Follow the avocado toasts or countless coffee shops and you might find yourself smack dab in the middle of one of Kuala Lumpur’s hipster neighbourhoods. There’s cafe culture, creative brands, and delicious trendy food galore. Here are five hip neighbourhoods in Malaysia’s capital city to explore.
Bangsar is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most popular areas among locals. The main area, Jalan Telawi, is chock-full of cafes and bars that serve many types of food, from Australian-inspired brunches and well-brewed cups of coffee to artisan ice creams and handmade chocolate truffles. Check out Cziplee, the decades-old stationery shop that carries an impressive range of writing and art supplies. Do some one-stop shopping for unique home goods at Snackfood, which curates items from both local and foreign brands. If you’re up for learning a new skill on a weekend, check out the arts classes offered by the Craft Crowd.
Traditional Chinatown is where you will find savvy vendors selling their merchandise – businesses that have been around for decades – and stall after stall of scrumptious food. But what truly makes this area unique these days is the juxtaposition of new and old. New ventures nestle among the well-trodden streets, including Insta-worthy cafes, speakeasies, and fusion restaurants. Browse the goods sold by street vendors, stroll through art galleries, and chill out at the many eateries in the area – be it modern or traditional.
Away from the bustle of the city centre, Desa Park City boasts beautifully landscaped streets, pedestrian-friendly walkways, a manicured park by the lake, and a pet-friendly outdoor commercial area – The Waterfront. Spend a laid-back weekend here. Browse through the knick-knacks at the monthly marketplace, take a quiet stroll along the lake, and enjoy a delicious meal at the many restaurants.
Old buildings are often cited as trendy hotspots, and Kampung Attap houses some of the oldest and most historical buildings in the city. This area was given a new lease in life thanks to the rejuvenation of Zhongshan Building, which has become an arts and research hub. Spend an afternoon down the arts-and-culture rabbit hole in this building with its maze-like layout. It houses tenants of various functions from a graphics studio, a gallery, and a print studio to a library, a bookshop, and even a legal office. To get to certain places, you’re forced to walk through several other less obvious spaces. For example, to get to Tommy Le Baker (a delicious bakery), you’d have to walk through Naiise, a store selling curated everyday products.
Traditionally known as the red-light district, Chow Kit is a vibrant mix of old and new. There are the dreary old shophouses, congested stalls, and busy traffic. The old – Chow Kit Market, wholesale sellers, traditional medicine and herbs shops, bundle clothing business, food stalls – are thriving alongside the new. The Row at Jalan Doraisamy, made of 22 1940s shophouses, is the anomaly in the area. It’s brimming with life as it now houses restaurants, retail shops, a co-working space, and an event area.