Till You Drop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jenkins is a thirtysomething who lives in Amsterdam and writes about
his travels on his Velvet
Escape travel blog. In addition to being a travel blogger, Keith
offers travel writing services as well as social media consultancy
and marketing services. Keith has lived in Kuala Lumpur for 15 years
and he goes back 2-3 times a year to visit. If anybody knows his
way around the city, it's this Journey Man...
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!
City centre malls...
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Don't have a car? No problem. Take a taxi. The taxis in KL are
very inexpensive. For example, from the city centre to for instance
Mid-Valley MegaMall/The Gardens would set you back about USD $2
to $3. It's about the same price for the distance between the
city centre and the Bangsar suburb. For the Damansara suburb,
the fare from the city centre would probably be in the range of
$4 to $6. Go ahead and splurge!
Of all the suburban malls, Mid-Valley
MegaMall and the adjacent The
Gardens are the MUST-SEE. It's seriously jaw-dropping
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
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. The 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!