I always seem to find myself in Kuala Lumpur (13 times so far), the capital city of peninsula Malaysia. This is not a conscious decision on my behalf; it’s more by circumstance, in other words cheap flight connections. When I visited KL for the second time in 2007 I migrated towards the suburb of Chow Kit. At the time there were limited hostel options in the city and I had heard of one that had just opened offering ridiculously reduced prices. This would start the beginning of my friendship with the Hostel Cosmopolitan and Chow Kit.
Hostel Cosmopolitan has a friendly home feel to it. It’s not a hostel that you party hard to the early hours of the morning, but a hostel that gives you an insight into Malaysian life and the multicultural city of Kuala Lumpur. Muhammad and his crew are always on hand to help out; they have great resources for your ongoing trips into Malaysia, excellent facilities and a pair of cats that think they own the place. No surprise this great hostel is now one of the best in KL as voted by fellow travelers
Most people who travel to Kuala Lumpur head straight for China Town and rightly so. There are cheap tourist markets, cheap beer and the general bland backpacking atmosphere that you would find in most cities. However it is distinctly inauthentic and overtly touristy. As where China town has a night life built for tourists, Chow kit has a nightlife built for the locals. Yes in the past it had a notorious scene of debauchery (ask Muhammad to tell you a few stories about it), however today it had a grungy atmosphere set around a wet market by day and a steaming food market by night. You can get away with dinner for less than a dollar here; I’d liked to see you do that in China Town!
Walking through the back streets of Chow Kit will give you a glimpse into the traditional Muslim lifestyle with call to prayer services, steaming local food stalls and daily life whirling around you. The characters in the streets are enthralling with a distinct mix of many cultures. No you won’t find alcohol here, however that’s the point. This is the real Kuala Lumpur not just a tourist hub. So next time you’re travelling to KL and want an authentic Malaysian experience, travel to Chow Kit and Hostel Cosmopolitan. Just follow the sky rail to Chow Kit station.