Shopping in Malaysia ranges from exclusive street side stalls to department stores. Bargaining is expected in the markets, unless fixed prices are displayed. Kuala Lumpur is a popular shopping destination, rivalling Singapore and Hong Kong. Suria KLCC, below the famed Petronas Twin Towers, is a shopping mall with a spectacular fountain, gardens and a beautiful piazza; it has a great selection of leading couture outlets. Times Square, Mid Valley Megamall, Pavilion KL, Star Hill, Sungei Wang Plaza and Lot 10 are some of the popular shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur.
The islands of Labuan and Langkawi are duty-free zones. Cameras, pens, watches, cosmetics, perfume and electronic goods are available duty-free throughout Malaysia. Malaysian speciality goods include Royal Selangor pewter, silverware and brassware, batik, jewellery, pottery and songket brocade.
Most shops keep their own opening hours, usually within the range of 10 am to 10 pm.
Places to Shop
Kuala Lumpur is a great place to shop. In recent years, mall after mall has risen from city lots, filled with hundreds of retail outlets selling everything under the sun, literally!
Suria KLCC is one of Malaysia's premier shopping destinations due to its location beneath the Petronas Twin Towers. Kuala Lumpur's premier shopping district, the Bukit Bintang area in the Golden Triangle, resembles New York's Fifth Avenue and Singapore's Orchard Road and has the highest concentration of shopping outlets in Kuala Lumpur, which cater to varying budgets. Bukit Bintang houses various cafés, alfresco dining outlets and shopping malls such as Berjaya Times Square, Bukit Bintang Plaza, Fahrenheit 88, Lot 10, Low Yat Plaza, Pavilion KL, Starhill and Sungei Wang Plaza. Pavilion KL, at the corner of Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Raja Chulan, is without a doubt the city's most upmarket mall, with stores including Burberry, Furla, and Gucci. Fans of electronic gadgets would delight in the multitude of choices at Low Yat Plaza, whilst shoppers hunting for the latest in affordable Asian style should definitely check out Berjaya Times Square and Bukit Bintang/ Sungei Wang Plaza.
Several popular malls lie outside the Golden Triangle. The Bangsar and Mid Valley areas are home to some of the best shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, namely the Mid Valley Megamall and the adjacent upmarket The Gardens, the more cosy Bangsar Village and Bangsar Shopping Centre in Bangsar. The Damansara area north-west of Kuala Lumpur, though not in the city-proper, it is one of the high concentration of shopping outlets in the Klang Valley (as Kuala Lumpur and its immediate vicinity is known). It houses various shopping malls like The Curve, e@Curve, Ikano Power Centre, IKEA, Cathay Multi Screen Cinemas, Courts Megastore, NiuXehSui Ara Damansara and 1 Utama. There are also many shopping malls in the neighbouring cities of Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya. Malls such as Sunway Pyramid Megamall in Petaling Jaya and Subang Parade in Subang Jaya are very nicely designed, and it is worth making the trip down to have a look even if you don't plan to buy anything.
Despite the onslaught of the modern malls, Kuala Lumpur still offers some Asian tradition with traditional shopping streets and markets. The best area for such shopping is Chinatown in the city centre. This district is also the best place to hunt for souvenirs, especially in Central Market, a former produce market which has been converted into an art and craft market. It is also known as Pasar Seni in Malay. The Little India near Jalan Masjid India offers various fabric for use. Most of the fabrics are imported from countries like Indonesia, India and China while some are locally produced. Indonesian traditional batik and songket are traditional fabric commonly found in Central Market. For greater satisfaction choose the hand made ones. You may be interested to buy ready made baju kurung or baju kebaya (the traditional Malay blouse). For peace of mind, buy from the bigger stores. Some Thai handicrafts are also sold here, alongside handmade Malaysian wooden souvenirs.
Since 2000, the Ministry of Tourism of Malaysia has kick-started the mega sale event for all shopping in Malaysia. The mega sale event is held thrice in a year – March, May and December – where all shopping malls are encouraged to participate to boost Kuala Lumpur as a leading shopping destination.