By: David Bowden
MALAYSIA is a value-for-money destination for Singaporean shoppers. The range and quality of goods is fantastic and with new shopping malls, there?s more on offer.
Now is the perfect time to plan a trip to Kuala Lumpur, as the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival will be on from July 5 to Sept 1.
Shoppers can expect discounts of up to 70 per cent on many items and the deals are even better when you take into account the favourable currency exchange rates ($1 = RM2.39).
The shopping experience is also very relaxed, especially if you stay within the air-conditioned malls, which are open from 10 am to 10 pm. Prices are fixed in the department stores but elsewhere, bargaining is the practice.
Kuala Lumpur (KL) city centre has the greatest shopping choices although suburban shopping in places such as The Gardens (Mid Valley) and The Curve (Mutiara Damansara) offer great alternatives.
Lot 10, Suria KLCC, Star Hill Gallery and the Pavilion are popular city shopping complexes.
The Pavilion is the most recent addition to KL?s shopping landscape. Its anchor tenants are Parkson and Tangs, and there are some 450 boutiques including Shanghai Tang, L?Occitane, Armani Exchange, Coach, DKNY, Guess, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Versace and Salvatore Ferragamo.
|Besides the air-conditioned mega malls, there's outdoor shopping too.
Cinemas, restaurants, a food court, bookshops and a fitness centre make it a complete shopping venue. Westin Kuala Lumpur, opposite the Pavilion, offers accommodation with modern facilities including executive residences for long-stay guests.
Budget-conscious travellers can check into Hotel Capitol.
Not far away, Sungei Wang Plaza is packed with small shops with a reputation for great bargains.
Low Yat Plaza, which is just across the road, is the place for computers and IT accessories.
In the suburbs, Bandar Utama, Mid-Valley Mega Mall, Subang Parade, Sunway Pyramid, Bangsar Shopping Village and The Curve are always packed, especially at weekends. Many suburban centres have adjoining hotels, restaurants and bars that make them one-stop tourist destinations.
The Curve is one of the most popular with accommodation available in Royale Bintang Damansara Hotel and adjoining stores like Ikea, Ikano, Tesco and Harvey Norman. The Street is popular for an open-air dining experience with its restaurants and bars.
Back in the city, buy something uniquely Malaysian at Central Market, which is full of handicrafts, antiques, pewter items, baskets and beadwork from Borneo, batik, songket and handmade Malaysian kites. Kompleks Budaya Kraf on Jalan Conlay also sells a huge selection of local handicrafts.
Chinatown has an extensive and inexpensive range of fake branded products. Shopping here should be treated as fun and ruthless bargaining is essential.
Check out a night market or pasar malam. Merchants set up temporary stalls to sell farm produce, tasty snacks, cheap clothes and household goods.
The carnival-like atmosphere will appeal to visitors. One of the best such markets is held in suburban Bangsar on Sunday evenings.
Shoppers can experience the traditional markets and the adjoining contemporary shops in Bangsar Shopping Village at the same time.
For more information on the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival log on to www.tourism.gov.my Travel to Kuala Lumpur and the suburbs (services from Singapore to KL, Petaling Jaya, Sunway Pyramid and One Utama) in business class luxury on Aeroline buses (www.aeroline.com.my).
This article was first published in the Special Projects Unit, The Straits Times on June 26, 2008.