Although I think it is very unlikely for you to feel bored when you are on vacation, there is still a slim chance that you might feel tired doing all the things that tourist does. Maybe you feel like taking a break from visiting museums, or maybe you just want to do fun things like – obviously shopping!
Don’t worry, if you are in Malaysia, there are plenty of shopping malls to be visited during your stay. Too many to list. Especially if you are in Kuala Lumpur. There are a lot of shopping malls choices, from the high-end outlets to the place that is perfect for a weekend hangout, KL got them all.
Is shopping in Kuala Lumpur cheap?
This is probably one of the popular questions amongst travelers that are looking forward to visiting Malaysia. “How much money shall I bring?”, “Are the goods good in quality?”, “Can I bargain the price?”
These thoughts are normal. Obviously, we want to be prepared in whatever condition that we are going to face in a foreign country.
Again, I think I have to emphasize the fact that 2017 is the best time to visit Malaysia due to the leverage that you could get from the currency exchange. Since mid-2016, Malaysian Ringgit had performed quite badly due to several issues, globally and locally. In short, Malaysian Ringgit is at its lowest or weakest condition this year. This means, technically, if you change a certain amount of your currency today, it will worth more in Malaysian Ringgit compare to let’s say, 2 or 3 years ago. Therefore, the situation itself will give you a stronger buying power. On the other hand, to generalize that shopping in Malaysia is cheap (all kinds of things) is an overstatement. It depends on the type of things that you are looking for and of course the relative price (at your country).
For example, if you compare the price of a handbag from Kate Spade in Malaysia and the US, obviously, you will find the price here is more expensive. Or maybe, the price of accessories from Ted Baker, whether it is cheaper in Malaysia or in the UK, the obvious answer us no, the price in the UK will be a lot cheaper. Those are imported goods and you are better off to shop for these brands at their birthplace. You got what I mean?
However, if you feel like trying the same products like shoes, handbags or anything else with the local brand, then it will be a lot cheaper in Malaysia. So, it is really subjective. However, there is still a way to buy the luxurious items with cheap prices in Malaysia – I will reserve the tips until the very end.
What to buy in Kuala Lumpur
From my random research, the number one thing for the foreigners to buy in Malaysia is electrical and electronics appliances and maybe gadgets. These are the items with the significant amount of price difference compared to other countries. Thanks to globalization and industrial boom – there are a lot of factories that manufacture these items in Malaysia. For example, you can find famous brands like Samsung, Panasonic, Dell and others that have their manufacturing facilities in Malaysia. So, do your price comparison research and look for these items, you may want to buy it here. However, words of advice – always buy from reliable sources and make sure to check its quality first.
Other things that you might consider buying in Malaysia are clothing, accessories and maybe head scarfs for women. These are also some of the popular items that you may find the bargains for them. Also, local crafts, artworks that are rare could also be considered as a good buy. Other than that, if you want to find cheap fabrics to be made as clothing (especially womenswear), you could head down to Jalan TAR near Masjid Jamek LRT Station where you will find arrays of shops selling these stuff like there is no tomorrow. The plus point to shop at the place like this is – you could do negotiations and bargains for a better price, in fact, you must always bargain!
Best shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur
However, if you want the convenience of shopping in the air-conditioned environment, with rows of cafes and restaurants, then you should obviously go to the malls, and I kid you not, there are a lot of shopping malls in KL. I wonder why, though. I suspect that the land developers tried to push the properties’ prices by literally building malls in every new project. So, yeah, it is not an uncommon thing if you find yourself surrounded by a lot of malls nearby apartments in the residential area. It is kind of weird, I know.
However, there are seasoned malls, the ones that are well-known as the go-to places. Maybe because of the quality of the retailers that they have, or maybe simply because of their locations. These are the best of the best shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur which you must visit if you ever visit Kuala Lumpur.
1 – Pavilion, Bukit Bintang, KL
With over 550 retail outlets and restaurants, this mall is so popular. The main reason is because of the exclusive and the luxurious feels that it brings. Imagine this as Harrods of KL although maybe it is not the same in stature and heritage of the one in London. But, this is the place for you to visit if you opt for a luxurious shopping, or maybe, just for the window shopping.
This place is also very popular amongst the rich Arabs tourists, therefore, don’t be shocked if you find a lot of them here, in fact – Pavilion is so popular for foreigners that they have their own loyalty program only for tourist. You can get your Tourist Reward Card at Fashion Avenue Concierge at Level 2 or Concierge Desk at Level 3 to enjoy special offers, discounts, gifts and so much more from over 250 stores.
