Pasar Seni Attractions (Halal Food, Solo Travel Tips & 1-day Itinerary!)
Are you looking for ideas and inspiration on Pasar Seni (Malay for Central Market) Attractions in Kuala Lumpur?
You have come to the right place!
This article will share some of the best activities a Muslim Solo Traveler can do at the country’s flagship central market, Halal Food options available, and nearby attractions around the area!
Disclaimer: Some of the links here are affiliate links. I receive a small commission AT NO EXTRA cost to you if you use the links. Hope you find this guide helpful!
About Central Market Kuala Lumpur
As part of Old Kuala Lumpur, Pasar Seni, in Malay, is Central Market for the locals.
Located in Old KL, or downtown KL, the place has historical roots from 1888, with initial beginnings as a wet market.
Now a one-stop center for Malaysian culture, arts, and crafts, the beauty of Pasar Seni is visible from its art-deco structure and charming lanes mimicking traditional Malaysian shophouses.
There are nearby markets around Petaling St that make the experience truly unique for shoppers, tourists, and art enthusiasts.
Pasar Seni Attractions & Activities To Do at Pasar Seni
With over 300 shops within the Central market itself, you simply can’t get enough of Pasar Seni attractions as there are so many things to do!
Here are some things to do as a Muslim Solo Traveler at Pasar Seni without further ado. Most of them don’t even require a two-pax!
Shop for Malaysian Souvenirs & Authentic Handicrafts
The main activity is to get all your souvenir shopping done at Pasar Seni. Depending on what would you like as a souvenir, the Central Market has it!
From locally made pewter, Batik textiles, contemporary art, handmade Malaysian soaps, and durian snacks to postcards and fridge magnets…
There’s something for everyone here!
Try out DIY Batik Painting
If you’re the type of traveler who prefers personalized souvenirs, then a DIY Batik Painting would be a great hands-an activity at Central Market Annexe!
Batik is a method of decorating textiles through wax-resist dyeing technique that is popular in Malaysia
Each piece of Batik is designed by the in-house artist at Pasar Seni, with a descriptive representation of Malaysian landscape and heritage.
Pro-tip: If time is not an issue, the DIY Batik Painting activity should be on your Central Market bucket list! You have to consider both the dyeing and drying processes involved (it can take about 1 hour for a small Batik piece). But if you are pressed for time, a colored-and-done Batik painting is also available for purchase.
Location: Ainna Artwork at Central Market Annexe (the last part of Central Market)
Get Your Face Drawn at Central Market Annexe
One of the main Pasar Seni attractions, or rather a masterpiece that you can get from Central Market, is portraiture of yourself!
Next to the DIY Batik Painting area is a row of local artists’ galleries.
The street artists of Central Market would sketch your portrait in realistic lines, in oil and pastel.
Pro-tip: This is a time-consuming process, so make sure you’ve cleared up your schedule before visiting if you would like to have this experience.
Average price: From RM50 and can go up to RM500 (depending on your choice of canvas size)
Illusion 3D Art Museum
While you’re at Central Market Annexe, why not check out the 3D art museum located upstairs?
The museum offers a vibrant exhibition of 36 gigantic paintings with mind-bending art pieces.
Great for hyperrealistic photoshoots!
There’s also an Augmented Reality Show!
Get a Fish Spa Massage
Fancy for some mini foot massage and detox session?
Then, a Fish Spa Massage is the mini spa adventure you need to have here!
Usually, you can only get this type of activity when you go deep into the rural areas like Sabah. But not at Central Market!
Experience what it’s like to get a feet pedicure, the natural way through fish nibbling those dead skin away!
Price: RM10 (2.3 USD) for 10 minutes
Location: Next to Turkish shop, in Antique collections (double-check)
Henna is a natural and traditional tattoo that disappears within 1-2 weeks.
In Central Market, you’ll find henna artists waiting to translate their art on your hand.
Henna is so versatile that it comes in various colors like white.
However, best to go for the natural and traditional red color, especially if it’s your first time trying henna!
Depending on the design and per hand, the Henna rate varies from RM20-RM40 (2.5 – 10 USD)*
Name on Rice Personalized Souvenir
If Batik Painting or Portraiture is too big for your liking, another personalized souvenir you can bring is a Name on Rice souvenir.
This kind of art in which your name is engraved on rice grain using a fountain pen.
Then, it will be sealed in a case made of either crystal, glass, or plastic and turned into accessories like a necklace, bracelet, or keychain!
Depending on the design and casing, the price starts from RM16 (3.7 USD).
Chinese Seal & Chinese Calligraphy
As the Chinese makes up the second-largest ethnic community in Malaysia and constitutes one of the largest Overseas Chinese population, it is only common to find Chinese heritage in Central Market!
Either an engraved Chinese Seal or a collection of brushes, ink, and posters for Chinese Calligraphy, all is available in Pasar Seni!
Pasar Seni OOTD session
Pasar Seni is a great OOTD area for Reels or TikTok videos!
There are lots of places for you to flaunt your OOTD. It can be within the charming halls with dangling colorful lights, or at the gigantic drop pin next to the entrance.
Pasar Seni Dessert – ABC & Cendol
Pasar Seni KL is also the one-stop center for all kinds of Asian cuisines, particularly local dishes.
And who doesn’t love dessert?
The ultimate dessert that one must try in Malaysia is the ABC or Cendol– Mixed Shaved ice with green tapioca droplets, topped with red beans and condensed milk.
You can have it in the Food Court, alongside other Halal food offered (more about Halal Food options below).
Visit the Art Galleries
If you are looking for an art gallery near Pasar Seni, upstairs in the Annexe building, you’ll find a gallery selling arts in various forms like watercolor, sculptures, and oil paintings!
