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Street Photography Malaysia – The Mean Streets of Kuala Lumpur

street photography malaysia - on the streets of Kuala Lumpur ( KL )

Street photography Malaysia, on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Well, this is turning out to be an amazing holiday. But it’s not really a holiday now. More a “journey”. I’ve been on the road for coming up to seventy days. My main jobs each week? Booking the next week’s worth of hotels, researching the best places for cheap local eats, and hitting the streets to capture the locals with the Fuji (my current travel camera).

Kuala Lumpur is not only a holiday destination for me – it’s a city I would be happy to call home. The food is spectacular, and incredibly diverse. A local population of Indians, Chinese, and Malay, with countless thousands of restaurants competing against one-another for customers, means that your taste buds will be perpetually satisfied. Hotels are cheap. People are friendly. It’s a little hot and humid at times, but really, there isn’t much to complain about.

street photography Malaysia - it must be Friday

KL street photography  - Malaysian food Hawker

Outside a Jewellery shop on the streets of Kuala Lumpur

The word means "disappeared". Kuala Lumpur streets.

kuala lumpur street photography - Mr Happy

I’ve been located in two districts during my time in Kuala Lumpur. My choice of location in a new city always comes down to two factors. Firstly, I need the busiest streets. Busy, as in people. The second factor is a good value hotel. I am partial to old, run down, but clean, hotels. Find the right family run hotel, and there is an authenticity and homeliness that the big hotel chains just can’t offer.

Street Photography Malaysia – A Well Worn Path Between China Town and Little India

With this combination in mind, I’ve ended up spending the bulk of my time in an area of Kuala Lumpur known as Masjid Jamek. I did spend a few days in Chinatown, as I’m a huge fan of Chinatown’s all over the world.

Almost all of the photos here are from these two areas, and points in-between. It’s less than a ten minute walk from Masjid Jamek to Chinatown – a walk I’ve done many times. A walk that provides endless photographic opportunities. If only I wasn’t so distracted by the many dining opportunities along this same route, I may have taken a few more shots.

malaysia street photography - she was surprised

Malaysia - the bus drivers smoke

Great example of how not to take a candid street photo - KL, Malaysia

Typical mayhem on the streets of kuala lumpur, malaysia

epic malaysian street phone box

Street photography Malaysia style is an absolute hoot. The Fuji XPro-1, as usual, got a workout.  My biggest problem shooting the streets of KL, was that so many people wanted to pose for the photos. Candid close-up’s proved more difficult, as the cheeky KL locals were so quick to ham it up.

I’ve spoken with many locals over the last couple of weeks, and everyone has an interesting story to tell, making my time on the streets all the more enjoyable. OK, not everyone. I’ve had my ear chewed off by excitable and friendly Malaysians about “family in Australia”, more than once.

malaysian streets - another Mr Happy

Kuala Lumpur Street Photography - mother and son jus' chillin

Malaysia photography on the streets of Bukit Bintang - SAVE ME

Portrait of a skater kid - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Smoking bus driver, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

the streets of bukit bintang

KL street photography - massage? No thanks!

This week, my “holiday” takes me from the mean streets of Kuala Lumpur, to the mean streets of Tehran, the capital and largest city of Iran. I’m really looking forward to it, as I seemed to have booked a rather nice hotel in Tehran.

So, “Street photography Malaysia” may be the last post on Yomadic for a few weeks. Facebook is banned in Iran, as is Twitter, and gmail. They’re my primary online communication methods, so I may be somewhat “offline” for a while.

Now that, is what I call a real holiday.

For now, I’ll leave you with the mean streets of Kuala Lumpur.



PS, I would love you to follow Yomadic using your email address. No spam, ever. No sharing of your address. You’ll get each post delivered ad-free to your inbox, and you can unsubscribe with one click. If I get detained in Tehran for taking “sensitive” photos, the email list is the place I want you to be…so please, pop your address in here: 

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18 Responses to Street Photography Malaysia – The Mean Streets of Kuala Lumpur

  1. Audrey | That Backpacker Oct 2, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Nice! Some of these are badass – like the bus driver, and the guy with the ace of spades tattoo. There is so much attitude in their eyes. I also like the second last one of the couple crossing the street. They already look like they are in some intense debate, and they guy behind them is glaring at the camera – perfect!

    • Nate Oct 4, 2012 at 12:32 am #

      Hey Audrey! Appreciate it! Love that you got something out of the photos, stick around, I’ll have some more photography from the streets of another city soon…

  2. B.broke Oct 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Nate, real artistic photo essay. enjoyed different type eye’s thirst quenching stuff. photos deliver more than words. waiting Tehran eye tanning stuff. :-) bb

    • Nate Oct 4, 2012 at 12:30 am #

      Thanks…I will try and take as many photos as possible in Tehran.

  3. Eugene Oct 3, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Loved the shot of the laid back kid on the wall. I wish I was that chilled.

    I think a video of you doing your street photography thing is in order. Maybe Phillipa could follow you around and show us how much fun you have doing this?

    Kudo’s on the bold choice of visiting Iran. If you’ve not had enough sand and sun after that you could always aim to be in Cape Town in about March next year when our weather is hitting the apex of awesome.

    • Nate Oct 4, 2012 at 12:29 am #

      That kid is chillin’ for sure! Barely batted an eyelid as I took three photos. Video? Hmmm. To be honest, we have no decent way of capturing video, but will keep it in mind. And Iran should be interesting for sure…today is the day!

  4. Funkigreendog Oct 3, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Bus driver image is brilliant. Also really like the one of the girl drinking.

    Have these had much post work done on them or are they pretty much OOC?

    • Nate Oct 4, 2012 at 12:27 am #

      Cheers FKD…not a lot of post, depends how bad the original is ;)

  5. Bama Oct 4, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Most of the time I went to KL, I always stayed at a place near Masjid Jamek. You’re right about this district being busy with people. And I can’t believe you’re traveling to Iran! That is such a great news because I myself have been dreaming to visit Persepolis but I think that needs to wait for now. I hope you’ll have an amazing trip to Iran!

    • Nate Oct 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      Hey Bama, nice to hear from you. Masjid Jamek is a great area, always busy. As for Iran, Persepolis is definitely on my agenda, I’ll tell you all about it soon!

  6. Mark Wiens Oct 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Perfectly frozen scenes of such fresh memories. It’s the diversity of KL’s population that makes its food so wonderful!

    • Nate Oct 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

      Hell yes. Takes me back to the Marmite Frog ;) Was great to meet you Mark, see you in Bangkok one of these days!

  7. R C Johnson Nov 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Really stunning collection of photographs here. Found the site searching for XPRO1 information, and find you’re doing wonderful work with the camera.

  8. Meng Yeap Dec 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    Nice work from Kual Lumpur.
    From your writing, you seem to like Kuala Lumpur alot. As a Malaysian, I suddenly feel proud about it,haha and your work in Malaysia will definitely inspire me to do the same :)
    Anyway, Did you come to Penang before?? :)

    • Nate Robert Dec 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

      KL is definitely a city to be proud of – I love Malaysia, and especially KL. Hope to get back in 2013.

  9. Lauren H. of Sobremesa In Spain Dec 27, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Just found you. These are some bad ass shots! Excellent capture of the KL daily street life. Keep on keeping on Nate.

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