KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 – The 500-meter stretch Jalan Alor at Bukit Bintang, among the popular tourist attractions in the federal capital, has nothing much to offer during the day.

With a backdrop of shop buildings on the left and right side of the road, the place is just like any other commercial area with constant honking, engine roars, and the general hustle and bustle of busy streets in a city.

However, as the sun begins to set, Jalan Alor, once dubbed the ‘Red Light District’, begins to change its face and aura as it is filled with tourists from both within and outside the country who flood the street every day.

The tourists, who arrive in droves, not only go there to enjoy the beauty of the night on Jalan Alor, which is adorned with colourful neon lights, rather, they come to indulge in a variety of local delicacies, especially seafood, at reasonable prices, earning it the reputation of a seafood paradise.

The magical atmosphere of the night on Jalan Alor, with its 100 stalls and 50 restaurants lining the street, attracts nearly 10,000 visitors every day.

In addition to seafood, fruit stalls offering Musang King durians and vendors selling sweets are also popular choices for visitors who come here.

Ah Ling, 55, who has been operating for 32 years and is one of the longest-serving seafood traders there, said there have been various changes in the area the most noticeable being the condition of the streets, cleanliness, and the number of visitors compared to when she started her business in 1992.

“The roads here used to be very bad with many potholes but now they are much better since the government has repaved them and added more street lamps.” 

“The pipes have also been replaced and cleanliness is better maintained. here has been improved. The government did this eight years ago before COVID-19 because they knew many foreign tourists were coming here,” said Ah Ling, who is affectionately known as Lalola.

Ah Ling, who runs the business with her husband, now owns six shops.

She said the number of restaurants and stalls in the area is increasing, thereby enlivening the night atmosphere with street entertainers such as buskers.

“This situation is much different than before. The place was quiet then,” said Ah Ling, who is usually busy around 8 pm when many customers patronise her stalls to savour her special seafood dishes, like grilled fish, crab, and black pepper squid.

“There weren’t many shops here when I first opened my stall, and they were also small. But since 20 years ago,  people from all corners of the world started coming, ” she said, adding that her regular customers include a man from Holland, who has been her customer for 28 years.

According to the Jalan Alor Hawkers Association secretary, Simon Ang, the liveliness at Jalan Alor typically begins at  6 pm when tourists start to flock to this area.

Safety is our major concern, especially against pickpocketing, he said.

“The problem can be reduced with the installation of closed circuit cameras and the presence of RELA members, but we need proper documentation from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL),” he said, adding that an application had been submitted to DBKL in August last year.

Ang, who also runs a food shop there, said various community activities, such as the Chap Goh Mei celebration parade,  were also held to make Jalor Alor more attractive to tourists.

He said an arch, to be decorated with LED lights, would be built across Jalan Alor to make the place livelier and more beautiful.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here