostels.

Here are the best places to stay in Chinatown:

Santa Grand Classic Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown


This 4-star mid-range hotel offers various room sizes to suit all preferences, all equipped with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and more. It is close to Little India, Petaling Street Market, and lots of public transport.

Tian Jing Hotel


This is one of the best hotels in Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur where the rooms have a garden-view balcony or a small patio. In addition, Wi-Fi is free in all areas of the hotel! 

Travelodge Chinatown Kuala Lumpur


This budget hotel in Kuala Lumpur is a property that offers many room types, including family rooms. Their clean and spacious rooms are fully air-conditioned, fitted with a flat-screen TV and carpeted floors.


How to get to Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur?

Chinatown in KL

Getting to Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is quite straightforward due to its central location.


  • MRT: Take the MRT and alight at the Pasar Seni station (SBK16), which is on the Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line. From there, Chinatown is just a short walk away.
  • LRT: If you’re using the LRT, the closest station is also Pasar Seni, served by the Kelana Jaya Line. Another nearby LRT station is Plaza Rakyat on the Ampang Line and Sri Petaling Line. Both options offer a quick walk to Chinatown.

By Bus

Kuala Lumpur’s public bus system also services the Chinatown area, with several routes passing through or terminating near Pasar Seni. You can simply look at Google Maps to find the best routes.

By Taxi or Ride-Hailing Services

  • Taxis and ride-hailing services like Grab are widely available throughout Kuala Lumpur. These options provide a direct and hassle-free way to get to Chinatown from anywhere in the city.

Final thoughts – Is Chinatown worth a visit in KL?

Chinatown in LK

Not only Chinatown is worth visiting in Kuala Lumpur, but it’s actually one of the best things to see in the city!

This vibrant and bustling neighborhood offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences, culinary delights, and historical insights, making it a must-see destination!

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