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Every Wednesday evening at around 7:00pm, thousands of locals head to Cheras for one of Malaysia’s largest night markets. Often known locally as Cheras Pasar Malam, Taman Connaught Market features some 700 stalls selling everything from flowers and street food to cuddly toys, clothes and books.
Kuala Lumpur has several night markets, or ‘Pasar Malam’, in different neighbourhoods every night of the week, what makes Taman Connaught so special? For a start, it stretches for approximately two kilometres (1.24 miles) with some of the capital’s best selection of street food. And anyone with a passion for shopping and retail therapy can amble around the hundreds of stalls buying souvenirs and snacking in the same way as the locals. Being quite far from the city centre, fewer tourists make the journey and experiencing the bustle of a crowded Malaysian night market gives a cultural insight into Kuala Lumpur.
The market officially opens at 5:30pm, coinciding with most people leaving work. But the crowd grows around 7:00pm when endless streams of people walk in every direction. Prepare for the full sensory experience: bright lights, the wafting smells of freshly cooked street food, the hum of background chatter and the lack of personal space. Stroll further along and be welcomed by stalls on either side of the path selling all kinds of trinkets and snacks. And when the rain starts, it doesn’t take long for the plastic covers to spread out protecting the tiny stalls and their goods. The heat and humidity in such a crowded space can overwhelm some. But nothing gives a better local experience than getting stuck in with the crowd.
Taman Connaught Market’s highlights include its selection of street food. Various types of cuisine are available from sushi and Korean flavours to Taiwanese and Thai treats. Looking for a filling meal? Check out the noodle dishes and stir-fried meat. A few sticks of satay or steamboat fish balls might satisfy the peckish. The adventurous can find the Taiwanese delicacy of stinky tofu, a type of fermented tofu with a strong and powerful taste. Other snacks include a variety of cakes and pastries, including the delicious egg tarts as well as coconut jelly, dim sum, pau and many others. And the street food at Taman Connaught Market will cost just a few ringgits for handfuls of mouth-wateringly good food. Just remember to bring some tissue or wet wipes!
Taman Connaught Market is in Cheras, a neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur. Getting to the Pasar Malam can be time-consuming for tourists staying in the city centre. Take the MRT to Taman Connaught Station from KL Sentral. From here, either catch the bus heading towards Bandar Tasik Selatan or take an Uber or Grab. The market opens on Wednesdays only from 5:00pm until midnight, with the busiest period usually ranging between 7:00pm and 9:00pm.
The ground gets muddy, especially after rain. A good pair of sturdy trainers will do the job. Torrential downpours can happen in Kuala Lumpur in a heartbeat, and while the locals and vendors will instantly transform into rain mode, it may catch tourists off-guard. Be aware that umbrellas might not be suitable in a tiny space crammed with thousands of others. As with any other crowded place, pickpockets often target the foreigners more so than locals. So always keep possessions close. And finally, Taman Connaught Market is one of Malaysia’s largest – make the most of the experience and enjoy it!