Bukit Bintang

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Bukit Bintang in 2016

Bukit Bintang (Malay [ˈbu.ket̚ ˈbi.ntaŋ]; stylised as Bintang Walk or Starhill, the latter being a translation of the Malay name) is the shopping and entertainment district of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It encompasses Jalan Bukit Bintang and its immediate surrounding areas. The area has long been Kuala Lumpur's most prominent retail belt that is home to many landmark shopping centres, al-fresco cafés, bars, night markets, as well as hawker-type eateries. This area is popular among tourists and locals, especially among the youths.

Location[edit]

Nestled within Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, the Bukit Bintang district begins with Bukit Bintang Road which starts at Raja Chulan Road and ends at Pudu Road. The two other roads that border the Bukit Bintang district are Sultan Ismail Road which intersects it and Imbi Road at the south. Walter Grenier Road, Bulan Road, Changkat Bukit Bintang and Alor Road are considered part of the entertainment district.

Bukit Bintang borders Pudu and Cheras to the south, Petaling Street to the west, Bukit Nanas to the north, KLCC to the northeast and Tun Razak Exchange and Maluri to the east.

History[edit]

The Westin Hotel in Bukit Bintang

Tong Shin Road in Bukit Bintang was the focal point of the Malaysia's deadly May 13 race riots. Back in the late 1980s, corporate magnate Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay proposed a rejuvenated retail cluster in Kuala Lumpur. He started retail developments in this area through a conglomerate YTL Corporation and branded the area as Bintang Walk. The district has since undergone a transformation to become one of the hippest destinations in the city, though the decentralisation of malls in Kuala Lumpur of late has seen more sophisticated malls sprouting around the fringes of the city proper at an unprecedented rate.

Overview[edit]

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Bintang Walk refers to the more developed stretch along the main Bukit Bintang Road and Sultan Ismail Road roads, with the intersection of these two roads as its axis. This place has been transformed over the last 5 years to become one of the most trendy and busiest shopping clusters in the city.[citation needed]Street furniture lines the pavements here. Upscale cafes, restaurants and clubs continue to make their presence felt here. On weekends, thousands of locals as well as tourists throng Bintang Walk and its shopping centres. Many major nightlife events take place here such as the New Year's countdown, Merdeka eve celebrations, street concerts and parties. The annual Malaysian F1 Grand Prix pit stop and Guinness St Patrick's Day Celebrations are held here too.

There are two major annual fashion events held here annually. The STYLO Fashion week as well as the annual glitzy Malaysia International Fashion Week (M-IFW).[1]

Shopping[edit]

Bukit Bintang is one of the city's shopping districts. Many of the city's major retail malls are located in this area, including Berjaya Times Square, Imbi Plaza, Fahrenheit 88, Low Yat Plaza, Starhill Gallery, Sungei Wang Plaza, Lot 10 and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

Imbi is a commercial area located near Bukit Bintang and being a popular tourist spot, the district is especially crowded during public holidays and peak hours. The Berjaya Times Square shopping complex and hotel is located in Imbi. Imbi Road is the main road running through this area.

List of shopping malls[edit]

