I have to say that one of the best places to go on a weekend is Chinatown. Its soooooo easy to spend a full day there. You have it all: antiques, great food, great bars, and of course lots and lots of fakes.
In the Central Market you can find plenty antique shops, plus lots of typical clothing shops, and fakes (obviously!). In these antique shops you can find everything, from plates to masks, from swords to stuffed butterflies, big size furniture, small size furniture, medium size furniture, statues of Buda, dragons, snakes, pigs, elephants, giraffes, and so on…
Though I’ve heard from some teksi drivers, that the prices there are way too expensive, made for tourists, until now its the best i’ve found (i promise i’ll try to find those ‘local’ antique shops). One of my guilty pleasures there are the Chinese budist necklaces and bracelets, and the prices in the Central Market are way better than out in Chinatown.
Either way, i will write a full post about the Central Market, and today we’re here to talk a “bit” about Chinatown, most precisely Petaling Street.
If you wish to buy fakes in Chinatown, which you will if you come to KL, and want to get good prices, rather than extra expensive prices they charge for white people, ok, tourists, i would make a few suggestions, that i follow..
Firstly you cant enter any shop, or tent, just cos they say “here Miss!”, or even if they say “here beautiful!”, most of them are good salesman, and once you get in, they’ll try to sell you anything, and get a bit, or a lot, mad at you if you don’t. So make sure you like what you see before getting in, also cos there are so many tents and shops, that if you start entering a lot of them, you wont get anything done.
You have to know more or less what your looking for. A purse, wallet, watch… So start asking prices once you see the ones you like, and ask them the prices for you, how much discount they do to you, usually you can lower up to half of the first price, and tell them you will only buy the stuff next week or so, so they don’t get mad. Go to a couple shops, and say the same stuff, you’ll only buy next week, and the guy in the other tent charges x RM for the same bag. After a couple of shops you should know the prices, a good enough bag should cost around 70-100RM, and a purse 20-30RM, watches 130-300RM. If you wish almost real (or stolen), they’ll take you to their “offices” nearby, to they’re showroom, the prices go up a lot, but you get great quality stuff. Obviously you would better not go with them alone, like everywhere else in the world, you might get abducted, beatened up, shipped and sold to somali pirates, beatened up again, you’ll get some baby pirates, then thrown to the sea once they have enough baby pirates to crew a new ship. And you will get eaten by Great Hammerhead Shark. Or a Shortfin Mako Shark. Or both.
Where were we?
Oh yeah, “offices” – don’t go alone.
Then after you get the prices for all the stuff, get back on another day, and once you find that nice bag you we looking, in a shop with good enough quality (check it well), get in, and again tell them that the other shop would sell it for: tell the the lower price you got, minus a couple of RM. Be persistent, stay in the shop for a bit, while he talks to you and tries to tell you he cant do that low, never agree on going back up with the price, then, eventually he’ll get there, and you got yourself a nice fake.
But Chinatown its not all shopping.
Ok it kind of is.
But you also have great food, there’s a great covered hawker stall in the middle of Petaling Street; the BEST beef noodles soup shop is there, absolutely fantastic and tasty noodle soup, they only serve that, you just choose the type of noodles, the types of meat, and thats it! They add some fried (i think) shredded beef on top, that makes it sooooo good!
There are a couple of nice bars, like ‘the warehouse’, very TriBeCa and SoHo style, that has a really cool bar on the ground floor, brick walls painted in white, where local graffiti artists sometimes paint, or painters may place they’re works, it also has an awesome idea, that’s a “jam” night, where they allow anyone to play they’re instruments (drums, organ, guitars..), or sing once a week, and on the first floor there’s a good and cozy western restaurant. Ah! They also serve amazing cappuccinos! Reggae Bar is also very well know, mostly by expats, cos they play all soccer and rugby matches, got good drinks, fair food, and plugs, and wireless!!!!
Chinatown also has 3 of the most beautiful and well know temples in KL: Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Guandi Temple and the Masjid Negara (National Mosque) – the later is nearby.
For all of these reasons, Chinatown is a must see! Must eat! Must drink! And must SHOP!