KL is heaven for market lovers like myself. We have anything from your local pasar malam to one of the big, labyrinth like markets like Chow Kit. I would love to see myself as a Marlboro woman type of traveler who ventures out with her camera into the dark alleys. Well, you can guess how far from reality that image is. So when I saw photo tours advertised by MANZA (you can join even if you are not a member, or even a Kiwi or Aussie) I signed up.
KL Photo tours that I joined is not operating anymore. It was run by lovely expat ladies with decades of experience in living in KL between themselves. There are other outlets offering similar tours, just google “photo tours in KL”.
Photo tours are not photography lessons (as you can see from the photos here) but rather an opportunity to venture out to places where you might not normally go with your camera and provide safety in numbers – not literally of course – but rather give you the courage to walk in the middle of people’s everyday business and ask if you can take their photo.
Unlike some markets in other countries where I have had oranges thrown at me for taking photos, the people we met at Chow Kit market were cheerful and patient with a troupe of foreign ladies poking their cameras on them in the middle of their working day.
You don’t need fancy equipment to join a tour. Some participants of the tour I took had smartphones, some had top of the range gear. Some put away their cameras and concentrated in enjoying the atmosphere. The company also offers also workshops and photo book assistance – a great idea for those too
lazy busy to put all those great shots between covers.
The banana section was my favourite, look at these colours! I love the scales, all the stalls have an identical ones in slightly different colours.
The old part of the market is remarkably “industrial chic”. Without our guides I would have walked straight into something that can best be described as pop up chicken processing plant. The new market that is quickly taking over the labyrinth-like old Chow Kit is not nearly as atmospheric but admittedly lighter and more organised.
Apparently Chow Kit used to be the epicentre of the Malaysia underworld. While it’s not that hard to believe, at lunchtime it is just like any busy market area in town.
Read this article from the Star if you want to know more of the history of Chow Kit.
And lastly we walked past this:
I have not seen this on my trips to Chow Kit after the tour. Chow Kit is a great place to go for fresh veggies or to take visitors to experience a living marketplace in the heart of our modern city!