  • Berjaya Times Square is currently the 13th biggest shopping mall in the world boasting 12 levels of retail with a total of 3,500,000 square feet (330,000 m2). Although it was initially aimed at the upper-echelon of society, it is currently positioned as a middle-class shopping mall offering youth fashion targeted at the younger crowds. For entertainment, it has the largest indoor theme park in Malaysia located on the 5th and 7th floors of the building, it also offers a 3D theatre located on the top floor of the retail podium.
  • Starhill Gallery is probably the ritziest and most luxurious mall in the whole of Kuala Lumpur, alongside Suria KLCC.[citation needed] A Louis Vuitton flagship outlet flank the exterior facade of this grand structure. Fashion houses whether Christian Dior, Kenzo and Valentino can be found here. Many luxury watch boutiques like Rolex, Bedat & Co, Hublot, Audemars Piguet and Jaeger-Le Coultre can be found here.
  • Pavilion Kuala Lumpur Built in late 2007, it is targeted at the middle-upper segment of society. It offers a diverse tenant mix which makes it one of the more popular malls in KL. Tangs and Parkson are the anchor tenants of this mammoth 7-storey retail podium. A plethora of luxury boutiques ranging from Hermes, Celine, Ermenegildo Zegna, Diane von Fürstenberg to Italian fashion doyens like Furla, Gucci, Miu Miu, Fendi and Prada are also located there. Malaysia's previous prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad opened his very own bakery here, known as The Loaf, located strategically next to the entrance.
  • Fahrenheit 88 renamed and refurbished, opened in September 2010, the area previously housed the deteriorating KL Plaza. It consists of 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of lettable space spread over 5 levels of zoned shopping space. There is a designated zone for IT gadgets similar to that of Low Yat Plaza, named Signature@IT. This mall caters largely to homegrown, middle-priced retailers despite anchored by Japanese retailer Uniqlo.
  • Lot 10 (Chinese: 乐天购物中心)— When it was opened in 1989, it was considered the Harrods-equivalent of Malaysia housing designer outlets like Aigner and Versace.[2] Nowadays it is widely reckoned[citation needed] as a middle-class retail destination as most outlets have shifted as a result of competition and degradation. Widespread refurbishment to the mall was done at a cost of RM20 million. Existing anchor Isetan has undergone a facelift. The entrance is flanked by Zara as well as H&M, popular Swedish multinational retail-clothing outlet.
  • Low Yat PlazaThe ultimate one-stop centre for KL-ites when shopping for electronic gadgets. The ratio between IT outlets and F&B outlets are 70:30.
  • Sungei Wang Plaza (Chinese: 金河广场)— Despite opening in 1977 and being the oldest mall in the area, it remains a popular destination for gamers and thrifty shoppers. The plaza features low-cost items, service businesses, Giant grocery store and is anchored by Parkson.
  • BB Plaza (Chinese: 武吉免登购物中心)— Bukit Bintang Plaza is adjoined to Sungei Wang Plaza. It is anchored by homegrown Metrojaya. Slated for demolition and was closed in 2015 to make way for the MRT project.[3]
  • Imbi Plaza

Food[edit]

Bintang Walk[edit]

Restaurants dedicated to Arabian gastronomy have been sprouting along the core of the Bintang Walk of late as a result of a recent general initiative to lure Arab tourists to this region. Popular Maghreb and Lebanese alongside Iranian delicacies are increasingly served by restaurants. However, there are still plenty of trendy and chic restaurants catering to international fare, especially in the BB park area.

"Hutong" on Lot 10[edit]

Hutong (Chinese: 胡同) is referred to as Malaysia's first gourmet heritage village, a food court inspired by the Old China influences. The term Hutong is commonly associated with narrow alleys in Beijing's oldest neighbourhoods. Located on the lower ground floor of Lot 10, this newly revamped food court features 25 street food stalls selling locally renowned and established Chinese eateries scoured across Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It is directly connected to Bintang Walk via an escalator.[4][5]

Pre-war houses along Tengkat Tong Shin near Changkat Bukit Bintang refurbished into trendy eateries.

BB Park[edit]

Previously an entertainment park owned by Low Yat Plaza and Sons Realty, BB Park has been extensively revamped to keep abreast with changing times. Its axis is located along the lower section of Bintang Walk, its concept revolves around social dining and cultural themes. It hosts themed-restaurants in a semi-open air setting which serves up mainly foreign foods including French and German cuisines. The park features Live entertainment in the form of Live bands and cultural shows, and are held during some weekdays alongside during weekends. Besides food joints, some of BB Park's tenants include local art galleries.[6]

Changkat Bukit Bintang[edit]

Chinese hawker stalls along Alor Street

Changkat Bukit Bintang is located perpendicular to Bintang Walk and Alor Street. This is the upmarket gastronomy district of Bukit Bintang. Fine dining joints line the street. It boasts pre-war, colonial buildings which have been refurbished into upmarket restaurants and pubs, serving up Western dining. Changkat Bukit Bintang is also home to one of Kuala Lumpur's hippest and happening party venues.

