“The shopping’s great in KL but that’s it! You wouldn’t want to spend more than couple of days there” a sun-tanned latte sipper in a Melbourne café advised her earnestly listening friends.
True, the shopping is great in Kuala Lumpur, you can buy anything there and what’s more everything is either reasonably, or incredibly, cheap. Even in the high-end centres like KLCC, under the Petronas Towers, you can snag a Gucci or a Zegna for a good price while over on the Bukhit Bintang, also known as the Golden triangle, in swanky malls like Lot 10 and Starhill there are more well-priced designer deals. Then, of course, there’s China Town, where you can buy copies of all the same stuff for less than song.
But the bargains don’t stop at clothes. There are plazas, like the BB (Bukhit Bintang) stacked with electronic goods and gadgetry; computer gear, cameras, ipods, ipads, phones as well as all the software and accoutrements to go with. Cheap DVDs and CDs, both real and pirated, abound.
The cavernous lobbies of the KL shopping mega-malls also favour the showcase, often featuring local crafts, clothes, jewellery and textiles by local producers and designers. This is fortunate, because it’s possible that in the grab for global goodies at Asian prices, the true treasures of Malaysia might go un-noticed – treasures like the rich variety of sumptuous textiles, the traditional costumes with a modern twist, or the beautiful lace kabaya, the delicate chain of three brooches that fasten them and the gorgeous sarongs that go with them.
Shops open late, always after ten, but often after noon, and close as late as midnight. They are always packed with people, most of them tourists, like our latte-sipping friend, trawling for the latest and cheapest. It’s a long, hard, serious business hunting bargains, haggling over prices and finally hammering home the purchase. So to ease the shopper from one deal to another, there are endless chains of pit-stop cafes, bars, eateries and ice-cream parlours. Then to break up the hours, there’s the spectacle, such as the fun-park with its roller coaster screeching and swooping around the upper reaches of Times Square Berjaya. And last, but not least, there’s the ubiquitous foot massage, to ready the worn-out shopper’s feet for the trot back to the hotel.
Yes it is true, the shopping is great in KL, in fact, the whole shopping experience is great in KL but that definitely isn’t it, there’s more – lots more.