NST, March 6, 2014
Kuala Lumpur is ranked No. 4 in CNN’s top 10 best shopping cities in the world but other towns offer fabulous buys too, writes Hendy Tan
IT was good news indeed to note that for 2012 and 2013, CNN ranked Kuala Lumpur No. 4 in its report of the top 10 best shopping cities in the world and in the top four league behind New York, Tokyo and London.
Shopping is a lucrative sector of our tourism industry and reaps the second biggest share of tourist expenditure after accommodation. In 2012, tourists spent RM18.6 billion on shopping which constituted 30.7 per cent of the total receipts of RM60.5 billion.
With 2014 being Visit Malaysia Year, here’s a list of the country’s best shopping experiences for travellers looking for great value-for-money bargains.
NEW SHOPPING MALLS
While Pavilion, Suria KLCC and Mid Valley Megamall are main shopping magnets in Kuala Lumpur, newer malls springing up elsewhere means shoppers can look forward to more exciting retail therapy all over Malaysia.
• Gurney Paragon, Penang
Gurney Paragon, which opened in July 1 last year, is built around a stunning heritage building. It blends the antique and modern, just like Penang itself and, because of its ocean-front location, shoppers can enjoy the relaxing sea breeze after a hard day of shopping!
• Paradigm Mall, Petaling Jaya
Paradigm Mall is the iconic lifestyle mall in the suburbs. Shoppers have plenty of space to roam about here as the mall has six levels with 92,000 sq m of retail, food and beverage and entertainment space.
• Setia City Mall, Shah Alam
With its shop-in-the-park concept, Setia City Mall opens a new chapter in the township of Setia Alam, Selangor. This new retail destination comes with 10.5 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland where visitors can shop, dine, and enjoy nature all at once.
• Publika, Kuala Lumpur
This chic and trendy shopping mall has reinvented the idea of shopping. Not only does it give shoppers the impression of visiting an art gallery (with all its public art works on display) but Publika also offers some creative shopping space with lots of cultural activities. Apart from that, upscale boutiques, novelty stores and eateries are arranged all over this creative and artsy complex. Some big name brands include MPH bookstore, Ben’s Independent Grocer, Ace hardware, British India and more.
• Intermark Mall, Kuala Lumpur
Located at the junction of two of the most prominent streets — Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang — The Intermark Mall offers shoppers a relaxed, upper class shopping experience. Apart from fine dining restaurants and specialised retail outlets, shoppers can enjoy the comfortable surroundings, a well-decorated lounge, bar and artistic decorations. It’s conveniently integrated with Double Tree by Hilton, office towers and retail podium.
• Citta Mall, Ara Damansara
This neighbourhood mall is in the up-and-coming area near the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, Selangor. The family-oriented mall features huge open spaces and is bound to be your favourite shopping spot, even though you don’t live in the neighbourhood. Among the retail, food and entertainment outlets are Harvey Norman, MBO Cinema, McDonald’s, Meatworks and Chawan.
• Johor Premium Outlet, Johor Baru
Officially opened on Dec 11, 2011, Johor Premium Outlets is a collection of many designer and brand outlet stores with hefty discounts daily. Think 25 to 65 per cent discounts on Armani Exchange, CK Calvin Klein, Bonia, Coach, Timberland, Polo, etc. Located at the intersection of the North-South Expressway and the Second Link Expressway.
• Plaza Merdeka, Kuching
The newest shopping destination in Kuching has a wide selection of local and international brand names on six levels over 51,096 sq m of shopping space. It is surrounded by prominent landmarks such as Sarawak Museum, the historic Padang Merdeka, the Old Courthouse Complex, Brooke’s Monument, Chinatown and numerous temples. Well known international brands here include Cotton On, Dorothy Perkins, AD Jeans, Voir, Ripcurl, Diva, The Bold and Beautiful, Ogival, Leather Avenue Rado Boutique, Skechers and Clarks.
TOP FASHION CHOICES
Get trendy at some of Kuala Lumpur’s trendiest malls. With an attractive price range and a wide selection of fashion products, we are a truly value-for-money shopping destination.
• Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Winner of numerous local and international awards, Pavilion KL is a hot spot where the well-heeled look for brands such as Burberry, DKNY, esprit, Montblanc, Prada, Paris Hilton, Swarovski, Zara, etc. Tokyo Street on level six is worth checking out for its variety of Japanese products, food, arts and culture — all within a Japanese townscape design.
• Sunway Pyramid
The country’s first themed shopping and entertainment mall also has, besides the usual fashion brands, an ice-skating rink, a 12-screen movie theatre and a 48-lane bowling alley. As part of a larger property development group, the mall is located within a mixed development park comprising a resort, hotel, theme park, convention centre, hospital and university.
•Sungei Wang Plaza
Perennially popular with ardent shoppers, Sungei Wang Plaza is suitable for trend-setters, budget-conscious shoppers and souvenir hunters. It offers local and imported fashion brands and is a favourite shopping hangout among the locals.
• The Spring, Kuching
Designed to tap into the affluent Kuching market, the Spring is one of Kuching’s popular shopping malls since its inception in 2008. Shoppers will find a wide array of international fashion brands such as Esprit, G2000, Guess, HABIB and more. Many of these international names are opening their doors for the first time in Sarawak, bringing brands from Germany, France, Denmark and Brazil to Malaysian shores.
• Kenanga Wholesale City
Dubbed as the country’s first one-stop fashion wholesale shopping centre, Kenanga Wholesale City brings new excitement in the Asian wholesale fashion industry. Shoppers can find everything here, from tops and pants to accessories and shoes - all in riot of colours! Besides wholesalers, other business services include event spaces, banking as well as food and beverages outlets.
SOMETHING FOR THE HOME
Home interior shopping is also gaining popularity with many retailers offering a one-stop-centre for home furnishings.
Popular Swedish brand Ikea opened here in 1996, offering a wide range of home furnishing products at affordable prices. Kids can enjoy themselves at the play area while the adults shop. Besides furniture, the Ikea restaurant is popular, especially for its meatball lunch set.
• Viva Home Shopping Mall
This one-stop centre for home-related products and services has it all, from furniture, bathroom fittings and DIY tools to soft furnishings, kitchen accessories and kids’ furniture. There is something for every taste, every budget and every home.
GADGET ON A BUDGET
Gadget shopping is worth considering because of the favourable currency exchange rate and wide range of goods.
• Low Yat Plaza
This IT mall is located right in KL’s Golden Triangle and shopping hub. In March 2009, the Malaysian Book Of Records officially recognised Low Yat Plaza as Malaysia’s Largest IT Lifestyle Mall. With seven themed retail floors selling all kinds of digital hardware and software, it certainly deserves the title!
• Digital Mall
This 4-storey, 7,432 sq m commercial centre in Petaling Jaya stocks IT gadgets, electronics and electrical products, including smartphones, notebooks, tablets, personal computers, software products, game consoles and cameras. It also houses the service centres of major telecommunications companies.
For foreign visitors, souvenir shopping is a must and there’s no better keepsake than local handicraft.
• Royal Selangor Visitor Centre
This Malaysian brand is the world’s largest pewter producer. The Royal Selangor Visitor Centre in KL gives an insight into the world of pewter with interactive exhibits and games. The highlight here is a visit to the School Of Hard Knocks, a workshop centre where visitors can create their own pewter souvenirs. The retail store offers an exciting range of pewter homeware, silver filigree jewellery and other gifts.
• Central Market (Pasar Seni)
KL’s Central Market is an award-winning bazaar which offers a wide variety of souvenirs created by local and foreign artists and craftsmen. Visitors can have their portraits sketched on the spot or request for custom-made souvenirs. Hugging one side of Central Market is Kasturi Walk where shoppers can have a taste of street shopping in a safe, sheltered environment.
• Kraftangan Malaysia
Styled like a Malay village, Kraftangan Malaysia has an artist colony, handicraft shops, art workshop, craft museum and food court. Tourists can spend a day here learning the art of batik-painting, weaving, jewellery-making or pottery. On sale too are export quality handicrafts such as kaftans, bathrobes, silverware, pewter ware, glassware, pottery, silk batik paintings and songket.