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Holiday Shopping Tips for Malaysia

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/18/2006 | Travel
Holiday makers have a myriad of reasons for choosing Malaysia as a holiday destination such as its diverse culture, wonderful scenery, friendly people, and fantastic food. But another reason is the great shopping. While shopping may not be the main reason you choose to holiday in Malaysia, while you're there you can indulge in some retail therapy as an added bonus; especially considering the bargain prices and wide variety to choose from.

While you will find bargains galore in most shopping malls throughout Malaysia the hot spot for shopping is the capital Kuala Lumpur, which has many large shopping malls to choose from, such as:

Suria KLCC

This shopping mall is situated in the city center's golden triangle and adjoins the Petronas Twin Towers (featured in the movie Entrapment starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones). The mall is extremely modern and is one of the more up-market malls in the city, with a total of six levels (an area of 1.5 million square feet). You'll find everything here that you'd find in any western shopping mall plus many locally made products and all at reasonable prices.

Sungei Wang Plaza

This shopping mall is located on Jalan Sultan Ismail across the road from the Grand Plaza Hotel. While certainly not as modern as some of the other shopping malls, what it lacks in building appeal is more than made up for in variety and price of the products available. Each of the six floors spread out in a maze of walkways and retail shops making it easy to loose hours just browsing. For ladies looking to update their shoe collection this is the place to do it. There are so many shoe shops here with beautiful dress shoes at bargain prices that you'll need an extra bag for the trip home. For wearers of eye glasses you will find a number of eyewear shops where you can get a new pair of modern glasses made within a day or two that will cost you half as much as in most western cities. This mall has so much to offer that you could easily spend a whole day there and still not reach the top floors.

Times Square

This mall is located around the corner from Sungei Wang Plaza and is within easy walking distance. This is yet another large mall which also includes a hotel and theme park (complete with rollercoaster). The shopping here is more up-market than the Sungei Wang Plaza which is also reflected in the prices. Although the price you'll pay for your purchases here is more than some of the budget outlets, you also get better quality goods so you do tend to get what you pay for.

China Town Markets

Located in Petaling Street the market is open everyday. Although the majority of stalls open from 5pm onwards the best time to visit is during the day as you'll still find many stalls open without the large crowd. Stall holders are happy to haggle over the price of goods of which there are lots to choose from. A good tip is to carry a bottle of water with you as it does tend to get very humid at the markets. Also try not to use the bathroom facilities at the markets if at all possible as they are not as hygienic as most westerners are used to.

General Tips

When preparing to head off on a shopping trip in Malaysia there are a few things to remember:

- Most shopping outlets in Malaysia don't open until 11am; however they do tend to stay open until around 10pm.

- Bathroom facilities in some of the older shopping malls can be an eye opener for westerners. Asian style toilets are sunken into the ground at the level of a small step for squatting rather than western style toilets for sitting; however most malls have an even mix of Asian and western style toilets within each bathroom.

- In older malls you may also have to pay the attendant at the door not only to use the bathroom itself but also for toilet tissue. A good travel tip is to purchase some personal facial tissues (you can get them in travel packs) and carry in your bag or backpack.

With such a large variety of goods to choose from at bargain prices in Malaysia you may be tempted to purchase more than you normally would. When shopping try to keep in mind that airlines have quite hefty charges for excess baggage weight which could make the price of those "bargains" sometimes more expensive than you'd pay at home, so always set yourself some limits.