Bukit Bintang, meaning Starhill, is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most-visited districts. It’s home to some of the city’s biggest and most expensive shopping malls and restaurants as well as the street food mecca of Jalan Alor. Jalan Alor is one of the best-known jalans, or roads, of the district. Some of these were known for the same unsavory characteristics many major city back alleys throughout the world are known for.
But in the late 2010s, Kuala Lumpur City Hall decided to transform these streets into art projects. Most of the murals that now decorate Bukit Bintang’s most infamous jalans were started in mid-2018 and completed in December of that year.
A majority of the artwork in these central alleys dividing Bukit Bintang’s major city blocks comes in the form of painted murals with bright colors and natural imagery like rivers, rainforests, and tropical Southeast Asian fauna. A more novelty art type on display here are neon sculptures of cartoony cloud silhouettes that float above the street and light up at nighttime.
One of the most notable natural inspirations to this arts district is the water stream painted on the floor, following the path of an actual stream that once flowed through Jalan Alor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Kuala Lumpur’s City Hall has released the names of the artists that designed and/or worked on this transformation. Perhaps this was not an oversight but rather by design, to emphasize the anonymous, self-less ideal of projects meant for the greater good.
Know Before You Go
While the jalans have been beautified, they are still back alleys in a major city’s tourist district, so take the usual caution when wandering through them, especially at night. The most-decorated alleyways are Jalans Alor, Berangan, Changkat, Rembia and Tengkat Tong Shin, but many other murals can be found in Bukit Bintang.