Alor Street[edit]

Alor Street is an entire street dedicated to cheap hawker food of mainly local Chinese cuisines. Located within walking proximity of Bintang Walk, it is popular among the locals for offering food served in a traditional open-air atmosphere, with chairs and tables dotting the curbs and road-sides. This is a place burgeoning with activity both during night and day. While some hawkers erect stalls along curbs, others operate food stalls from utilitarian restaurants. The food served in local hawker stalls is generally cleaner than their counterparts in Malaysia's less-developed neighbouring countries. For local and foreign Muslim, most of the stalls are non-halal which served pork, frog and beer.[citation needed]

Indoor theme park[edit]

Berjaya Times Square Thema Park is a theme park located between level 5 and 7 of Berjaya Times Square. It is Malaysia's largest indoor theme park, measuring 133,000 square feet (12,400 m2). It features both children rides and thrill rides.

Spa and foot reflexology[edit]

The Bintang Walk district is famous for its specialist foot/body massages and spas-related services. There are numerous shops along the district offering different types of massages inspired by Chinese traditions. These stores also offer exotic foot treatments. These incorporate reflexology, which stimulates acupressure points on the foot. Among the claimed benefits of foot massages are better blood circulation, cures to certain ailments and a balanced, detoxified body. In these shops, patrons sit on reclining long chairs and spend up to an hour or more getting their feet treated to a thorough massage. Charges are measured by duration and types of the massages. The shops are usually open till the wee hours of the morning, which is when the bulk of the business comes.

Accessibility[edit]

Bukit Bintang Station (Kuala Lumpur Monorail)

Public transport[edit]

Monorail[edit]

Bintang Walk is accessible via  MR6  Bukit Bintang Monorail station, which is located at the intersection of Sultan Ismail Road and Bukit Bintang Road (between Lot 10 and Sungei Wang Plaza); further south is the  MR5  Imbi Monorail station which is connected by a pedestrian bridge to Berjaya Times Square. The  MR7  Raja Chulan Monorail station is connected to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and an elevated pedestrian walkway links it to Suria KLCC (and ultimately the  KJ10  KLCC LRT station).

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)[edit]

The underground Bukit Bintang MRT station  SBK18A , part of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line, opened on 17 July 2017 as part of Phase 2 of the system. Early proposals envisioned two stations- Bukit Bintang East[7] and Bukit Bintang West (alternately Bukit Bintang 1 and Bukit Bintang 2) which were later combined into one, and made into a connecting station (without paid zone integration) with the eponymous Monorail station. The MRT station features five exits, serving the nearby shopping malls.

Bukit Bintang's skyline

Other access[edit]

In 2011, Petronas spent RM100 million under its social contribution programme to build an elevated, air-conditioned walkway from Suria KLCC shopping centre to Pavilion shopping centre in Bukit Bintang. The walkway includes a 562m long and five-metre wide elevated walkway[8] that traverses through the busy areas of Pinang Road, Perak Road and Raja Chulan Road with escalator and staircase entry and exit points at strategic and convenient locations as well as security guards for the safety of the pedestrians. The walkway is also linked to the Raja Chulan Monorail station, Impiana Hotel and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. An average walk from Suria KLCC to Pavilion through the elevated walkway would take approximately 15 minutes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Malaysia-International Fashion Week set to dazzle". Archived from the original on 21 November 2010.
  2. ^ Ziauddin Sardar (August 2000), The consumption of Kuala Lumpur, pp. 111 et seq., ISBN 978-1-86189-057-3
  3. ^ "Pembangunan Semula Bukit Bintang Plaza, Kuala Lumpur" (PDF). UDA Holdings. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Grand opening of Lot 10 Hutong". Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Gourmet Heritage Village – Lot 10 Hutong".
  6. ^ "BB Park's glorious draw". Archived from the original on 22 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line". Railway Technology. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  8. ^ Ahmad, Zuhrin Azam (29 Jan 2012). "Cool way to get around KLCC and Bukit Bintang in pedestrian walkway". The Star. Retrieved 10 July 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 3°08′48″N 101°42′40″E / 3.14668°N 101.71119°E / 3.14668; 101.71119