Central Market Kuala Lumpur : A Paradise for Tourists - By Scha Iriney
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
One of the main attractions in Kuala Lumpur, Central Market is a cultural shopping haven for tourists and even locals. This is the place people would go to if they are looking for certain exotic items, traditional clothing or souvenirs. It is located along Jalan Hang Kasturi, suitable for its purpose since Hang Kasturi is one of the five legendary warriors of Malaysia from our Malay literature work, Hikayat Hang Tuah.
Right outside of the entrance of Central Market, new decorations have been recently added. There are statues resembling the people of Malaysia, of different races and cultural backgrounds, with their traditional tools for hunting and gathering food in the past. These decorations, however, might be replaced again in future. This is by far what Central Market does to attract the tourists by giving them a good first impression.
How to get there ?
A small street on the right of Central Market is named Kasturi Walk. It can be seen from a distance, either while walking down from the train station or getting out from the bus that reaches there. Above this street, visitors can see ‘wau bulan’, a traditional moon-kite that is flown by locals in the east coast of Malaysia, carved with floral motifs. Along Kasturi Walk, there are several stalls, most of them selling food and beverages. It is also covered with transparent roof, so visitors don’t have to worry about changes of weather much.
Navigating through Central Market is also much easier now. When the building was first made in 1888 its purpose was simply to serve as a wet market for the people because of its strategic location by the river bank. However, as the population increased, Central Market has received substantial renovations and has expanded to serve more people, turning it into the vibrant and unique shopping center of Kuala Lumpur as it is now. Nowadays, instead of wandering in Central Market, not knowing where to go or what to buy, visitors can simply start by checking the names of the hallways. The three main hallways from the entrance are Little India, Malay Street, and Straits Chinese. The names tell it all. As an example, visitors will find souvenirs related to Indian traditional culture along Little India hallway. Other than making it simpler for them to search for certain items, they can also save time by following the signage provided. The upper floor walls of Central Market are renovated to resemble a wall of a traditional Malay house, which can be viewed easily from lower floor.
Setting up stalls in Central Market is one way to preserve its original purpose because that is how the wet market looked like in the past; therefore having stalls arranged all over is not uncommon even though they can look pretty disorganized. The Central Market upstairs serves variety of local food in the food court, public washrooms, a praying room for the Muslims, and more shops that sell handmade items, clothing, and art. Going straight through Central Market will lead the visitors to another exit on Kasturi Walk, which will also take them to Annexe Gallery. You will know when you’re close to Annexe Gallery when you see an abundance of art shops in your vicinity. This 3-storey building, which originally was a Cineplex, is now a place where people go for performing arts, art related exhibitions, and art sale. The management office is also here, in case it’s needed to report on any incidents happening in Central Market or Annexe Gallery. The gallery can be reached at the top floor by taking the old elevator, or by climbing the stairs. This is the place for young people to show other people of their new styles of art. They don’t only craft, they also sing and act. Annexe Gallery is suitable for them since it has spacious halls with really high ceilings. When there’s no event going, they will just arrange their vending tables and place their artworks for sale. The space will never be empty, as it will be filled with art related displays, from paintings, hand crafts, and photography. From this floor, visitors can get the nice view of Kasturi Walk. They will be able to picture how everything was in the past, with people queuing to enter the Cineplex, and people rushing in Central Market from every corner to buy fresh food.
It is really inspiring, thinking of all the improvements that Central Market has gone through. Yet, it is still a paradise for all of us who are always curious about another culture and anxious to see more of it. As a local, Central Market never stops to surprise anyone. This is the place for tourists to seek pleasure and harmony in learning more of Malaysian culture rather than just going to a museum.
Author: Scha Iriney
Hi, my name is Scha Iriney. I spent most of my childhood in Perak, Malaysia. As soon I got accepted into university, I moved to Kuala Lumpur in 2001. I have been living in this city ever since, I got married and have a family here. This is the city that never fails to surprise me. I love how happening the city gets, and how joyful it is when it comes to doing street photography. I’m never bored with new events and activities going on around here. And that’s also why I’m always with my Sony SLT-A57K camera. Taking quick snapshots around the city becomes much easier!
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