If it’s cheap shoes, quality golf gear, gadgets galore, designer clothes or even a pair of Kate Spade spectacles you’re after, my advice is head to KL.
Did you know Kuala Lumpur translates as Muddy City? Its name comes from the muddy river that ran through it back in the olden days. But these days it’s one of my favourite cities in Asia. It’s a brilliant shopping destination as about 6 malls are positioned within a dumpling’s throw of each other, plus many more within a cab ride.
You can get everything from quality luggage (I just bought a hard wheelie bag with 4 wheels that swivel in a natty way) and shoes (to die for), to knock-off designer wear at night markets, to expensive labels in 7-story shopping malls. You can get prescription glasses done while you wait, or spend a day browsing the whole floor of a shopping mall dedicated to golf gear.
Sungei Wang Plaza is six floors crammed with more than 500 stores selling shoes and chic clothing, jewellery and an entire floor of gadgets from phones to games and everything in between. Attached to this is BB Plaza – you can only tell you’re in a different complex when the lino on the floor changes. This is full of kitschy clothes and toys, and is also where my favourite hole-in-the-wall beauty salon is found.
The Pavilion is 7 floors of all your mega stores (European and American brands) as well as little gems like Paris Hilton’s handbag store and the bizarre Kenko Fish Foot spa for those who want fish nibbling at their feet in between shopping and dining.
KL Plaza is the place to go to have your eyes tested by a specialist and the lenses made and fitted to genuine Prada, Gucci, Stella McCartney, etc, frames in about an hour, and all for about NZ$80.
Plaza Low Yat is geek heaven – an IT mall with at least 400 outlets selling widgets and thingamabobs. You’ll also find quality golf gear in department store Isetan over at Lot 10, and plenty of places in between to eat satays on the run or dine in for a full Malay meal.
Times Square – just around the corner from Sungei Wang – is so huge it has an indoor theme park complete with roller coaster. It also has the largest Borders bookshop in the world and so many other stores it’s almost overwhelming.
Under the Petronas Towers, the fourth tallest buildings in the world, is Suria KLCC – a designer mall caters to label hunters including Zara, Top Shop and lovers of expensive European designers.
But the best fun is trying out your haggling skills at the Petaling Street night market. Stalls open about mid-day and that’s a good time to go to avoid the throng, but from 5pm ‘til midnight it’s buzzing and stocked with handbags, watches, Tiffany (et al) knock-offs, shoes, belts and ties. A lot of the vendors are selling the same things, so compare prices first and then start by offering about half of what you’re quoted. And when you’re done shopping it might be time to do something about those lashes.