Brickfields is known as the biggest Little India of Kuala Lumpur. It is just south of the City Centre. Along the main road, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Indian shops abound, selling Indian clothing, provisions and food whilst the surrounding area is home to both budget and luxury accommodation. Brickfields is also home to the massive KL Sentral, with major transportation links around Kuala Lumpur and beyond. The area east of the Klang River, Robson Heights, is also covered here.
Bangsar a residential area, which is very popular with expats, has some notable restaurants, shopping malls and bars.
In the late 1800s, Kuala Lumpur experienced a huge flood and fire that destroyed the many wooden and thatched houses that were common at the time. To prevent such a disaster reoccurring, Sir Frank Swettenham, the British resident of Selangor, ordered that all new structure be made of bricks within Kuala Lumpur. As the area now known as Brickfields was a clay-rich area it was chosen as the site for brick-making. As a result Kuala Lumpur was rebuilt and the area was named Brickfields.
The area of Brickfields was also home to the main depot of the Malayan Railways during British rule. The benefit of having rail transport at Brickfields was that bricks could then be carted to the depot for transport to Kuala Lumpur, or to the Klang river for transport by barge. To maintain the locomotives and the depot, the British brought people from Sri Lanka and South India. Many workers were housed in the area, which is why to this day the Indian community is so prominent in Brickfields.
Whilst it used to be a less savoury area, today Brickfields has undergone a makeover with the construction of KL Sentral, the modern transportation hub of Kuala Lumpur that was built over the old railway depot. The KL Sentral area has a collection of tall office towers surrounding KL Sentral railway station. In 2009, Brickfields officially became the new Little India of Kuala Lumpur, taking the title from the area around Jalan Masjid India in the Tuanku Abdul Rahman district. This decision was made as the area is considered a pioneering Indian settlement that helped Kuala Lumpur become what it is today. Both neighbourhoods have significant Indian influence and are worth a visit if you have the time.
The area south of the city centre is fairly easy to reach from anywhere in Kuala Lumpur as the main transportation hub, 1 KL Sentral, is here. Multiple train and bus services pass through KL Sentral and are the cheaper options, whilst those who can afford it will find a plethora of taxis available.
Almost all train lines, except the Ampang and Sri Petaling LRT lines, pass through KL Sentral in Brickfields. The LRT Kelana Jaya line passes directly through KL Sentral in Brickfields and can be reached from the Golden Triangle area at KJ10 KLCC station, KJ11 Kampung Baru and KJ12 Dang Wangi stations for the Tuanku Abdul Rahman/Chow Kit districts and KJ14 SBK16 Pasar Seni or AG7 SP7 KJ13 Masjid Jamek stations for Chinatown, the Central Markets and the Old City area. If near the Ampang and Sri Petaling LRT lines it is possible to connect to KL Sentral by transferring to the Kelana Jaya line at Masjid Jamek.
Another option is to take the 2 KL Monorail, which terminates at KL Sentral monorail station, about 200 m from the actual KL Sentral complex. To transfer from the monorail station requires you to cross the Nu Sentral mall to reach the KL Sentral complex. The other monorail station in this district is Tun Sambanthan station on the banks of the Klang River behind the shopping area of Brickfields.
The cheapest and arguably the less reliable option is the KTM Komuter service, with two lines passing through KL Sentral. Convenient to use if in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur and from the western side of the Old city area at Bank Negara station and the moreish colonial-style old Kuala Lumpur station.
The Express Rail Link, with train services from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, has KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit services terminating at KL Sentral. Ekspres services run non-stop to KL Sentral whilst Transit services also stop at Salak Tinggi, Putrajaya/Cyberjaya and Bandar Tasik Selatan stations.
The MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line which is the newest train system in Klang Valley has its stop in this district at SBK15 3 Muzium Negara.
Many buses go through Brickfields and Bangsar. The ones going into town terminate at Kota Raya or Klang bus stand. Buses heading out of town serve Mid Valley, Pantai Dalam and some PJ areas. All the Rapid buses now pass through KL Sentral.
Although there is a KJ16 Bangsar station on the Kelana Jaya Line, it is along Jalan Bangsar and not near the restaurant and drinking area of Bangsar Baru. From the station, you'll have to catch Rapid KL bus 822 or T850 to get you to Bangsar Baru. Bus 822 also goes past Mid Valley.
