Central Market Kuala Lumpur (Pasar Seni) is one of KL's top tourist attractions and for good reason. It's probably the best place in the city to stock up on souvenirs, handicrafts and other great purchases.
As you would expect it's a bit touristy but even after many years of living in Malaysia I still like to browse around to see if there is anything new and interesting.
The sign on the entrance says 'Since 1888' but the current building dates from 1933 and is designed in the Art-Deco style that was popular at that time. It was originally a wet market but long gone are the smelly butcher and fishmonger stalls to be replaced by essential oils, batiks, textiles, pewter ware, durian fruit products, arts and collectables.
The building is air-conditioned so it provides a respite from the blistering heat and humidity outside and you can wander around in comfort.
One of my favourite shops is Kota Pinang on the ground floor where owner Victor will happily show you his eclectic selection of quirky antiques and collectables.
Central Market is also a good place to eat and at lunch time the food court is filled with office workers from the nearby banks and government offices. It's always a good sign that the food is tasty and reasonably priced if it is filled with locals rather than just tourists.
On the upper level you can find various eating outlets including Precious Old China (the same company as the Old China Cafe and serving similar delicious Nyonya cuisine) and Ginger Restaurant (serving Thai/Malaysian cuisine). Downstairs and in the next door annexe you can find branches of Secret Recipe, Old Town White Coffee, Chicken Rice Shop and outlets selling Malaysian favourites like nasi kandar and ais kacang.
Before finishing up at Central Market make sure you visit the Annexe, across an alleyway at the far end of Central Market, where you can find a number of art galleries showcasing various local and regional artists. In particular you should drop in at Art House Gallery Museum of Ethnic Arts and see their unrivalled collection of tribal arts from Borneo and beyond.
You can find more details of the shopping and dining outlets at Central Market on their official website.
Open daily from 10am - 9:30pm.
Admission is free but you're unlikely to escape without spending something!
The exact location is marked on this map:
Jalan Hang Kasturi, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 1-300-22-8688
GPS: 3°08'43.3"N 101°41'43.6"E
There is a car park directly in front of the market but it does get busy at peak times.
RM 3 for the first hour and RM 2 for each subsequent hour. A flat rate of RM 5 applies for parking between 5pm and 6.59am the following morning.
The closest MRT station to Central Market Kuala Lumpur is Pasar Seni.