Shop and graze
As the sun goes down on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, in the heart of Chinatown the folding tables go up as Jalan Hang Jebat (aka Jonker Street) prepares for the biggest event of the week, the Jonker Walk Night Market.
Jonker and surrounding streets are closed to cars from 18:00 but that doesn’t halt the gridlock; it’s bumper-to-bumper as tourists and locals graze and shop. The permanent shops behind the stalls stay open late, too. It’s loud, brash and commercial, packed with tourist trinkets and punctuated by a multitude of food stalls wafting with tempting aromas.
The open stage draws the karaoke crowd and the nearby clan houses are pumping with Chinese line-dancers (yep, not the traditional lion dance—boot-scooting to Chinese pop), but it’s just as much fun to watch oyster omelettes fry up in a blaze of flames in giant woks or the skillful coconut huskers as they toss shucked wobbly balls of coconut flesh into the air.
Amid the mercantile madness, everyone’s out for a good time and despite the hordes there’s little pushing and shoving, however do be wary of pickpockets. It can get hot and a little claustrophobic, so head to a side street for a breather, or join the posing selfie-enthusiasts with your best Charles Atlas impression at Taman Wairsan Dunia, a small park displaying a large posturing statue of “Malaysia’s Father of Bodybuilding”, Mr Asia winner, Dr Gan Boon Leong.
When it’s time for a beak, pull up a stool at one of the bars along Jalan Hang Lekir where live music adds to the festivities. This is a fun way to spend a couple hours.
Less tourist-oriented local night markets are held nightly at changing locations throughout the week. We visited one at Bukit Beruang (a 20-minute taxi ride from town) open on Wednesdays. Check with the Tourist Information Centre (ground floor Bangunan Surau Warisan Dunia, Jalan Kota) for other locations and dates.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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