The easiest way to get to Mid Valley is to catch a KTM Komuter train to KB01 Mid Valley komuter station. The station is linked to the mall via a covered walkway with escalators. The other alternative is to catch an LRT to Bangsar station and transfer onto a Mid Valley free shuttle bus (which runs every half hour) or RapidKL bus 822 (which runs every 25 minutes during off-peak hours).
Buses go from KL to Mid Valley via either Brickfields or Federal Highway.
Brickfields is one area of KL that needs to be explored on foot. Moreover, there is a walking route from here via Sentral railway station to the National Museum, then via the Lake Gardens to the Islamic Arts Museum, the Bird Park and the Butterfly Park.
The commercial district of Bangsar with all the shops and restaurants is around 1.5 km northeast of the train station.
- 1 Little India. Beautifully restored street with all types of Indian shops and restaurants.
- 2 Buddhist Maha Vihara, 123 Jalan Berhala, ☏ +60 3 2274 1141, firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-18:00. Founded in 1894 by the Sinhalese to provide a place of worship for their Sri Lankan Theravada tradition, this beautiful temple with echos of colonialism in the architecture sill supports an active Buddhist community in Kuala Lumpur.
- 3 Sri Kandaswamy Kovil, Lorong Scott 3, ☏ +603 2274 2987, email@example.com. Opened in 1890 this Tamil temple is in at the eastern end of Jalan Scott. Photography and videography is no allowed within the temple.
- 4 Muzium Diraja (Royal Museum - former King's Palace), Jalan Istana (Get off at Monorail Tun Sambanthan, cross the river, go up the hill, past Taman Dusun Bandar.). 9AM-5PM. The former palace of the electoral king of Malaysia, complete with all the royal splendor one might expect. 10RM (foreigners).
- 5 Taman Dusun Bandar, Lorong Bellamy (Get off at Monorail Tun Sambanthan, cross the river, go up the hill into the forest). An urban orchard park, near Muzium Diraja
- 6 Thean Hou Temple, 65 Persiaran Endah (off Jalan Syed Putra), ☏ +60 3 2274 7088. One of the largest and most ornate Chinese temples in the region. The six-tiered temple was built by the Hainanese community and is dedicated to Tian Hou, or the Heavenly Mother. But, as an example of the syncreticism of Chinese religion, also houses two other altars, one for Shui Wei Sheng Niang, the Goddess of the Waterfront and another for Kuan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Its grand architecture and fantastic view of the Valley make it a tourist favourite.
- 7 Galeria Sri Perdana, ☏ +60 32072 0033. Tu-Th Sa 10:00-17:30; F 10:00-12:00 15:00-17:30; M closed. The building, where this museum is housed, was the official residence of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. Artefacts and personal collection of Dr. Mahathir are exhibited here. Free.
- 1 Cycle or hike on SWBC (South West Bicycle Corridor). If you need a break from the city hustle and bustle then try this: Walk or cycle on the Mid Valley-Dataran Merdeka Bike Lane, which was inaugurated in 2015. You can venture either towards the Mid Valley shopping mall (the largest in KL) or to Merdeka Square. As of late 2022 the last 400m of the track towards Merdeka square are closed due to constructions works.
It's one extreme or the other. Brickfields' new shopping centre, 1 Nu Sentral, is a glitzy multi-story affair adjoining the railway station - many familiar Western chains are here. Altogether more fun however are the 2 little Indian shops outside, selling everything from saris and other textiles to spice and jewellery.
It wouldn't be KL, if there weren't more malls in this area though:
- 3 Megamall & The Gardens, ☏ +60 32938 3333. 10:00–22:00. This really is "mega" with over 430 shops crammed into what claims to be one of South-East Asia's largest shopping malls. Anchor tenants include hypermarket AEON Big (Malaysian branch of AEON Japan), local store Metrojaya. If you need to change money, the lower ground floor has several money changers. The Megamall is connected to the upmarket The Gardens at Mid Valley. (KTM Komuter: Mid-Valley)
- 4 Bangsar Village II, 1, Jalan Telawi 3. 08:30–22:00. This is another favourite with those staying around Bangsar & Damansara Heights neighbourhood. Bangsar Village 2 is linked to the original Bangsar Village by a covered pedestrian bridge.
