More information  

Central Market

Our rating:

Central Market (also known as Pasar Seni) has been through a few personality changes over the years but today is one of the best spots in Kuala Lumpur for a heady bout of last-minute souvenir shopping.

Travel better, travel smarter

Save money, receive our latest updates and get the most out of your travels.


Established in 1888 by Yap Ah Loy (the third Kapitan China of Kuala Lumpur) the market began life as the city’s central and primary wet market and was known as Pasar Besar (big market). As it (and the surrounding city) grew, a more permanent building began to take shape and by the mid 1930s the art deco bones of what you see today were in place, designed by the architect RH Seed. Through the decades what was within the walls remained the same, and, when the wet market was relocated in the 1980s, the site fell under the beady eyes of developers.

Shop till you drop. Photo taken in or around Central Market, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Shop till you drop. Photo: Stuart McDonald

While Kuala Lumpur doesn’t have an exactly stellar reputation when it comes to protecting historic buildings, in this case, the Heritage Society (Badan Warisan) stepped in and successfully petitioned the Federal Government to not only cancel the demolition but also to pony up some 9 million ringgit to fund a complete renovation of the site and, in 1986, it was renamed Pasar Seni.

In 2004 the market changed hands and a further outfitting saw it transformed into the somewhat tourist-focussed shopping outlet which it is today. There is a mind boggling array of goods for sale from simple tourist trash and “I Love KL” t-shirts through to saris and expensive high quality pashminas. The standards of the goods in general are a big step up from Petaling Street Market, making this a better place for souvenir shopping for people you actually care about!

Who doesn’t right? Photo taken in or around Central Market, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Who doesn’t right? Photo: Stuart McDonald

If your energy levels are running low after all the shopping, the upper floor of Pasar Seni holds a pretty decent food court (there is a second, cheaper and simpler foodcourt on the roof level). There are also a few snacking options on Kasturi Walk ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to to read the rest of this article, or log in here.

Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


Central Market
10 Jalan Hang Kasturi, Chinatown
T: (03) 2031 0399

Location map for Central Market

Popular attractions in Kuala Lumpur

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Kuala Lumpur.

Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Kuala Lumpur.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Kuala Lumpur.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Kuala Lumpur.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Kuala Lumpur.
 Read up on how to get to Kuala Lumpur.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Kuala Lumpur? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

Noordin Mews in Georgetown
Noordin Mews in Georgetown
Ad A delightful choice among
Penang’s heritage picks.

Read more

See below for more sights and activities in Kuala Lumpur that are listed on

Top of page

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kuala Lumpur? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.

Top of page