Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jalan Bukit Bintang & Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

This morning, before I got out of bed, I thought I was waking up to a Saturday, and then at work, it felt like Friday. Gee! December is really messing me up! And who can blame me when we have such idyllic candy floss skies up above. No, not really, this is a shot from Saturday.

And since I'm so laid back today, let's go back in time a little to the easygoing 50s where bicycling was still a safe and pleasurable activity on the main road (for the people back then, that is).

A girlfried sent me some retro pictures and one of them is of Jalan Bukit Bintang in the year 1950 - original source of picture unknown. Can you imagine how Jalan Bukit Bintang look like in 1950? I could not, so these historical pictures are really a gem. Brace yourself...., this is Jalan Bukit Bintang in 1950...

See what I mean? Wouldn't you say we have come a long way?

For our foreign friends, Jalan Bukit Bintang is currently THE main street in downtown Kuala Lumpur. It is the backbone of that part of the city called The Golden Triangle and which is home to the latest and trendiest shopping malls, 5-star hotels, entertainment centers in Kuala Lumpur. The area circled in the picture below, is roughly the area within The Golden Triangle. This prime estate is bordered by Jalan Imbi, Jalan Pudu, Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak.

We now have an idea of the old Jalan Bukit Bintang. Wanna see how it looks today?

The picture below was taken on Sunday on my way to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, one of the latest malls in the capital, officially launched early this year.

The white building on the right is Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Let me digress a little. The same lot used to be where BBGS (Bukit Bintang Girls School) was. I remember there were some strong protests when the plan was announced that the school had to give way to development.

Back to Jalan Bukit Bintang, further down the road, you will find The Westin and JW Marriott hotels are on the left and beyond them, major shopping malls - Starhill Gallery, KL Plaza, Lot 10 - and further on across the junction are Bukit Bintang Plaza and Sungei Wang and even further down is Low Yat Plaza, the place best known for electronics gadgets.

The building right in the center in the background is a hotel, Grand Millennium. It used to be The Regent.

In the picture below, the imposing building in the background is JW Marriott hotel. This was taken from across Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. JW Marriott is a sprawling hotel and is connected to Starhill Gallery, both owned by YTL Corporation, one of Malaysia's top ten companies.

This stretch of Jalan Bukit Bintang is always congested, even on a Sunday, as you can see from the picture below. The area where there are white tents (on the left) have been converted to what is known as Bintang Walk. There is alfresco dining and where people hang out for a spot of people-watching as well as luxury-car spotting as you can find them parked beside the eateries.

Bintang Walk draws crowds as it is a place for corporate events and live music at times. Kuala Lumpur celebrated her millenium countdown here. This was where I saw our former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, closeup when he passed by to be seated right in front of the stage where Pavarotti was to perform that night.

I might as well point you to the stump in the foreground of the picture. This is the Christmas tree at The Pavilion. Would you say it is ready for display?

Back to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur..
Let me see, what's so great about Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Besides being one of the latest malls, it is just another place of food, crowds, and designer wear. There's Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Chanel, yeah, there is even Marc Jacobs and a host of other equally high-end brands, and others. Watch-lovers and -collectors may also love this place - lots of watch shops there.

Food-wise, there is plenty of choices from the (Food Republic) foodcourt fare to those served in individual restaurants. I noticed there were long lines at JCo (doughnuts) and Baoz (Chinese dumplings and dimsum).

What I like most about the Pavilion are the connecting walkways from one side to the other unlike most malls where you have to go around some distance to go back to a shop you want to return to. Here is what I mean..

Even though I was disappointed with the Christmas decor, I quite like the lightings or chandeliers at the foyer. Nice.

You have an idea of what it looks like from Pavilion looking out, now let me show you from a borrowed image from Wikipedia, the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur look from across the street.

Oh, and there is one other thing I like - the covered walkway that links Pavilion right up to KLCC. Well, not that I plan to use it, but you never know.. So, if you are staying in a hotel in KLCC and want to go to the Golden Triangle or vice versa, you now know there is a shortcut to get you there and back.

Related post on Kuala Lumpur:
- Streets of Kuala Lumpur
- Christmas at the malls in Kuala Lumpur


  1. Anonymous8:43 PM

    The puffy clouds look great aren't they..hot and sunny weather but lovely blue skies over the weekend.

    That photo of Bkt Bintang in the 50s is priceless...I cannot imagine that was it last time.

  2. Anonymous10:59 PM

    Wow awsome photos. Do keep them coming. Can I use some of them for my website http://www.malaysian-explorer.com ?


  3. Wow! I like this post! Nice photos and nice write-up. I didn't know the land where Pavilion is was previously a BB girls school!

    I like Pavilion but I think The Gardens Mall in MidValley City have more class. Yeah, the Xmas decorations in Pavilion is a bit disappointing this time.

  4. wow the old photo is so.... different! i too cant believe that it is!

    thats maybe why i treasure the kampungs a lot hehe :)

  5. The clouds are wonderful. Thanks for all these pics. Yes, they've come a long way, but in the wrong direction in my opinion. Making towns walkable and bicycle friendly is the way of the future.

    A good measure of how good a community is - can your child safely walk by themselves to the local store to buy a snack? Do you know your neighbors and local business owners?

    I think we've lost a lot.

  6. MBL, yeah, great puffy clouds, aren't they?

    That 50s picture, no wonder some people think we live in trees. LOL!

    Hi The Malaysian Explorer, thanks. Thanks for asking. Sure you can use the photos. All I ask is that you link them back to this site.

  7. MBL, yeah, great puffy clouds, aren't they?

    That 50s picture, no wonder some people think we live in trees. LOL!

    Hi The Malaysian Explorer, thanks. Thanks for asking. Sure you can use the photos. All I ask is that you link them back to this site.

  8. Foong, thank you very much.

    You know, I haven't been to the Gardens but I have heard good things about it. Will have to visit it for the Xmas decoration, at least. Eh? Thanks for the tip.

    QC, I am beginning to pay attention to historical stuff - ever since I started blogging. Strange, huh?

  9. PandaB, you are welcome.

    Indeed, we have a lot to catch up on vis-a-vis the systems in place in First World countries and I'm with you that we have lost a lot and it is very sad. With advancements in many aspects, we are degrading in a lot of others.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, PandaB.