Actually, there is no surprise that this mall is very popular amongst tourists. It is because of the location – Bukit Bintang. Oh, maybe if you want to look for hotels near Pavilion, you might want to consider, Grand Millennium Hotel Kuala Lumpur, The Westin Kuala Lumpur or Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel & Residences. These are all hotels that located less than 5 minutes by walking to Pavilion.
2 – Mid Valley Megamall, Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur
This is one of the earliest Megamall in Kuala Lumpur. A very massive one. They started their operation back in 1999. It is actually a complex that combines office tower block, hotels and a shopping mega mall all in its vicinity. The mall has 4.5 million square feet (420,000 m²) of total floor area which obviously – an enormous amount of space. I remember visiting this mall for the first time when I was in my high school. At that time I am not really familiar with the city scene, especially coming from the suburb area. I was overwhelmed by the scale of it and nearly lost in those ‘courts’ of retail spaces.
I actually have a hard time thinking the best way to describe this place. As for shopping, I believe they got it all. From high-street fashion, bookstore, salon, to toys shop, and a place to indulge in the continental foods to piping hot traditional foods like Nasi Lemak, they got them all here. There are about 500 retailers that ready to tempt you to shop till you drop.
Like Pavilion, they appreciate tourists very much too. By this card, you are entitled to additional discounts ranging from 10% to 50%! Amazing deal. I believe many travelers don’t really aware about this card, though. What a shame, I wish I am a tourist in Mid Valley. Seriously, just check this link <http://www.midvalley.com.my/img/tourist/touristcard_offers.pdf> out, and you will find the lists of discounts that they reserved for tourists. From fashion, accessories, handbags, to sundries, foods and beverages, these amazing discounts are all for you to grab.
Plus, with your passport and receipts, you can also claim back the 6% GST (Goods & Services Tax) from approved stores on purchases of RM300 or above at the same store. So, be smart and make sure you get this card and claim back the tax imposed upon your purchases.
Oh, in case if you want to stay in the hotel nearby Mid Valley, you could try looking at Cititel Mid Valley hotel, which is the best seller accommodation for people that looking to explore this ginormous mall, or else, The Boulevard – St. Giles Premier Hotel or The Gardens Hotel and Residences is still an excellent option as they are still in the Mid Valley City area.
3 – Sunway Pyramid, Bandar Sunway, PJ.
Also one of the earliest shopping mall in Klang Valley area. Sunway Pyramid has its own charm and attractions. it always jammed packed with people, and the traffic towards this mall is always busy, thus it makes sense to commute here by using public transport or ride sharing apps. It is actually the first shopping mall of its kind. The first themed shopping and entertainment mall with a nearby water theme park. It has been in operation since 1997, a little bit smaller than Mid Valley Megamall, but still, with 4 million square feet of the retail extravaganza, there are so many things to do here.
So, what does it means by a ‘themed shopping mall’? – It is a mall built and architecturally incorporated with the Egyptian-inspired Pyramid plus a majestic lion statue guarding the entrance. The mall can be divided generally as the Orange Atrium and Blue Atrium. However, the one thing that gives this mall its charm and character is the four distinct shopping precincts – Fashion Central, Oasis Boulevard, Asian Avenue and Marrakesh Avenue that are ready to offer you a shopping experience like nothing else.
Other notable attractions at this mall alone are its ice rink, which I believe one of the earliest one in Malaysia (as you know we don’t have any snow due to the geographical factor), and of course the Sunway Lagoon Water Theme Park which is just around the corner. Other than that, as usual, do expect to binge on ridiculous varieties of foods available in store. So many good restaurants to choose, I might as well advise you to come with a completely empty stomach.
Nearby accommodations are Sunway Clio Hotel or if you want to stay nearer to the Sunway Lagoon Water Theme Park, then Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa or Sunway Pyramid Hotel will be a suitable choice for you, especially if you are traveling with young kids, they going to have the best time of their life!
So, these are the top 3 best shopping malls in Malaysia. Each of them has their own uniqueness and charms. From Pavillion, “Harrods of Malaysia” to an Egyptian-themed mall with ice rink? plus water theme park, these are all the places that you can go to spend time with your family and loved ones to have the time of your life. Please, do not forget to take advantage of the privilege cards for tourists, also don’t forget to claim back your 6% GST. So never, ever lose your receipts if you have the intention to claim that money back!
Finally, what are the fun things to do when you’re bored?
I say – shopping in Malaysia!