This capital city sheds any exotic pretenses when it comes to modern, mainstream commercialism. There are more massive shopping malls and department stores here than in most Southeast Asian nationsa fact which easily places Kuala Lumpur on Southeast Asia's shortlist for shoppers. All of the name-brand merchandise and luxury items from home are found in KL's upscale shopping district.
But shoppers will also find quintessential Asian marketplaces, especially in the neighborhoods of Chinatown and Little India. Day and night markets alternate between different streets, offering everything from kitsch souvenirs to delicate handicrafts and sublime works of art. Traditional songket and batik textiles are particularly well done here.
The epicenter of Kuala Lumpur's modern shopping front, Bintang Market is home to the city's major shopping malls and department stores. These shops have the variety and name-brand recognition of their Western counterparts, though prices may run a bit lower here. Be sure to visit Berjaya Times Square, with its more than 900 shops, along with the upmarket Suria KLCC beneath the Twin Towers.
Once known for produce, this market has become synonymous with Kuala Lumpur's handicraft trade. It is the best place to peruse handmade goods like those found elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The neighboring streets branch out into Petaling Market, Chinatown's bustling commercial center.
This aptly-named Mid Valley Megamall is a favorite destination for shoppers. It hosts a pair of major department stores along with more than 400 shops and boutiques. Visitors will also find a colorful Hindu Temple, 18-screen cinema and bowling lanes onsite. A complimentary shuttle bus connects from the LRT station in Bangsar, while express buses from Chinatown are also available.
Daytime visitors have little reason to suspect this marketplace of being the after-hours hotspot that it is. After the sun sets, merchants set up stalls selling bundled goods (thus the market's name) that arrive via cargo ship during the day. The sheer variety of goods here is staggering, easily making this one of the best night markets in Kuala Lumpur.
The best time for shopping is during the annual ‘Shopping Carnival' held from October to November. Shops across the city slash prices in an effort to cash in on the peak tourism season. Discounts are available in the Golden Triangle as well as in the markets of Little India and Chinatown.
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