Malaysia is a shopping destination that caters to every type of shopper. This is evident in the many malls, shops and markets in many cities and especially in the capital of Kuala Lumpur. From designer fashion to the latest in electronics, Malaysia offers it all. One of the highlights of the country’s shopping scene is the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, which takes place every year and attracts both locals and tourists. In Malaysia, there’s also the advantage of exemption of duty on many products. There are duty-free shops in in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and the islands of Labuan and Langkawi, and also in the city centers and international airports.Those who prefer a more casual shopping experience can head to the night markets and bazaars located throughout the country. Some of these markets are held on certain weekdays. Here’s a list of the top shopping destinations in Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur is a shopper’s haven with its many malls and markets. One of the most popular places amongst expats in Kuala Lumpur is The Curve, a mall packed with retail, home décor, appliances, cosmetic and gift stores. It is also has outlets of some of the most popular Malaysian restaurants. The ample layout of the mall makes for a convenient shopping experience. For affordable shopping, there’s no place like Mid Valley Megamall, with more than 430 stores and restaurants. In Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, you will find Petaling Street Market, where you can find anything from t-shirts to souvenirs. Sitting at the top of Kuala Lumpur’s famous shopping street, Bukit Bintang, is the upscale Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, which is connected to another popular luxury mall, Suria KLCC, by an air-conditioned walkway.
The popular malls in Penang include Gurney Plaza, Sunway Carnival Mall and Queensbay Mall. You are likely to find similar retail stores in these malls. On the other hand, there is Straits Quay in Tanjung Tokong, which is a boutique mall with many one-off clothing and food stores. For inexpensive clothing and local food items, there are always the markets like the one on Jalan Penang called Chowrasta Bazaar. There’s also the Thieves’ Market, which opens in the evening and is the oldest flea market in Malaysia. When in Penang, the Batu Ferringhi night market is a place you must visit. From 5pm to midnight, you can shop for all sorts of things from sunglasses to knickknacks.
Once the Malaysian government granted Langkawi tax exemption in 1987, the sleepy island transformed into a tourist hotspot. Langkawi Parade and the neighboring Langkawi Fair mall are main destinations for duty-free shopping. It’s easy to buy everything on your list in just these two malls alone. Another duty-free haunt is Teow Soon Huat, which has about 60 shops and 12 restaurants. The best Asian market in Langkawi is the Temoyong night market. Visiting this market is an interesting experience, although the prices tend to be inflated since it attracts so many tourists.
Malacca is renowned for its antiques, handicrafts and souvenirs. Some of the best places to buy these things include The Orangutan House, where you can purchase original artworks by the owner Charles Cham as well as art t-shirts and other interesting knickknacks; Tan Kim Hock Product Centre, which offers mainly food specialties like Malay cakes, preserved fruits and confectioneries; and San Shu Gong, which also sells traditional delicacies like rice bean cakes and pineapple tarts. For more upscale shopping, head to Dataran Pahlawan, a nine-storey mall that includes many international retail shops, well-known local brands, food outlets and entertainment centers. The basement level has a dedicated craft and souvenir market. Mahkota Parade was one of the first shopping malls in Malacca and has recently been refurbished. Located on the ground floor is Leather Avenue, which offers high quality leather bags and other goods, including international brands.
Most shops in Malaysia, in malls or shopping complexes, accept major credit cards, while cash is accepted at night markets. Malls are open till around 10 pm. While bargaining is not possible at malls and supermarkets where the products have price tags, you can put your negotiating to good use at any of the highly popular roadside stalls and flea markets in Malaysia.