Many peoples' idea of Malaysia is a sleepy
Asian backwater where people live a bucolic rural lifestyle, frozen
in time. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Malaysia is a
bustling cosmopolitan society with a healthy economy, rising standards
of living and education and a well-paid populace. Of course the
economy has not yet reached Western levels and pockets of poverty
remain but most Malaysians have money to spend and no shortage of
places to spend it. Malaysia's plentiful shopping malls offer
choices that few Western cities can better. These malls are busy
and the throngs of shoppers are mainly local people with perhaps
a few tourists. One of the great things about shopping in Malaysia
is the friendliness of the people. Generally the staff at stores
are very well behaved, polite and attentive. Their command of English
varies from fluent to only a few words and phrases but they usually
give you service with a smile and honesty amongst sales staff is
As Malaysia is a multicultural nation, the population have all
had a lifetime's experience in dealing with people from different
racial and cultural backgrounds. This has led to the development
of a very tolerant, polite and patient civilization. I have never
felt worried or threatened during my many trips through Malaysia.
On the contrary, I know I can always receive help and advice if
I request it.
The Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board will have one of its annual
sales from the 3rd of August until the 1st of September. This will
be known as the Malaysian Mega Sale.
The favourable exchange rate of M.R 3.80 to the dollar means prices
seem low to tourists. There is a huge range of locally produced
handicrafts with silver, pewter and brass offering excellent workmanship
at unbeatable prices. Many other items of rattan, wickerwork, cloth
and pottery are inexpensive and of high quality. Oriental art objects
and curios are abundant. Carvings in wood and stone, paintings,
tapestries, rugs of silk and fine woollen carpets are also available.
Batiks on silk and cotton with bold designs in brilliant colours
and typically Malaysian patterns are different from those offered
in other Asian countries. An extensive range of quality ready-to-wear
apparel in modern designs and hues; from sedate to vivid, are accompanied
by a complete range of handbags, shoes and accessories. Designer
collections from the fashion centres of the world include, with
the best-tailored garments, a range of elegant footwear, optical
accessories and quality fabrics.
The latest in electrical appliances, electronic equipment, computers
and cameras can be found at bargain prices.
Business hours for stores in Malaysia are generally 9.30 A.M to
7.00 P.M. Most department stores and supermarkets open from 10.00
A.M until 10.00 P.M. Prices in larger stores and malls are fixed.
Bargaining is normal in smaller stores and obligatory for roadside
vendors and hawkers. Reductions in price of 10-20 % are standard
amongst vendors; sometimes 30-40 % can be achieved, depending on
your negotiating skill and your patience! Starting to walk away
after saying thanks but no with a little smile can often result
in a sudden acceptance of your last offer.
Electricity in Malaysia is 220 volts. Electrical equipment may
be sold without an attached plug. However, most stores will fit
a plug of your choice for use back home.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital city and the commercial hub of the
country. Historical relics, heritage buildings and land marks, parks,
amusement centers, animal and plant exhibits mean there's plenty
to do in the daytime apart from shop. At night the city rocks and
a pulsating nightlife offers relaxation or exhaustion as you choose.
The next day, a visit to the Central Market will let you see many
artisans producing local handicrafts and paintings. This former
wet market is now an air-conditioned shopping bazaar with a wide
variety of local crafts and souvenirs for sale. It also has numerous
food outlets where the best of local cuisine can be sampled. Across
from the Central Market is the'Goldsmiths Row'. Here shops sell
gold, diamonds and jade at competitive prices.
Some other handicraft centres are worth visiting including; the
Kompleks Budaya Kraf at Jalan Conlay, also the Infokraf Centre at
Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin and the Batik Malaysia Berhad outlets in
the city centre. These establishments offer exquisite silverware,
pewter, woodcarvings and batik or brocade [songket].
The Royal Selangor Factory at Setapak is worth visiting with its
information about pewter manufacturing, displays and a huge selection
of high quality pewter-ware including mugs, goblets, cutlery, ashtrays,
dishes, bowls and figurines.
To sample something uniquely Malaysian visit China town in Petaling
Street. Known as'The Bargain Center'. This is one of the busiest
and most colourful parts of the city. At night the street is closed
to traffic and becomes a bustling brightly lit night market with
an enormous range of goods offered at rock bottom prices. Other
places that have many choices include the shopping precinct called
Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Here you can find clothing, food, cosmetics,
shoes, electrical goods, sports equipment and antiques. Jalan Bukit
Bintang has several ultra- modern shopping and commercial complexes
and large international hotels. Shoppers can browse through several
hundred shops in this busy area.
Jalan Ampang/Jalan Tun Razak is located within Kuala Lumpur's
Diplomatic Enclave. The area has several prestigious shopping complexes
that boast international names as well as quality local products.
The newest and classiest shopping complex is the "SURIA"
next to the Petronas twin towers. Many other mega malls can be found
in the city suburbs, all offer excellent value and a wide range
The Malaysian Mega Sale coincides with Malaysian Independence Day
on 31 August. The celebrations will be attended by a number
of dignified guests and a colourful parade promises to illuminate
the city. The festivities will include many exciting events
sure to be of interest to people from all walks of life.
The Mega sale promotion is nationwide and hundreds of other
shopping complexes around the country will be offering discounts
and special promotions. You can be sure of finding great value
in whichever city you choose to visit. Malaysia's Mega sale
is a bargain hunter's dream.
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