- 5 Bangsar Shopping Centre, Jalan Maarof. Better known as BSC, this mini shopping centre is a favourite among expats and the locals staying around the Bangsar & Damansara Heights neighbourhood. Plenty of cafes & restaurants - a good spot to meet up with friends. BSC also features speciality stores plus Jasons Supermarket.
As Brickfields is the Little India of Kuala Lumpur there is one thing you can easily find, Indian food. One particular speciality found throughout Brickfields is the South Indian banana leaf rice, where white rice is served on a banana leaf with an assortment of curries, vegetables, pickles and papadums. Although traditionally eaten with your hands do not hesitate to ask for cutlery if you prefer and you may even be offered them without having to ask. Banana leaf rice is a very cheap, extremely filling meal and a must try experience in Brickfields. To show appreciation after a satisfied meal, fold the banana leaf towards yourself to signify that you enjoyed the meal.
There are also several Chinese coffee shops offering the usual types of food. There are also the usual fast food suspects to be found within Brickfields. At KL Sentral you can find KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, and coffeeshops such as Coffee Bean, Starbucks and Secret Recipe. One the top floor of KL Sentral there is also a food court. There is also a separate KFC in the streets of Brickfields. At the other end of the budget, KL Sentral's two five-star hotels have international-standard restaurants where you can dine in style in their many restaurants and establishments.
- 1 Jaya Restoran, Jalan Thambipillay 47, ☏ +60322741070. 07:00-23:00. Great selection of Indian dishes. Very fresh ingredients. Especially the lunch buffet is highly recommended. RM8-14 for an average lunch w/o drinks.
- 2 Peter's Pork Noodle, 7, Jalan Tun Sambanthan 4, ☏ +60 13 336 3953. Tu-Su 07:00-16:00. This food stall in the well hidden Money's corner food court is considered one of the best pork noodle places in whole Kuala Lumpur. You can choose between a big (RM 9.50) or small (RM 8.50) bowl, 3 different types of noodles and with or without (-RM 0.50) an egg on top. Try to avoid the peak hours (weekdays from 11:30 to 13:30). During those times it is hard to find a table due to large groups of office workers having their lunch here. RM 8-10.
- Annalakshmi Vegetarian Restaurant, 116 Jl Berhala, ☏ +60 3 2274 3799. Famous vegetarian restaurant at the Temple of Fine Arts, with occasional cultural shows. Food was previously priced based on a pay-as-you-wish model, but the restaurant now charges set prices for food. Menu consists of buffet lunch, rotis for breakfast/tea and ala carte for dinner. Dress code: No shorts/slippers. From RM 10 for lunch or dinner.
- Chat Masala, 259G Jl Tun Sambanthan, ☏ +60 3 2260 3244. This vegetarian restaurant serves mock meat. Go for the "mutton" or "chicken" briyani, tea-time specials like pani puri or bhel puri, then wash it down with filter coffee. RM 10 for lunch or dinner.
- Kaveri, Jl Padang Belia (Between Summer View hotel and the YMCA). Open fronted restaurant with friendly staff. Serves a variety of Indian foods, plenty of meat dishes, as well as a number of vegetarian options. RM1 for roti canai, RM4-5 for meat.
- Saravanaa Bhavan, 196 Jl Tun Sambanthan, ☏ +60 3 2260 3755. Clean restaurant serving authentic South Indian cuisine. All food is vegetarian. RM13 for set meal of rice, papadum, chapati and a selection of 10 chutneys and dhals.
- Vindya Curry House. Authentic Indian curry of every variety. RM4.50-8.
- Vishalatchi Food Catering, 18 Jl Scott. Specialises in authentic Chettinad cuisine served on banana leaf. Try the idli or puri for breakfast. RM10.
- Chynna, 5th Floor, 3 Jl Stesen Sentral (Hilton Kuala Lumpur), ☏ +60 3 2264 2264. Lunch: 11:00-14:30; dinner: 18:00-23:00. Wonderfully over-the-top modern Chinese restaurant that looks like it just stepped out of a kung-fu movie, with waitresses in thigh-slit cheongsams and plaited houseboys serving herbal tea from a pot with a meter-long spout. The menu is equally eclectic: try the pumpkin and shrimp dumplings or the chicken feet in black bean sauce, then finish off with coconut ice cream in avocado sauce. Lunchtime dim sum dishes a reasonable RM8-11 each, but dinner is far more expensive.
