Shopping and Kuala Lumpur go together like malls and food courts, markets and street food. The city is a shopping hub and travellers from across the globe come, suitcases ready, to buy from its huge array of offerings.
But what to buy?
I always like to start in a grocery store. Malaysia is home to some pretty impressive food and while we can’t bring it all home, there’s definitely some suitable products that can help us recreate a few of the flavours we enjoy in KL back home.
A friend likes to bring back packets of instant noodles, another likes Old Town Instant White Coffee (it’s apparently a thing). I’m partial to Sabah Tea…
Other souvenirs include batik fabric and sarongs, hand woven handicrafts, pewter, ceramics or cucuk Sanggul (decorative hair pins - I can attest that these are winners).
But just as KL is a meeting place of cultures and stories, aside from yummy morsels and unique mementos, the city is also a great place to find designer goods at better-than-home prices.
So where to shop?
The Malaysian mall is a force to be reckoned with. They can be like theme parks (or have theme parks within them) with such an array or shopping and entertainment on offer that multiple stops at some pretty impressive food and beverage outlets are necessary (at least that excuse will do). Also, in-mall spa visits are almost obligatory.
In Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Bintang and Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) are indisputably the city’s foremost shopping districts. These two areas are filled with huge shopping malls, major hotels and chic entertainment outlets and are connected by an air-conditioned 562-metre walkway.
In Bukit Bintang, head to Starhill Gallery for seven themed floors of designer goods. More designer boutiques can be found at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur (as well as its famed Liuli Crystal Fountain)
In KLCC, you’ll find Suria KLCC, with its truly amazing Asian Flavours Food Court. Here, you can also pick up a remarkable range of unique ethnic-inspired items at Aseana and Pucuk Rebung. Though if you want a more interactive experience to how some of Malaysia’s craft is made, a craft market is the place to go.
Pasar Seni (or Central Market) has some great handicrafts on offer and you can even request custom made souvenirs made while you wait (or explore Kasturi Walk just outside).
Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex is styled like a Malay village, housing handicraft shops, an art workshop, craft museum and food court. Here you take part in batik-painting, and watch artisans as they skilfully create exquisite items from silver and brass.
But perhaps the most fun is to be had at the street markets. Visitors can find an unbelievable range of novelty items, souvenirs, crafts and other great buys.
Famed Petaling Street or Chinatown will have everything you didn’t know you wanted, Jalan Masjid India is the place to go for Indian ornaments and accessories (not to mention food), and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (or Jalan TAR), one of the oldest shopping zones in the city is the place to go for everything else and then some.
So whether you’re planning on giving the credit card a work out or just picking up a few souvenirs, you’ll discover that Kuala Lumpur has something for everyone — even that brother-in-law who bought you a thesaurus for your last birthday…
For more information, chat to your local travel agent or visit http://www.malaysia.travel.
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