Pulling into the city that would end up being the final stop on my backpacking campaign, it was difficult to see how large and lively Kuala Lumpur was under the cover of darkness. After taking a long bus ride into the area, the modern light-rail system took us the final distance to the Petaling Hotel near Petaling Street.
Only a few hundred feet from the entrance to the Petaling Street market, I could see the crowded areas packed with street food and cheap merchandise from in front of the hotel.
Petaling Street Area
This picture at the entry to Petaling Street does not do the market any justice, as it is in the wee hours of the morning, but somehow it is the only one I snapped throughout my dozens of walks down the main street.
To paint a better picture, this area is basically two main perpendicular streets that cross in the middle of the market. Both sides of the street, and even the middle of the street, are packed with vendors selling watches, shirts, shoes, food, and all sorts of goods and souvenirs.
While there was some good food to be had on Petaling street, I personally thought had the best food was on the street behind the Petaling market called Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. On the outer boarder of the market, this street has dozens of delicious street food stalls.
Kuala Lumpur Tower
Considering I have never been to Seattle to go in the Space Needle, I felt compelled to go to the top of the Kuala Lumpur tower. It had some incredible 360 views of the city, but in the end, it probably isn’t worth $20. I had just as good of a time wandering around the streets of the city for free. Plus, if you are going to shell out some money to go into a building, you might as well make it the most famous ones in the city – the Petronas Towers.
The Petronas Towers were some of the only modern buildings on my entire trip through Southeast Asia that really impressed me. I didn’t see anything close to them in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, or even Bangkok. These towers are cool. If you walk into the lobby and go up a few floors, there is a massive food court with so many options it is actually hard to decide what to get.
Bukit Bintang & Jalan Alor
The best part of Kuala Lumpur that I explored was the Bukit Bintang area. This area had a super fun night market. One specific street, Jalan Alor, was the center of the action. From noodle curry to dim sum to packed bars, this long strip had everything. You can see some pictures of the food I had in my post on Malay Cuisine. While this area had a more laid back, food-oriented night life, the main nightlife area I visited was a few blocks away.
Nightlife on Jalan Ceylon
If you are looking for dance clubs and high-end bars, Jalan Ceylon is the spot to go. Walking down Jalan Ceylon, it has bars and clubs lining both sides of the street to the point where the pounding music is overlapping from one venue to the next.
Now, this area is much more expensive than restaurant/bars you might find around the city. But if you are looking for an atmosphere where people are dressed up, dance floors are bountiful, and people are partying, this is the place.
Thoughts on Kuala Lumpur
Overall, I really enjoyed staying in Kuala Lumpur. I wish I had a bit more time to explore the city because it is so big. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences from Kuala Lumpur! Please comment and share below.