They sell either ethnographic arts or traditional furniture, and some even showcase permanent exhibitions (depending on the season).
Halal Food at Pasar Seni (Central Market)
Once you are done exploring Pasar Seni attractions, it’s time to replenish that depleted energy with some Halal Asian cuisines at the Food Court!
In general, the dining area, especially the Halal counterparts in Central Market, is in the Food Court.
The bulk of the dining area offers authentic Malaysian delicacies with Kopitiam seats, giving you authentic vibe of what it’s like to dine in a Kopitiam (Malaysian coffee shop).
Some food sold is Nasi Lemak, Local Delights like Roti Canai and Nasi Ayam, Soup selections like Mee Soto, Fried Noodles, and Mixed Rice options. Western Cuisine is also sold.
Halal status: Most of the stalls in the food court are Halal, as they are operated mainly by Muslim owners (who are Malays and sometimes, Natives).
Besides the food court, you can also explore the hipster cafes nearby. Most of them are Halal. Ask if you are unsure.
Exploring Pasar Seni Attractions Beyond Central Market (with Itinerary!)
Once you have explored Central Market, it’s time to check out the major landmarks nearby Pasar Seni area.
Good to know: While Central Market is known as Pasar Seni in the local Malay language, the locals also refer to its location area as Pasar Seni.
This is a whole half-day itinerary that I recommend for you if you would like to explore the area and Central Market at the same time.
Depending on your pace, it can even go up to one day!
8-9 am: Petaling Street Market (Chinatown) – Fresh Flowers & Counterfeit Goods
Start your exploration at Petaling Street nearby, the original Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur.
You can find counterfeit goods like watches and sunglasses sold at lower prices.
If you love fresh flowers, buy some from Chinese-operated florists here!
- Note: The hawker food sold here (along Jalan Hang Lekir) is not Halal.
- Directions to Petaling Street Market
9-10 am: Pasar Karat – Vintage Goods
Located at the back lane of Petaling Street, nearby its row of hipster cafes, is Pasar Karat — a little flea market for vintage items.
Known as “Thieves Market” in the 1980s, this market sells vintage goods like old handphones, old coins, used clothes, retro vinyl, etc.
- Operating hours: 5:00 am – 10:00 am daily
- Directions to Pasar Karat
10 am-1 pm: Central Market (Pasar Seni) – Malaysian Arts, Crafts, and Heritage
Only begin your time at Central Market at 10 am when the shops inside start to operate.
Have your lunch inside Central Market Food court for a fulfilling day’s meal.
Directions to Central Market (Pasar Seni), Kuala Lumpur
1 pm-1:30 pm: Kasturi Walk – Street food pedestrian Walk
This is a shaded outdoor pedestrian walkway with food stalls selling street food and day market goods next to Central Market’s building.
Delicious local snacks like Cucur Pisang, Keropok Lekor, and Coconut Shake (to beat the heat!) are available here!
1:30 pm onwards: Pasar Seni Street Art
Along the back alleys around Pasar Seni are street arts that depict the life of a bygone era of Chinatown.
One of them is Kwai Chai Hong (between Lorong Panggung and Petaling Street).
3:00 pm – Cafe Hunting
The area around Pasar Seni is also filled with hipster cafes in old heritage buildings! Some cafes that you should check out are Niko Neko Matcha and Vintage 1988.
Map of Central Market & its nearby attractions
Hotels near Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur
Considering just how touristy and accessible everything is in Pasar Seni makes it an excellent place for you to stay around in Kuala Lumpur, besides the more expensive Golden Triangle area.
Travelodge Hotel is an affordable hotel located right in the middle of Pasar Seni.
“I personally stayed at this hotel, as it is strategically located in between Central Market building, train and bus station!”— Farihah
Besides that, here are some hotels located near Pasar Seni which are good options for Muslim Solo Travelers.
Related article: Why Aerotel KLIA2 is a Great Transit Hotel for Solo Travelers! [Review]
How to Get to Pasar Seni, KL
There are a couple of ways that you can reach Pasar Seni
- Pasar Seni LRT & Pasar Seni MRT
- Pasar Seni to KL Sentral distance – one stop away via Putra Heights LRT line
- Rapid KL
- KL Hop-on Hop-off
- GoKL – FREE travel for visitors within selected routes in Kuala Lumpur
- A 5-minute walk from Petaling Street Market (Chinatown)
- Grab or MY Taxi
- There is a parking lot right at the entrance of Central Market. Rate starts from RM5 (depending on hours and days).
Nearby Surau (Muslim Prayer Room Facilities)
- You can find the prayer room facility located right inside of Central Market building, located on the rooftop. (map here)
Tips on Touring the Central Market Area
- Bring a hat and wear airy and loose clothes cause the tropical heat can make touring the area unpleasant.
- A retractable umbrella is also handy because the weather can be super unpredictable in Malaysia. In the morning, it can be super hot, but suddenly, the rain can start pouring down like crazy. So, best to be prepared.
- BEAM (e-scooter) your way through Pasar Seni if you don’t want to walk.
Tours around Pasar Seni
“If you want to tour Central Market, Chinatown and two other notable markets in Kuala Lumpur (Jalan Masjid India, & Little India Brickfields) with ease, I recommend this tour, as it comes with the guide of a professional, hotel pick-up and drop off, and history of the markets and its cuisine.”— Farihah
Muslim Solo Travel Takeaway
In conclusion, Exploring Pasar Seni attractions is a great 1-day activity while in Old KL!
It is absolutely solo travel-friendly as most activities do not require a minimum of two-pax to be involved in.
Also, the abundance of Halal food (be it local cuisines or hipster cafes around) & the accessibility of the Prayer Room makes it a Muslim-friendly area for the Muslim Solo Travelers looking for a day activity in KL!
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