Patrolling Petaling Street Kuala Lumpur

Petaling Street, the centre of Kuala Lumpur’s original Chinatown, maintains much of its traditional atmosphere, particularly at night when vendors fan out their merchandise along the street.

They set up what seems like hundreds of street stalls here which offer an almost overwhelming variety of good for sale.

Every available centimetre of space seems to be taken up by the stalls that it sometimes becomes difficult to manoeuvre between them.  The closeness of the flimsy stalls has one beneficial aspect for purchasers though; they are erected so close to each other that your bargaining can be overheard by other stall holders, so you can sometimes bargain with a couple of traders at once in the endeavour to get your best price.

The stall holders certainly seem to remember you.  My wife had spotted a watch she so desperately wanted, but the trader wouldn’t meet her price so we walked away.  We mingled through the stalls for quite a while, and eventually followed the circuit until we reached the stall where the watch was on display, still unsold.  As we were about to exit Petaling Street, the stall holder spoke to my wife, and agreed to meet her original asking price.  The lesson learnt was that patience can reap its own reward.

While you can shop for anything from gems and incense to toys and t-shirts, the true allure of this night market is in wandering about and enjoying its sights, sounds and energy. Food is plentiful here with many scrumptious varieties to choose from; some of the restaurants here have been in business for generations.    

We weren’t in the mood for a meal, but we did stop at a small restaurant after being approached by an elderly, but positively charming, tout who was so agreeably cheerful we just had to sit, enjoy a drink, and watch the world pass us by.  One of the grand things about travel it that it is those simple moments that remain with you, and help to enhance your trip.  We spent a perfectly entertaining half an hour doing nothing but watching, enjoying a surprisingly refreshing drink, and watching the teeming masses pass us by.

Locals flock to Petaling Street primarily for bargain accessories and great Chinese food. We didn’t head down to Petaling Street with an empty stomach, but next time we will.  Even if you don’t spend a lot, you are guaranteed to have an amazing experience here.

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