I always find it exciting to visit Kampung Bharu, the only traditional Malay village-style neighbourhood left in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It is a fascinating place to be!
Having survived more than 100 years of history, the neighbourhood with its many old Malay wooden houses on stilts and their green gardens, its traditional small shops and restaurants has got a strong sense of community spirit.
The area stands in sharp contrast with the glimmering high skyscrapers of the KLCC area that are just a stone’s throw away. Nowhere else is the difference between traditional and modern as big as in this part of the city.
Start your walk early
As the temperatures can climb quite fast in this country, I suggest you start your walk as early as possible. There are only a handful of restaurants open that serve breakfast, such as Nasi Lemak Wanjo Kg Baru at Jalan Raja Muda Musa (opens at 6am) while most other places open just before or around lunchtime. Jalan Raja Muda Musa runs parallel to Jalan Raja Alang and both roads are considered to be the main restaurant roads of Kampung Bharu.
Where to start?
The settlement of Kampung Bharu is not very difficult to find or to walk through: its left ‘boundary’ is Jalan Raja Abdullah and stretches to the right until you hit the Klang River. If you cross the Klang River via the Saloma Bridge, you reach the Petronas Towers already! Its northern edge is marked by Sungai Bunus (Bunus River) and part of the Jalan Tun Razak Highway. The south and south-eastern side of the neighbourhood is again ‘closed off’ by the Klang River. You can start anywhere within this area for your walk.
I decide to start at the distinct and modern-looking Kampung Bharu Jamek Mosque on the corner of Jalan Raja Abdullah and Jalan Raja Alang. Turn into Jalan Raja Alang and then immediately left into Jalan Daud which runs behind the mosque. Then turn right into Jalan Raja Mahmud.
At this long stretch you will see many plots with traditional houses. Enjoy your walk, soak up the quietness of the area and snap pictures of the sharp contrast of these houses against the skyscrapers in the background. You will eventually hit a section of the earlier mentioned Jalan Raja Muda Musa, but with a few smaller and more local eateries serving Padang-style food. On my walks, I always stop at restaurant Masakan Padang Asli Kampung Bharu. They often have live music performances at lunchtime.
Follow the road upwards until you hit Jalan Raja Uda where you turn right. Then, turn right again into Jalan Datok Abdul Malik which will lead you into the more rustic side of Kampung Bharu. You will pas a few wooden houses tucked behind banana trees and a local mosque, then zig-zag randomly back towards the centre of Kampung Bharu. You will hit some of the side roads of Jalan Raja Muda Musa which to me are the best places to sense and take in the ‘kampung life style’, namely the roads Lorong Raja Muda Musa 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
These are quaint and charming roads where the neighbourhood gets greener and less congested. Don’t fret if you end up at different roads. All of them offer nice glimpses of Kampung Bharu. Have a little picture moment at the Saloma Bridge and enjoy the views of the neighbourhood and the mountains outside of KL.
Follow the huge skyrise called the Menara Legasi back to the main road of Jalan Raja Muda Musa. Passing the main stretch of restaurants you will end at the neighbourhood’s left ‘boundary’ of Jalan Raja Abdullah again. End your 2-hours walk with a cooling dessert such as a fresh durian cendol (Cendol Durian Pintu Gerbang Kampung Bharu, opens at 3pm), an ice cream at Mokti’s or bring home some freshly made kuih available at many of the shops there!
- Bring sunscreen and a hat, good walking shoes and water.
- The walk is suitable for all ages, although I suggest to shorten the walk if you have younger kids or seniors with you. With such company rather aim for an early or late-afternoon walk in the quieter roads of Jalan Muda Musa and Lorong Muda Musa 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (opposite the Legasi Building) and then end with some views standing on the Saloma Bridge.
- If you are a foodie, focus on Jalan Raja Alang and Jalan Raja Muda Musa.
If you’re into heritage walks through our beautiful Kuala Lumpur, have a look as well at our article about a heritage walk in Brickfields here.