Pandemic Travel Update: Malaysia largely is closed to foreign nationals. If you are not in Kuala Lumpur already, be sure to check current government orders regarding who is and is not allowed to visit before planning your travels. Double check to make sure that the below attractions are open for the dates of your visit, too.
Bukit Bintang — which translates into English as "Star Hill" — is Kuala Lumpur's premier shopping and entertainment district. It sometimes is referred to as "Bintang Walk" because the main street — Jalan Bukit Bintang — has wide, tree-lined sidewalks and is one of the best strolls in the city. The area attracts street preachers (imams) and street pimps alike and you very well could find yourself hassled by both within the same block. Kuala Lumpur can be curiously contradictory at times.
During the day, Bukit Bintang mostly draws tourists and local shoppers to its numerous malls. At night, restaurants, bars, and street markets spin up to full speed, and it becomes a defacto nightlife area. It is a bit sketchier after dark, so if you visit the bars and clubs, be even more mindful of pickpockets, don't drink too much, and keep an eye open for anything out of the ordinary. In general, Kuala Lumpur has a rather unsavoury reputation for harbouring individuals planning terrorist attacks elsewhere rather than being a recipient of such attacks, but attacks on Bukit Bintang have been foiled in the past. It always is wise to pay attention. Naturally, to stay out of trouble, avoid the preachers and pimps, as well.
Seven Bukit Bintang Attractions
Whether you choose to visit Bukit Bintang in the day or evening, travelgasm.com has selected seven diverse attractions in the area, some of which may be of interest to you. These destinations are organised in order on our map below:
- Bintang Walk - The main street in Bukit Bintang is well worth a stroll to soak in the ambiance and perhaps shop at stores selling tourist tat. If you have spent time in London, the primary intersection at Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan Ismail may remind you a bit of a southeast Asian version of Piccadilly Circus because they are of similar size and structure and both are adorned with oversized electronic advertisements.
- Sungei Wang Plaza - Directly connected by a covered walkway from the Bukit Bintang monorail station (a big plus when it is raining), this older — but recently refurbished — mall has 800+ stores packed with "cheap and cheerful" clothes, accessories, food, and much more.
- Jalan Alor - This street has long been famous for its food. Although there is no shortage of other southeast Asian street market staples like meat on a stick (satay) and coconut ice cream, it mostly serves Chinese seafood flavoured to please the tastes of mainland Chinese tourists. Eateries also are open during the day, but the street is at its most packed at night. A well-reviewed night food tour of the area is available for purchase, as well.
- Changkat Bukit Bintang - Once you slog past the massage parlours, this tree-lined street is flanked by bars and clubs of interest primarily to an international crowd. The street usually is closed to traffic on Friday and Saturday nights, but be cautious for errant vehicles regardless, particularly motorbikes, which commonly flout the rules.
- Plaza Low Yat - Tucked just around the corner from the main street, this IT mall is the largest in Malaysia. Hundreds of shops sell a wide variety of computer, mobile, and camera hardware and accessories.
- Lot 10 - Although this mall additionally has a variety of shops targeting middle-class shoppers, it is famous for its "Hutong" (胡同) food court in the basement with 33 mostly Chinese eateries "hand-picked from the best of the best" family restaurants in Malaysia that have been in business for at least 40 years. It's really quite impressive for a food court.
- Pavilion Kuala Lumpur - Self-described as "Malaysia's premier shopping destination," Pavilion boasts hundreds of middle class and luxury brands. It also has a direct connection to the convenient Bukit Bintang - KLCC elevated walkway for the best route on foot between the two areas.
To eat in Bukit Bintang, there are hundreds of options in the locations mentioned above, but three specific restaurants that we enjoyed in the area at one time or another include a branch of the Madam Kwan's chain for Malaysian (Pavilion Mall), Kim Lian Kee (金莲记福建面, Lot 10) for Hokkien Mee noodles, and Ayam Penyet Betawi for Indonesian (Sungei Wang Plaza).
Below, we've mapped out a logical route for the above attractions from the Bukit Bintang Monorail and MRT stations as well as the elevated walkway to KLCC as an alternate arrival or departure point.
How to Get Here: Take KL Monorail (Line 8, Light Green) to Air Asia-Bukit Bintang Station (MR6) or MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (Line 9, Dark Green) to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur-Bukit Bintang Station (SBK18A). Our suggested walk starts at the Northwest from the monorail and Exit C from the MRT and ends at the Northeast back to the monorail and Exit E back to the MRT. If you are starting from KLCC, you alternately can walk straight to Bukit Bintang from the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre via the elevated Bukit Bintang - KLCC Walkway.
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Be sure to see our 7 Things Tourists Don't Do in Kuala Lumpur, but You Should, too.
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