Shop till you drop in Kuala Lumpur

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Suria mall, at the foot of the twin towers

Suria mall, at the foot of the twin towers

Malaysians love to shop. I believe the favourite national pastime in the weekends is strolling through one of the many shopping malls. For the locals, it’s a family-outing or a way of spending time with friends. It’s also a great opportunity to people-watch or escape the scorching tropical heat outside! For tourists, Kuala Lumpur is a true shoppers’ haven. The number of malls and the variety of products are simply mind-boggling. In addition, the favourable exchange rate of the Malaysian Ringgit against major currencies makes shopping here a bargain!

Kuala Lumpur (KL) has loads of malls. In the city centre, Suria KLCC (at the base of the Petronas twin towers) and the Bukit Bintang/Jalan Imbi areas dominate the shopping scene. Suria KLCC is one of my favourites as there’s a wide choice of labels and probably KL’s largest bookstore, Kinokuniya.

Pavilion atrium

Pavilion atrium

In the Bukit Bintang area, you have a variety of malls such as the high-end Starhill, the mid-end Lot 10 and the wonderfully chaotic Sungei Wang Plaza (great bargains here for electronics, jewellery, watches and clothes) and the adjacent Bukit Bintang Plaza, with its anchor tenant, Metro department store, a Malaysian household name. Not far from Sungei Wang, there’s another massive mall: Berjaya Time Square which features Cosmo World, Malaysia’s largest indoor themepark, with its 8-storey indoor rollercoaster! Also located in the vicinity are two of KL’s most popular IT malls: Imbi Plaza and Low Yat Plaza. IT geeks will be awe-struck by the huge range of IT hardware and software at these two malls. Starhill Gallery, with its upmarket boutiques (Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, etc..) is certainly worth visiting. In addition to being a quiet retreat from the hustle-and-bustle outside, it features a stylish interior, an amazing atrium and a variety of some of the best restaurants in KL (in the Feast Village). Opposite Starhill is the Pavilion, a ginormous mall with more designer boutiques and a breathtaking atrium. The designer boutiques (Gucci, Zegna, Chanel, etc..) are on the ground floor. There’s a huge food court in the basement whilst the top floor has several excellent fine dining options.

The Gardens

The Gardens

Suburban malls
If you’re still not done with shopping, then head to the Mid Valley City Megamall, about a 15 minute drive outside the city centre. This mall is one of Southeast Asia’s largest – I believe it’s almost a mile long. The serious shopper can definitely spend a day or two there. Next door, shoppers can continue to splurge at The Gardens, an up-market mall with a whole range of designer boutiques and ditto restaurants (check out the beautiful Alexis bar/restaurant for some great food and drinks). The design lavatories are definitely worth a quick pitstop! The one on the ground floor even has a concierge in crisp uniforms! You’ll have to pay to get in but the lavatories on the upper floors are free.

The major suburbs all have their own shopping malls. In the Damansara suburb, there are several major shopping malls such as One Utama (another massive mall around the same size as the Megamall) and The Curve. In the swanky Bangsar suburb, there’s the Bangsar Shopping Centre and the Bangsar Village (I & II). And Subang Jaya has its Subang Parade.

Alfresco shopping
For those who are more into alfresco shopping, head for Petaling Street in Chinatown for souvenirs and the latest (fake) fashion accessories. Don’t forget to bargain furiously! Across the road from Petaling Street, you’ll find the Central Market, another great spot for souvenir-hunters. The Central Market used to be KL’s wet-market but was converted into an artisan’s centre in the eighties. It’s a great place to find beautiful wood carvings, batik prints, songket weaves, paintings, pewter and locally-made fashion accessories.

shopaholics in Malaysia go crazy three times a year

One last note, the shopaholics in Malaysia go crazy three times a year (March, August and December) – that’s when the Mega Sales are held. All shopping malls will be packed with bargain-hunters (both local and foreign). During these periods, unless you’re a die-hard, avoid the main shopping malls during lunch time, weekends and in the evenings. Best time to go is before noon.

One last tip: wear a pair of comfortable walking shoes when you head out to the malls. Once you start exploring the malls, it’ll be hard to stop!

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19 Responses to “Shop till you drop in Kuala Lumpur”

  1. emmi 09/08/2011 7:39 am
    #

    thx for such.a detauled post. im a young female can you recommend what to do around shopping for 3 days here in september??? thanks 🙂

  2. cumidanciki 26/05/2010 11:25 am
    #

    more than 3x a year.. all year! when the economy is down , they love declaring SALES on ever corner! see.. that’s why I’m so broke 😛 (jimmy choo’s!!!)

  3. velvet 12/03/2010 2:30 am
    #

    You can subscribe to my RSS Feed via the Subscribe section near the top of the sidebar.
    Thank you.

    Best regards,
    Keith

  4. Christian louboutin online 12/03/2010 1:29 am
    #

    Great articles and it’s so helpful. I want to add your blog into my rrs reader but i can’t find the rrs address. Would you please send your address to my email? Thanks a lot!

  5. velvet 14/11/2009 6:54 pm
    #

    Thank you for your comment. I guess, living in a tropical country, that this would very much be the case. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  6. 1Malaysia 14/11/2009 4:49 pm
    #

    You are right that the favorite past time during weekends is to stroll around the malls. But this is mainly to escape the afternoon sun and heat, and enjoy the free air-conditioning at the malls 🙂

  7. Lilliy 23/07/2009 7:45 pm
    #

    You spoke right into my heart. I love this post I love shopping!

  8. velvet 23/07/2009 7:52 pm
    #

    Thanks for your comment Lilliy! And guess what? The Mega Sales are on right now in Malaysia! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  9. jessiev 16/07/2009 4:04 pm
    #

    WOW! i don’t like shopping at all but you made this seem exciting and something i’d like to do. hmm…maybe a trip to these malls in KL in our future! thanks!

  10. velvet 13/05/2009 10:47 am
    #

    Thanks Jen! I think you & KL will get along magnificently! 🙂

    Keith

  11. jen laceda 13/05/2009 2:35 am
    #

    I’m in Barca now. Lost wifi for a few days in Marrakech, but I’m back in business and snooping around everybody’s blog again! I think me and KL will get along just fine…..

  12. velvet 12/05/2009 10:51 pm
    #

    Thanks for your comment. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the August sales! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  13. Travelogged 12/05/2009 10:46 pm
    #

    I love shopping and I have always wanted to visit Malaysia… Now I want to go even more! I wish I could make it to that August mega sale.

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