Kuala Lumpur, March 2014 - Welcome to Malaysia, a shopping heaven of the East. With its eclectic mix of mega malls, vintage retailers, unique mom-and-pop stores, open air bazaars and markets, Malaysia offers even the most finicky of shoppers a run for their money when it comes to shopping. Voted 4th amongst 12 of the World’s Best Shopping Cities by CNN, Kuala Lumpur bested the likes of Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai and Milan in the stakes for the most gratifying and enjoyable shopping experiences. KL offers some of the best bargain opportunities, quality upscale stores, variety of brands and merchandises, city splendour, dining experience, accommodation options and world class services.
The shopping landscape in the major cities in Malaysia tends to extend from the city centres to the outlaying suburban areas, meaning shoppers can experience great shopping wherever they go. While malls like Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Suria KLCC, Fahrenheit88 and Starhill Gallery are clustered together in the Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur, shoppers can still enjoy great shopping in the suburban areas of Damansara, Bangsar and Subang. Three of the largest shopping malls are situated in these areas, 1Utama in Damansara, Mid Valley Megamall in Bangsar and Sunway Pyramid in Sunway, with hundreds of retail outlets at each mall to satisfy one’s shopping obsession. The same can be said when one travels to Penang (Queensbay Mall, Gurney Plaza and Straits Quay), Johor (Johor City Square, AEON Tebrau City and Danga City Mall) and the East Coast of Malaysia, Sabah (1Borneo Hyper Mall) and Sarawak (The Spring).
There are also specialty malls and outlets worth checking out like Low Yat Plaza for gadget enthusiasts and tech savvy individuals, or Publika Solaris in Damansara for its creative and artistic vibes. Sungei Wang Plaza, one of the oldest malls in Kuala Lumpur is a fascinating place for shoppers to browse for 'all kinds of everything' from fashion and beauty items to gadgets, Japanese anime bookstores and fun kitschy gifts and souvenirs. Unique pieces of arts and craft are available at the Kompleks Kraftangan Malaysia, where some of the best craft products from all the States in Malaysia are placed under one roof. But for those looking for rare and unusual objets de arts, head over to the streets of Penang and Melaka where old world antiques and traditional handcrafted objects are sold at reasonable and bargain friendly prices.
Street bazaars and night markets or 'Pasar Malam' are also part of the Malaysian retail scene. The Malaysian night markets are open in the evening, usually in residential neighbourhoods around the country. One can find fruits, vegetables, snacks, attires, household items and ornaments sold at individual stalls and at low prices. It often takes place on only one to a few days of the week, as the traders rotate around different neighbourhoods on different days of the week. The street bazaars in Malaysia are also unique, with their many varied products and goods of every colour, shape and size. It is simple irresistible especially for bargain hunters. Some of the more famous night markets and street bazaars in Malaysia are Petaling Street (Kuala Lumpur), Batu Feringgi Night Market (Penang), Jonker’s Walk Night Market (Melaka), Satok Weekend Market (Sarawak) and Gaya Street Sunday Market (Sabah).
What makes shopping in Malaysia even more attractive are the three major Sales Events i.e. the 1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale in March, the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival from June to August and the 1Malaysia Year-End Sale in November to December. The whole of Malaysia celebrates the Sales during these months and prices of goods are slashed to retail lows to please even the most discerning of shoppers. On top of that, Malaysia was also declared a Duty Free Destination in 2011, which means shoppers can expect to buy more varieties of imported goods and at better prices. They now pay less for items like perfumes, handbags, apparel, gadgets, rugs, bed linen, footwear, hats, jewellery and toys. Most luxury brands in Malaysia have also reduced their retail prices by an average of 20%.
The National Sales Events in Malaysia are usually supported by other thrilling events. As its name suggests, the 1Malaysia GP Sale is held nationwide every year in support of the Petronas Malaysia Formula1 Grand Prix. This year the 1Malaysia GP Sale will begin on 15 March to 6 April. At the same time, visitors to Malaysia can also get pleasure from the sales and exhibition of more than 50 brands at over 200 booths at the 5th Malaysia International Shoe Festival 2014 (MISF 2014) which will take place from 27 to 30 March at the Kuala Lumpur Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). This much anticipated ‘shoevaganza’ is set to feature established and up-and-coming local designers as well as renowned international brands, with offerings ranging from sexy stilettos, comfy flats and stylish pumps to trendy sneakers and classic leather wear. If swing is your thing, make time in your diaries to drop in on the EurAsia Cup Malaysia where you will see ten golf maestros from Asia and Europe pitting their skills against each other in a newly-launched team match play tournament. The event which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the European Tour is slotted to take place between 27 and 29 March 2014 at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Selangor.
Known as the ‘Mother of All Sales’, the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2014 which this year will run from 28 June to 1 September is a retail party celebrated nationwide. From coast to coast, malls and stores kick off with an itinerary packed with various activities, fun events, colourful performances and exciting contests- this on top of some of the best bargains you will find in the region. With the Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid festival and Malaysia’s National Day celebrations on 31 August 2014 coinciding with this sale period, visitors can look forward to a grand eight- week shopping spree where retail fun embraces cultural exuberance.
Penang was recently voted by Lonely Planet as a top culinary spot for 2014 and if this is any indication of what visitors can expect when they come to Malaysia, then the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia programme would be the ideal event to look out for. This programme is set to showcase the delicious and tantalising diversity of Malaysian cuisine for the period of three months beginning 1 October – 31 December 2014. It is divided into several segments which are, the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, Asian Food Heritage Trail, Street Food Festival and Restaurant Food Festival. So while enjoying the end of year festive shopping at the 1Malaysia Year-End Sale 2014 from 15 November 2014 to 4 January 2015, shoppers can also enjoy the delights of Malaysian cuisine from the various states in Malaysia and around the world.
If you are visiting Malaysia and Klang Valley in particular in March 2014, head for the Egyptian-inspired Sunway Pyramid Mall on 15 March where you can witness the grand launch of the 1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale 2014. Taking place at the LG2 Orange Concourse of Sunway Pyramid, visitors will be treated to a vibrant medley of cultural dances, busker entertainment, guitar and song performances by popular local artistes, an elegant fashion show and the star highlight- a display of a series of the sharp and sporty Lotus Supercars. A few of these cars will also be on display at the same area on 15 and 16 March for the appreciation and viewing pleasure of shoppers to the mall. So if you are in town for the Petronas Malaysia Formula1 Grand Prix taking place on the 28 to 30 March 2014, do try and arrive a couple of days earlier for a spot of shopping fun and therapy.