Bangsar has a wide range of restaurants.
- 3 Devi's Corner, 9 Jalan Telawi 2, ☏ +60 12267 6714. Great banana leaf restaurant. It is not as famous as the nearby Nirwana banana leaf restaurant, but cheaper and - according to many locals - has better tasting food.
- Sage, Level 6, The Gardens Residences, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, ☏ +60 3- 2268 1188. Dinners only. Chef Daniel has now exceeded his master Takashi Kimura and taken Sage to new heights. With a combination of Japanese and Italian flavours, he bring fusion food to a new level of delicateness without compromise. Sage has been attracting hordes of customers from his previous restaurant Cilantro's which is closed for renovation. One of the best restaurants in Kuala Lumpur but expect to spend about RM200-250 per person RM 150-200.
The commercial area of Bangsar Baru is packed with pubs and bars. Until the mid-2000s there was a vibrant clubbing scene as well, but this has ended for now.
- 1 The Social, 57-59 Jalan Telawi 3, ☏ +60 32282 2260. 12:09-02:00. Popular bar and restaurant.Can get quite noisy due to the large crowd.
Brickfields contains two extremes of accommodation - sleazy hole-in-the+walls which only rent out rooms on an hourly basis (mostly in the old Brickfields area), and three of KL's best five-star hotels north of KL Sentral.
- 1 Joy Inn, 22 Jalan Thambypillai, ☏ +60 32276 3766, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Hotel built on top of grocery store. The rooms are small but comparable to other hotels in the area. RM88.
- 2 PODs The Backpackers Home, 1-6, no 30 Jalan Thambipillay, 50470 Brickfields (find the KL Sentral Monorail; walk to the back of the monorail, and the place will be on your right), ☏ +60 3 2260 1434. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Comfortable and clean. Free wheelie tours offered weekly and a very interesting open stage event every first Friday of the month. Comes with a free breakfast, bunk beds, single and double pods. RM35-75.
- 3 YMCA Hostel, 95 Jalan Padang Belia, ☏ +60 3 2274 1439, email@example.com. Like most YMCA Hostels this one feels sterile, It is clean and safe. Make sure to check their website for guest restrictions. Single or double RM110.
- 4 Flip Bunc KL Sentral, Jalan Padang Belia 76-1 (close to the YMCA hostel), ☏ +60 32273 5433, firstname.lastname@example.org. Opened in March 2017. Good online ratings.
- 5 Hotel Sentral, 30 Jalan Thambypillai, ☏ +60 3 2272 6000, email@example.com. Nice and clean hotel with good online ratings. RM160-200.
- 6 My Hotel @ Brickfields, Jalan Padang Belia 68, ☏ +60 3 2272 6000, firstname.lastname@example.org. From RM100.
- 7 Hilton, 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral, ☏ +60 3 2264 2264, Reservation.email@example.com. This hotel which opened around 2005, is adjacent to the KL Sentral train station and the Le Meridien. The Hilton has rooms with open bathrooms and plasma TVs. Plenty of restaurants and an executive lounge on the 33rd floor. Furthermore there is a gym and maybe the most relaxing spa/pool complex of any hotel in KL. It is truly an oasis in the middle of chaos.
- 8 Le Meridien, 2 Jalan Stesen Sentral, ☏ +60 3 2263 7888. Adjacent to the KL Sentral train station. Opened in 2004, has a splendid lobby and modern rooms with views of the nearby gardens (or the roof of KL Sentral if you pick the wrong side). Shares spa and pool facilities with the Hilton next door.
- 9 Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, No 5, Jalan Stesen Sentral, ☏ + 60 3 2723 1188. Consists of 482 rooms & suites, multiple meeting rooms, ballrooms, restaurants. It is a modern property 950 metres away from the Nu Sentral Mall.
- 10 The St. Regis, 6, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, ☏ +60 3 2727 1111. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Opened in 2017; five-star hotel. Many rooms have a beautiful view to the Botanical Garden. The hotel has consistently high online ratings. US$207 - 285 (standard room).
- 11 Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur, No. 211, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, KL Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ☏ +60 3 2727 9999, firstname.lastname@example.org. The property features 157 fully furnished serviced apartments with easy access to KL Sentral railway station and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.