Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

From street markets to upscale shopping malls, Kuala Lumpur is one of the world's best cities for shopaholics. With prices ranging from incredibly cheap, particularly for domestically made goods, all the way up to incredibly expensive high-end fashion, there's truly something for everyone in Kuala Lumpur's huge, diverse, and exciting shopping scene.

For decades, Kuala Lumpur's shopping experience was all about street markets. From the tourist-focused markets of Petaling Street to the cheap and cheerful flea markets of Jalan Pudu, the city's top shops were almost always independently owned. However, in the last decade, Kuala Lumpur has experienced a major construction boom and is now something of a mall haven.

The city's best shopping malls are located in the Bukit Bintang, KLCC, and Golden Triangle areas – three inner city suburbs that are linked by relatively short walkways and transportation lines. Each of the major shopping areas has its own strengths and weaknesses – some are great for luxury gear and high-end products, while others are great for finding inexpensive clothing and accessories.

KLCC – short for Kuala Lumpur City Center – is home to Suria KLCC, the city's premier high-end shopping mall. Located at the base of the world famous Petronas Twin Towers, Suria is the center of high society fashion in Kuala Lumpur. Brand names like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Prada line its hallways, and boutique designer stores occupy many of its higher floors.

Along with high-end fashion, Suria is also home to a wide range of high street fashion stores, health and fitness stores, and sports-focused clothes outlets. On the upper floors of the complex, you'll also find electronics and home accessories, often from premium brands. Suria is connected to the LRT at KLCC LRT station on the shopping center's bottom floor on the Kelana Jaya Line.

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

Other high-end shopping malls include Pavillion KL, a large shopping center located close to Bukit Bintang Station on the KL Monorail. While slightly less luxurious than Suria, Pavillion is still one of the city's best malls for fashion, accessories, and home items. The mall is divided into sections, with fashion and general apparel located close to the entrance and other items found further back.

On the upper floors of Pavillion KL, you'll find a multiplex cinema along with a multitude of food stalls and restaurants. Pavillion is undoubtedly Kuala Lumpur's best mall for department store fans, with Parkson and Harvey Norman both found inside. Outside, you'll find makeup and accessories superstore Sephora, as well as some hip clothing and accessory stores aimed at teenagers.

For a more luxurious experience in Bukit Bintang, consider visiting Starhill Gallery. Located next to the JW Marriott Hotel on the famous Bukit Bintang walk, Starhill is KL's oldest luxury shopping mall and arguably the city's best place to buy designer fashion clothing. Conveniently located near Pavillion KL, it's a nice complement to the less flashy clothes sold in nearby department stores.

Around the nearby Imbi Station, you'll find Berjaya Times Square – a massive shopping mall aimed at Kuala Lumpur's growing middle class. Home to a huge range of camera stores, this is the place to go for modern photography equipment. The mall is home to a small indoor theme park and a range of independent clothing stores, although the upper floors are bare and not of any real interest.

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

Across the street from Berjaya Times Square is Low Yat Plaza – KL's capital of technology. One of the city's more niche shopping malls, Low Yat is made up of computer and video game stores, many of which sell less-than-legal merchandise such of questionable copyright status. From DVDs to the hottest new release games, this is the place to visit for digital entertainment and technology.

Despite its reputation as a piracy den, Low Yat is actually a great place to purchase new computer components and other consumer technology. Verify that the good you're buying are real and you'll end up saving a significant margin from the price you'd pay in other KL computer stores. For the most part, computers and accessories are real, while writable media tends to be fake.

Visitors seeking a more raw feel to Kuala Lumpur's shopping scene will appreciate some of the city's street markets, which are scattered across central and suburban Kuala Lumpur. While most tourists head to Petaling Street in Chinatown, better deals can be found on the nearby side streets, which are home to smaller, less popular markets that typically offer higher quality goods.

Just a few minutes away you'll find Central Market – one of Kuala Lumpur's oldest open markets and a fantastic place to find local souvenirs and products. Offering everything from handicrafts to imitation versions of international brands, Central Market is a great place to get the Kuala Lumpur shopping experience without the hustles – and the constant heat – of nearby Petaling Street.

Whether you're in Central Market or Berjaya Times Square, it's wise to never buy any brand name clothing outside of department stores or boutiques in Kuala Lumpur. Unless you're knowingly after fake merchandise, you'll likely end up disappointed with the quality – and of course, the legality – of the shirts, dresses, and jewelry you'll see in outdoor markets and budget shopping malls.

All street market transactions are handled in cash in Kuala Lumpur, although some local shops will be able to accept credit cards and local bank cards. In shopping malls and designer stores, expect to pay either using local currency – the Malaysian ringgit – or your credit card. ATMs are plentiful in all areas of Kuala Lumpur, and you'll rarely have any difficulty finding one while out and about.

From luxury fashion to ultra-cheap local souvenirs, Kuala Lumpur is home to many of Asia's best deals and finest places to shop. With Ginza-style luxury in Bukit Bintang and Suria KLCC and an awesome mix of truly Malaysian intensity and deal-making in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur is a city that really offers everything for shoppers, regardless of what they're looking for.