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Why should you make time to discover street art in Malaysia?
Lots of fun for kids and adults
Beautiful pieces of art
Where to find street art in Malaysia?
We won’t be telling you were to find the street art in Malaysia exactly, or on which corner you should look. A big part of the fun is exploring the streets, look in the little alleys and searching all the artwork. Go to the visitor centre or ask your hotel, they will provide you with all the information about where to look or even give you a map with an entire city walk to discover the street paintings.
The capital is one of the best places to see some amazing street art. Penang and Melaka were the first cities where the hype began, but Kuala Lumpur soon followed. The art is just everywhere, waiting to be discovered. If you want a guideline, try to get a map of the street art tour. Or just wander around and let the city surprise you.
In the neighbourhood of Jalan Alor, we ourselves discovered by accident some lovely streets completely transformed in vibrant colours. It almost gave us the feeling we were in Puerto Rico or Cuba. It was our first encounter with the street art of Malaysia, and we didn’t realise there was so much more to come (read here our travel diary on Kuala Lumpur).
Alongside the Klang River, artists have given the walkways a facelift with their urban art. And one last example is this piece, the fighting cockerel by Kenji Chai, a local artist, who painted this for Nando.
Penang, George Town
This is where the whole hype started, in 2012 by the artist Ernest Zacharevic, with his amazing urban art. But nowadays, a lot of artists have their own paintings in the old streets of George Town and the rest of Penang island. It will take you a while if you want to discover them all! And you won’t be the only one that is looking for them. It can get very crowded because everyone wants its picture with these interactive drawings.
We definitely had an amazing time exploring it all (check here our travel diary of George Town). Hours of fun while walking through the city, looking for the art and in the meanwhile discovering the beauty of the old streets and buildings of George Town.
Unfortunately, we only had one day here. So we didn’t have time to discover a lot of the street art of Melaka. But the city was the second one, after Penang to jump onto the hype of urban art! They understood it was a huge attraction for tourists so they gave the artists room for creating some beautiful paintings.
The old city of Kuching, located on Borneo, is another great and recent spot to explore street art in Malaysia (read here our travel diary of Borneo). The hype didn’t stay just on the mainland. The cities in Sarawak and Sabah also jumped on the train. When walking around in the old centre of Kuching, you will discover a lot of amazing paintings. One-piece we really loved was the orang-utan on walls of the Singgahsana Lodge.
And again, Ernest Zacharevic was contacted and has some beautiful work here. You will find it mainly around the Kuching Waterfront. But take your time to check the other ones in the surrounding streets. You won’t be disappointed.
And in many other places…
- Almost every city has its own walks to discover its street art. Ask for a map in your hotel or guesthouse, or if they don’t have it, go to the visitor centre.
- Try to avoid the weekend or public holidays. It can get very crowded. If you don’t want to wait in line after 20 Asian girls that all want an individual perfect shot of themselves with the painting, come in the week, very early in the morning or in the evening.
- Be prepared that some paintings aren’t the same anymore. Over the years the colours fade out a bit. Some are still as shiny as the picture on your map, others won’t be. But you’ll discover some new ones, so that balances it out.
Hopefully, we convinced you to go and discover street art in Malaysia! Have you been there? Leave us a comment on what your thoughts were! Or do you have new information, things to add? We love to hear from you!