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Support the local vendors at Gaya Street Sunday market | © Jeremy Eades / Flickr
Support the local vendors at Gaya Street Sunday market | © Jeremy Eades / Flickr
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The Best Markets in Malaysia

Picture of Sarah Anne Lee
Updated: 10 June 2017
If there’s anything Southeast Asia is prominently known for, it would be its various markets. From street markets offering fresh produce to those peddling trinkets and secondhand belongings to the night variety selling everything in between, you’ll find an eclectic collection of cultures at the markets in and around Malaysia.
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Batu Ferringhi Night Market (Penang)

Arguably the most popular night attraction on the north side of the island of Penang, the Batu Ferringhi night market is the best way to spend a night out on the most beautiful side of the land. It offers rows and rows of stalls, with plenty of opportunities to bargain over tons of souvenirs, imitation products, fun trinkets, home décor, artworks and clothes, so be sure to pack some cash and look around before you buy something, as some vendors may sell the same things at different prices. The hawker food stalls in the area are also a must-visit; Penang claims to have the best food in all of Malaysia and often delivers without fail.

Batu Ferringhi Night Market, Jalan Batu Bukit 2, Tanjung Tokong, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, +60 4-899 3763

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Taman Connaught Night Market (KL)

The one place to go for the latest trends in street foods and old favourites, Taman Connaught’s night market is the second-largest market of its kind in Kuala Lumpur, with over 700 stalls stretching over a span of two kilometres (1.2 miles). From Korean spins on comfort foods such as fried chicken to speciality mocktails to combat the hot, humid Malaysian weather, there is practically no end in sight when it comes to feasting on foods from all over the world. This Wednesday-only market is always brimming with vendors and visitors, so be sure to keep your wallet close and your stomach ready for the best street cuisine in the city.

Pasar Malam Taman Connaught, Jalan Cerdas, Taman Connaught, KL, Malaysia

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Jonker Street (Melaka)

The ultimate night market experience of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the whole of Jonker Street in the historical city of Melaka comes to life every weekend night to bring the best of both traditional and modern styles of roadside vendors and hawker food. Cultures from all over have made spots for themselves in this amazing line of stalls, so expect to find faraway foods such as Japanese sushi or Korean dumplings completely at home among the Malay kuih dessert stalls and the Chinese fried foods. The night market is also a favourite for keepsakes and odds and ends, so save some extra change should something inedible catch your eye.

Jonker Street Night Market, Melaka, Malaysia, +60 83-940 962

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Taman Bandar Baru Night Market (Perak)

You’ll have to travel a bit off the beaten path to get to this hidden gem, but it will be worth it for all the authentic Chinese delicacies available. Most of its visitors are students from the nearby Kampar university campus, so it isn’t surprising that most of the stalls cater to young people’s taste, with options such as fried ice cream and egg-salted treats. Some stalls, however, stick to the essential traditional foods such as the plain, steamed bao and the ever-loved fried white carrot cake. If you get lost while searching for this market, don’t hesitate to ask for directions.

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Wakaf Che Yeh Pasar Malam (Kelantan)

Unlike its west coast counterparts, the Wakaf Che Yeh night market on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia stands out due to having significantly less Chinese influences. Located in the Malay province of Kelantan, which borders Thailand, this night market has the unique pleasure of having strong Thai-Malay influences, creating a more diverse experience. Wholesale goods at bargain prices are plentiful, with good quality scarves, shirts and shoes from Thailand and local production up for grabs. The only thing to keep in mind is that the Kelantanese people have their own dialect, so basic Malay and very simple English will have to be put in practice should you wish to make your way around with ease.

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Petaling Street/Chinatown (KL)

The ultimate market in the region, Petaling Street hosts a plethora of restaurants and unique shops full of souvenirs and knick-knacks by day, but by night, it transforms into a hawker cart locale filled with cheap goods and spreads all the way down the Chinatown street. Experience the grittiness of high-density city life as you bargain for reasonable prices and dodge some possibly shady knockoffs and overpriced memorabilia. Food is a better investment, as vendors selling everything else can be a little aggressive. Yet, this stretch of roadside stalls always makes for a fascinating visit, as many locals and tourists continuously frequent the place for that unmistakable, irreplaceable Malaysian atmosphere of urban city rush in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Petaling Street, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, KL, Malaysia, +60 3-2032 5988

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Gaya Street Sunday Market (Kota Kinabalu)

Sabah may be more prominently known to adventure seekers since its the home of Mount Kinabalu, one of the best mountain-climbing spots in Southeast Asia, but the Gaya Street Sunday market provides easygoing entertainment for both local families and tourists. The fair sets up at 6 am and goes to 1 pm, and vendors sell everything from basic clothes and drinks to local herbs, a little farm stock and souvenir arts specific to the Bornean tribes. Visiting this market is a great way to spend a humid Sunday afternoon.

Jalan Gaya, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia