Petaling Street

Welcome .... to McDonald'sFinally! I think I have the route pretty much sorted out. I was praying that it won’t be raining in the afternoon of the planned walk - 24th July. If so, then the plan would be to head for Petaling Street - KL’s famed Chinatown. The centrepiece of Petaling Street was this long canopied walkway flanked by shops, hotels and restaurants. Located just a 5-minutes walk from Central Market, 10 from Puduraya and situated right next door to ‘Bangkok Bank’, access was never a problem. Last Sunday, I had the chance to breeze through this area in the late evening as part my scouting exercise for the upcoming Scott Kelby Photowalk.

Winsin Hotel - one of the landmark of Petaling Street, located right next to Bangkok BankI parked my car just behind Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad - what used to be called the High Court, right opposite Dataran Merdeka. For that weekend, Dataran Merdeka was temporarily transformed into Dataran Bola, with a huge screen erected to beam the World Cup Final match live from South Africa. There was a street carnival planned for the evening and by the time I was about to leave for home, the whole area was starting to fill up by dwellers young and old. During the day, there was a five-a-side football tournament being played there.

After Dataran Merdeka, I went straight towards Masjid Jamek to check out the restaurants there - the planned venue for lunch. There was a mamak outlet called Restoren Jamek. Right next door was a half-decent Malay Restaurant called Restoren Dapur Kampung. Further down, there was a 7-Eleven, Burger King and McDonald’s. Don’t think lunch going to be a big issue. I then walked towards Lebuh Ampang, then turning left just before Central Market towards Bangkok Bank. Before I knew it, Petaling Street was staring straight towards me.

The place certainly has changed since the early 90s - a time I was more familiar to the area. I would have described the place to be agricultural if you understand what I mean. You would think twice before heading there alone, and made sure you did not take a wrong turn. Now, the place was fully covered with a row of roof-top level canopy, three stories high, shading from both rain and sun. Coming from Bangkok Bank, the place initially appeared open and inviting. You will soon reach a central area where another perpendicular path cut right across. The landmark here was the chestnut stalls. Turning right will take you to Hotel Malaya, the biggest hotel here in Chinatown. A left turn would take you to China Town Boutique Hotel.

Hotel Malaya at one endBeautique Hotel at another

If you are looking for a serious bargain rather just wanting to enjoy the sight, you should go straight on where the serious business were carried out. Here, the streets were narrower and was packed with stalls selling mainly bootleg material - watches, clothing, handbag and shoes - what Chinatown was famous for amongst the tourist. The transaction here were carried on using the universal translator - the calculator to type out the price. Haggling was a must!

In terms of photo-op, I don’t think the vendors would be amuse should we kowtow into the narrow stalls with cameras blazing. Might as well stay away from this part during the photowalk. We wold not want any drama, would we? Even if you were not looking for any bargains, there were plenty of colourful characters and facets to photograph. That being a Sunday, the crowd were certainly building up. To my surprise, the majority were either local or Indonesian, rather than your typical Mat Salleh. There were a few Arabs as well, but I was sure that they can aford the real thing.

Good bye!After an hour or so, I walked back towards Central Market, before tracing my route back past Masjid Jamek towards Dataran Merdeka where my Kelisa was parked. The place was already starting to pack up. I will publish the final route for the photowalk in a later entry.