A Traveller’s Guide To Little India Brickfields: Must Visit!

A symphony of cultures and sacred heritage.
By: Iffah Salleh
November 7, 2023

So, you’ve found yourself in Little India Brickfields or are planning to explore this vibrant town? Well, buckle up for an exciting adventure! Little India has a lot to offer, from authentic banana leaf meals to bustling shops with great bargains, providing you with an up-close experience of Indian culture.

Discovering Little India

As you amble through Little India, you’ll stumble upon shops showcasing Indian traditional clothing, from exquisite sarees and lehenga kurtas to dhotis and more. Each design boasts its own unique charm, with quality that won’t break the bank.

As you wander past the myriad of restaurants, the irresistible aroma of Indian snacks and confectionery will tantalise your taste buds. Don’t worry about missing out on any shops; there’s always another gem just a few steps ahead. 

To help you make the most of your visit, we’ve curated a list of the best shops and restaurants in this Traveller’s Guide to Little India,specifically designed for you! Let’s dive in.

Little India in Kuala Lumpur

Originally along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman until its relocation to Brickfields in 2009, Little India now thrives on Jalan Tun Sambanthan. This lively street embodies the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of India. 

From aromatic spice shops to stores playing the latest Bollywood hits and traditional clothing outlets to banana leaf restaurants, the district bursts with life, colour, and soul. 

A large fountain marks the focal point, and after hours, the district lights up even more with vibrant colours– like really, the town is painted in colour!

Getting to Little India

For an easy journey, take the KTM Komuter, monorail, or Kelana Jaya LRT line and disembark at KL Sentral station. If you’re arriving from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the KLIA Ekspres or KLIA Transit to KL Sentral is your best bet.

We recommend public transport! Check out Moovit for an affordable and convenient option, considering parking can be a bit tricky if you’re driving.

From the station, you can walk in any direction to start your journey. Plan to spend a whole day if you’re into shopping and indulging in the variety of food. If you’re just here for sightseeing, a half-day should suffice.

Dress Code for Little India

As a savvy traveller, opt for comfortable attire. Bring along your own umbrella and shades; the mornings can get pretty sunny. 

Little India requires some walking, so choose comfortable walking shoes or sandals. Finding a stylish yet comfortable pair might be a challenge, but the effort is worth it — good luck!

Must-Do Activities in Little India KL

1. Sip on Fresh Almond Milk

Indulge in freshly made almond milk — Little India offers the freshest. Whether hot or cold, the rich flavour is unparalleled. Grab one at any restaurant, and if they’re out, there’s always another nearby. While taking a break from shopping, try some Fresh Lassi for a refreshing yoghurt drink.

2. Pay a Visit to Thean Hou Temple

Thean Hou Temple is a breathtakingly beautiful Chinese temple that stands as a symbol of multiculturalism in Malaysia. Completed in 1987, this six-tiered temple is dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. It also incorporates elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, showcasing the harmonious coexistence of various Chinese spiritual beliefs.

Architectural Beauty 

The temple’s architecture is a fusion of traditional Chinese, modern, and Southeast Asian influences. Intricate carvings, stunning rooftops, and ornate decorations create a visually stunning spectacle. The grandiose structure also houses three altars dedicated to the goddess Mazu, Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), and Tian Hou (Empress of Heaven).

Cultural Celebrations 

Thean Hou Temple comes alive during major Chinese festivals like Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. The vibrant celebrations attract locals and tourists alike, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Chinese culture and traditions.


3. Step into Tamil Methodist Church 

Source: Trip.com

Established in 1896, the Tamil Methodist Church is a testament to the historical presence of the Tamil community in Malaysia. 

The church has played a crucial role in the lives of the Tamil-speaking population, providing not only a place of worship but also a community centre for cultural and social activities.

As a Tamil Lutheran church, it represents the fusion of Tamil cultural elements with the Christian faith. The church’s structure, adorned with unique architectural features, reflects a blend of Christian and traditional Tamil design.

Along with neighbouring churches, it has become a popular destination for weddings. The picturesque setting and cultural ambiance make it a sought-after venue for couples seeking a unique and culturally rich wedding experience.


