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Founded in 1888 and originally used as a wet market, Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market, which can be found just a few minutes away from Petaling Street, has been extensively renovated over the years, and is now listed as a heritage site by the Malaysian Heritage Society. A landmark for local heritage and culture, this is a spot well worth visiting if you are in the city for the first time.

The History of Central Market Kuala Lumpur
Central Market Kuala Lumpur was originally built in 1888 by the British that were based in colonial British Malaya. Due to its central location, it was extremely convenient to city dwellers, and was used mainly as a wet market for citizens and tin miners. Over the years, expansions kept occurring, but, in the 1970’s, plans were put into place to demolish the site, as the city was growing at such a rapid pace. Fortunately, the Malaysian Heritage Society decided to petition against this and ended up declaring the site a Heritage Site, saving it from demolition.

Central market front view

KYTan /

The Different Sections of the Market
The overall theme of the market focuses on the different cultures in Malaysia, with each section based on a specific racial group, from Lorong Melayu to Lorong India to the Straits Chinese, as well as a street to represent the Nyonya and Baba community. You will also come across many kampong-style houses around the market, with storeys at the most, and these represent the multiple ethnic groups that live in the city in harmony. All of this provides visitors with a unique cultural insight into the country’s various races, as well as how they have all worked together over the years to create the city that we know and love today.

The Shopping Experience
The range of vendors that you will find at Central Market is truly impressive, with shops and stalls sprinkled throughout both floors of the market. From souvenirs and handicrafts to antiques and artwork, a first time visitor could easily spend quite a few hours browsing the goods for sale here. To top it all off, there is even a small hawker center on the second floor of the market building, making the perfect stop-off point for a refreshing beverage and a local snack.

Kasturi walk

f11photo /

The Central Market Outdoor Stage
Being so dedicated to Malaysia’s heritage and culture, it comes as no surprise that Central Market hosts many of the Malaysian Traditional Cultural and Arts events, all of which take place at the Central Market Outdoor Stage. Every Saturday evening, there is a weekly cultural performance here, and there are many other special events scheduled on the Central Market website.

Kuala Lumpur’s markets are a huge part of the shopping experience to be had in the city, with Central Market being one of the most diverse of them all. In addition to the myriad of items available to purchase here, the building itself is also a significant piece of the city’s history, and the market is an iconic representation of the country’s heritage.

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