KL Central Market is a shopping mall in an historic building in the centre of Kuala Lumpur with over 300 shops and stalls selling Malaysian craft items, textiles, souvenirs and collectable items.
Entrance to KL Central Market
KL Central Market also has restaurants and cafes selling a variety of different Malaysian foods. This a shopping centre which is focused on Malaysian food and culture and is intended to be as much a tourist attraction as a place to buy things.
History of KL Central Market
KL Central Market was first opened in 1888 and was originally a ‘wet market’ selling meat, fish and vegetables. The market was a private venture by Kuala Lumpur’s leading Chinese entrepreneur of the time Yap Ah Loy. The striking Art Deco facade was a later addition to the building, completed in 1937.
Ground floor of KL Central Market
The wet market was relocated in the early 1980s and the building restored with the assistance of a grant from the Malaysian Government. Thereafter ownership of the building was transferred to the Kha Seng Group in 2004 and further money was invested to create a more attractive retail and leisure space. The market was also expanded with the market’s annexe created in 2006 from a building which had formerly been a cinema. The Central Market Annexe is now used for art galleries, a museum and a tourist centre.
Shopping at KL Central Market
The market is split into zones reflecting the history and different ethnic groups in Malaysia. The different zones have been given street names: Lorong India (Litle India), Lorong Chin (Little China) and Lorong Melayu (Little Malaya). There are also zones of the market indentified by the type of product sold. For instance, Jalan Kolonial has shops selling items related to the time Britain was in control of the Malay Peninsula. The most colourful zone is the Batik Emporium on the mezzanine floor selling a wide variety of textiles and printed clothes.
Malay craft shop in KL Central Market
The products on sale in KL Central are ‘export quality’ items which are not cheap, but they are good quality. If you are after cheaper lower quality items then you need to shop somewhere else such as the nearby Petaling Street Market.
Food at KL Central Market
KL Central Market has a pleasant food court on the mezzanine floor of the building. The food court has ‘old worlde’ features such as wooden shutters and overlooks the market area on the ground floor.
Food Court at KL Central Market
There are a number of restaurants and food stalls within the the food court as well as on the ground floor. They outlets range in price and sell a variety of foods reflecting the three main cultures in Malaysia: Malay, Chinese and Indian. The food is good here but it is not cheap.
Events at KL Central Market
KL Central Market also features regular events. Events are hold there to mark important holidays and religious festivals such as Chinese New Year, Ramadan and Vaisakhi which are well attended by local people and Malaysian people visiting Kuala Lumpur on holiday. Every Saturday night at 20:00 performances of Malay music and dancing are staged at KL Central Market. These performances are free to watch and entertaining, although clearly intended to appeal to foreign tourists, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.
Opening Hours at KL Central Market
KL Central Market is open everyday from 10:00 until 21:30.
Location of KL Central Market
KL Central Market is located at Jalan Hang Kasturi, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is 300 metres walking distance from Pasar Seni Station.