A city that changes abruptly and that surprises and challenges us: from a compact and uniform urban area, we are faced with huge office towers; a walk through side streets bumped long avenues where traffic is intense and often congested; from a colonial architecture we jump to modern and bold buildings; shopping streets that end in freeways that create almost insurmountable barriers; garden and green areas isolated by massive concrete viaducts.
The usual hustle and bustle of everyday Asian shocked by the aggressive urban traffic… an accumulation of contrasts that left a memory of an attractive city, where the main activities are shopping in malls and visiting the skyscrapers and towers that are the brand image of the city of Kuala Lumpur.
Despite the big growing that Malaysia’s economy had in recent years, and which the Petrona Towers and the Menara KL Tower are proud symbols, the city of Kuala Lumpur mirror the social and economic contrasts, with the city attracting not only the rural population as well as a large number of immigrants, many from Indonesia, that not always find here the expected success.
The area of Chinatown is an example of these asymmetries, bringing together many homeless, beggars and drug addicts, although without noted danger in terms of security in the streets, even at night, and yet no attractive for night walks.
Nearby is the calling Colonial District… where examples of British colonial architecture, both churches and train stations (as Kuala Lumpur Station) as also public and administrative buildings, now turned into museums.
He was to miss a visit to Batu Caves… a green oasis in the middle of this giant capital.
Kuala Lumpur offers many options in terms of accommodation, for various budgets. Chinatown is reputed to gathering the largest number of budget hotel and guest houses, thus attracting most backpacker who in general do not take longer than a day or two, and KL often the last stop of those who traveling through Southeast Asia.
Good location, easy accesses by public transport, great offer in terms of food make Chinatown an attractive place. The area attracts many homeless, beggars and drug addicts, without noted danger in terms of security in the streets.
In terms of price a double room in Chinatown, with shared toilet, free wi-fi and basic breakfast (bread, jam, margarine, tea and coffee) is not less than 60 RM. For this budget there are many options, and worth to walk around Jalan Tun H.S. Lee and the Jalan Sultan, because there are significant differences between the condition offers by different guesthouses.
The choice was for the Submarine Guest House, modern, not very large and quiet, with a nice common area. It has no breakfast but you can use the utensils, microwave, kettle and existing refrigerator.
Submarine Guest House
Address: 206, Jalan Tun HS Lee, Kuala Lumpur 56100, Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur. (There is another next to Central Market)
Double room: officially is 70 RM, but can be bargain to 50 RM (room without window, and with air-conditioner).
Bed Dorm: 30 RM
Shared-toilet; free wi-fi; water-refill available.
Chinatown is easily accessible from Pasar Seni (LRT) and the Maharajalela Station (Monorail), or Plaza Rakyat, near the Puduraya Bus Station (LRT).
However KL Sentral is far and difficult to reach on foot.
Where to eat:
There are many choices in the Chinatown area, but the prices are a bit higher in KL than in other Malaysian cities, particularly along the Jalang Petaling where the large presence of tourists inflates prices and would decrease the quality.
The choice location for good quality food, the hygiene and the friendliness (with some fluctuations depending on the staff) went to the Al Ariffin Restaurant, serving Malaysian food but belonging to the Tamil community, with many vegetarian options, a wide range rice dishes (nasi) delicious rottis and tandori oven where to cook naan, traditional Indian bread. Also with self-service system with rice based dishes were the costs depend on the number of side dishes is about 4 MR. Delicious ice-tea… but with condensed milk!!!
Al Ariffin Restaurant
Address: Jalan Sultan Mohammed, directly opposite the bus station and MRT station Pasar Seni.
But it’s worth a walk into Jalang Petaling, despite the confusion, noise and permanently busy to taste the delicious Bean Curd (a kind of pudding made from soybeans that is sweetened with palm sugar syrup), which is sold daily in a small stall in aluminum and jornal articles with articles about the “famous” bean curd… it’s not easy to find, despite the frequent line of clients, just ask to any of the street vendors.
At the corner of Jalan Tun HS Lee and Jalan Tun Cheng Lock, a tiny shop is that can easily go unnoticed, S ‘Ban Siew Pow, whose schedule is difficult to figure. But it is worth making a few tries to be able to taste the delicious paties made form puff pastry filled with sweet coconut jam. Also available are other stuffed savory varieties with pork.
How to go from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) to Chinatown (Kuala Lumpur)
Arriving at the terminal TBS are left near a set of escalators that lead to the main hall of the terminal; here a little after a short walk you can see a exit on the right side, with indications of KLIA, providing access to the footbridge; on the other side are stairs and elevator to reach the ground floor. When you reach the street, walk to the right side (for who is facing the giant terminal building); just after the taxi rank is a bus stop.
The Bus 690, Rapid KL takes 20 minutes (out of rush hours) and ends at Pudu Sentral (Puduraya), near the Plaza Raykat building; from here is 5 minutes walking to Jalang Petaling, the heart of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur.
To make the return trip, the Bus 690, start the journey back to TBS at the same place where it ends: in Jalang Pudu, Pudu Sentral near the (Puduraya). Attention, Bus 690 does not stop inside the terminal but on the street, in a parking area next to Jalang Pudu.
Bus ticket (TBS to Pudu Sentral-Puduraya): 2 RM.
Crossing the pedestrian bridge outside the TBS, follow the signs to the train station KTM-Komuter. Follow Seremban Line to KL Sentral line (2.4 RM). At KL Sentral change train and take the LRT to Pasar Seni (1.4 RM). This alternative is more expensive but has the advantage of being more reliable at rush hours, as the traffic in Kuala Lumpur can make the bus trip between the city and TBS takes over an hour.