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In The News

Date:Saturday, February 3, 2001

KL's hotspot never loses charm

BUKIT BINTANG has long been the hip and happening spot in Kuala Lumpur.

City folk flock to the area after sundown primarily in search of pleasure and entertainment.

There were lots to keep them busy in the old days: two theatres, the Cathay and the Pavillion, rows of restaurants and shops and of course, BB Park, a 0.4ha amusement park for patrons to dance the night away.

"It was the only place for us to enjoy ourselves back then,'' said Foong Yin Yee, 63, who fondly recalls numerous trips with friends to BB Park, where she also celebrated her wedding dinner.

Bukit Bintang is also close to famous landmarks such as Stadium Merdeka, Stadium Negara and what used to be the Pudu Jail.

The country's earliest and oldest schools: Victoria Institution (founded in 1893), St John's Institution (1906) and the former Bukit Bintang Girls' School (1893) are within a 5km radius of the area. The city's first luxury hotel, the Federal Hotel, still stands along Jalan Bukit Bintang. BB Park has also enjoyed a new lease of life. In 1998, the Low Yat Group opened the park again as an outdoor food, arts, crafts and cultural centre.

It will be relaunched again once a RM7mil project is completed which will turn it into a huge semi-enclosed canopied food and shopping plaza.

One side of Bukit Bintang near Jalan Raja Chulan is quiet and refined. Exclusive apartments, condominiums and bungalows dot the hilly area of Jalan Bukit Ceylon along with office blocks.

And on the other end, lies a boisterous Bukit Bintang. Developed into KL's Golden Triangle and a shopping haven, the area has a profusion of expensive shops, fine dining restaurants, luxurious hotels and sophisticated nightlife.

Here is where The Ritz-Carlton, J.W. Marriott, Shangri-La and The Regent stand alongside Sungai Wang Plaza, Lot 10, Star Hill Shopping Centre and KL Plaza.

The sidewalk cafe culture has also been embraced with the setting up of Bintang Walk.

As you walk further down Jalan Bukit Bintang towards Pudu, a darker side of the area looms. A row of low-budget lodging houses facing Jalan Imbi remains shut all day while its poorly-lit backlane is lined with prostitutes.

Jalan Alor is as famous for its hawker stalls as it is infamous for its "ladies of easy virtue''. Whichever way you look at Bukit Bintang, the area still beckons with its promise of pleasure, be it food, fun or entertainment.


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