4. Explore Textiles and Spice at Jalan Tun Sambanthan

Jalan Tun Sambanthan is a treasure trove of shops offering an exquisite array of Indian textiles and spices. As you stroll along this vibrant street, immerse yourself in the following establishments:

  • Sari Maya
    This boutique stands out for its collection of beautiful and majestic saris. Sari Maya is a haven for those in search of traditional Indian attire. The intricate designs and vibrant colours make it a must-visit for fashion enthusiasts.
  • Spice of India
    Spice of India is a spice emporium that tantalises the senses. The aroma of fresh spices wafts through the air as you explore shelves stocked with a variety of spices, herbs, and condiments. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or an amateur cook, Spice of India offers a sensory journey through Indian culinary essentials.
  • Kausalya’s Exotic Delights
    For a unique blend of textiles and spices, Kausalya’s Exotic Delights is a hidden gem. Browse through racks of Indian textiles, including saris and clothing, and then venture to the spice section to discover an array of flavours waiting to elevate your culinary creations.

5. Banana Leaf

No visit to Little India is complete without savouring the iconic banana leaf rice — a traditional South Indian meal served on a banana leaf. This culinary tradition is an explosion of flavours and textures. Here are some notable spots to indulge in this cultural feast:

  • Restoran Sri Nirwana Maju
    A local gem, Sri Nirwana Maju is celebrated for its mouthwatering Banana Leaf Rice. The fragrant rice, accompanied by an array of curries, vegetables, and papadum, creates a symphony of flavours. The bustling atmosphere adds to the authenticity of the experience.
  • Kanna Curry House
    Known for its warm hospitality and flavorful offerings, Kanna Curry House serves Banana Leaf Rice with a twist. The aromatic spices and expertly prepared dishes set this establishment apart. Don’t forget to try their signature chicken varuval.

These Banana Leaf Rice experiences go beyond just dining — they’re a cultural immersion, providing a taste of the culinary heritage that defines Little India Brickfields. Check out some awesome spots for the best banana leaf in KL & PJ here!

6. Savour the Traditional Flavours of Little India

When it comes to immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Little India’s culinary offerings, the options are as diverse as they are delicious. Here are some standout restaurants that will make your taste buds dance with joy:

  • Saravanaa Bhavan Restaurant
    Renowned for its authentic South Indian vegetarian cuisine, Saravanaa Bhavan is a must-visit for those craving traditional flavours. Don’t miss their ghee sambar idli and medhu vada. The vibrant ambiance and friendly service enhance the overall dining experience.
  • Vishal Food & Catering
    For an unparalleled Chettinad dining experience, head to Vishal. Their Brickfields Banana Leaf Rice is a local favourite, served on a banana leaf with vegetables, papadum, and a variety of curries — all for an affordable RM 6. If you’re a biryani enthusiast, their version is a must-try!
  • Yarl Restaurant
    Craving the flavorus of northern Sri Lanka? Yarl Restaurant has you covered. Try their Yarl thali set and puttu set, or indulge in unique dishes like mutton masala thosai and prawn poriyal. The authentic taste and generous portions will leave you coming back for more. Consider yourself warned!

7.  Admire Sri Kandaswamy Kovil Temple

Sri Kandaswamy Kovil is a Saivite-style Hindu temple with a rich history dating back over a century. Saivism is a branch of Hinduism that venerates Lord Shiva, and this temple is dedicated to him.

The temple’s architecture is a testament to the craftsmanship of Hindu artisans. The intricate pillars, sculptures, and the stunning gopuram (entrance gate) adorned with carvings of Hindu deities make it a visual masterpiece.

Cultural and Spiritual Centre 

Beyond its architectural beauty, the temple serves as a spiritual centre for the Hindu community. 

Devotees visit to offer prayers, participate in religious ceremonies, and seek blessings. The temple is particularly vibrant during Hindu festivals, where rituals and celebrations unfold.


8. Visit Buddhist Maha Vihara

Established in the late 19th century by the Sinhalese community, the Buddhist Maha Vihara is a reflection of the enduring legacy of Sri Lankan Buddhism in Malaysia. The temple complex consists of multiple buildings and shrines.

Wesak Festival

The highlight of the Buddhist Maha Vihara is the Wesak festival, a significant celebration in Buddhism commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha. During Wesak, the temple is adorned with colourful decorations, and devotees gather to participate in religious activities.

Monastic Learning

The temple also serves as a place of monastic learning, where resident monks offer teachings on Buddhism. Additionally, the temple houses a museum with a collection of Buddha statues from various regions, providing insights into the diverse artistic representations of Buddhism.


Why You Should Explore Little India Brickfields

These landmarks in Little India Brickfields not only showcase the diversity of cultures and faiths but also contribute to the rich heritage of Malaysia, where different religious traditions coexist harmoniously. 

Visitors can explore these sites to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural tapestry that defines this vibrant neighbourhood.

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