Kuala Lumpur, June 21- If you're an avid shopper travelling in Asia, do try and drop by Malaysia - a retail haven that is now firmly rooted in the shopping agendas of many.
The local shopping scene has always been exciting with a vast selection of merchandise on offer ranging from the latest in tech and electrical equipment to exclusive and also trendy fashions, unusual knick-knacks and intriguing souvenir items. Adding to it is the long line of cultural and contemporary activities, and sales happening nationwide throughout the year.
The story of Malaysian shopping however, began way back in 1995 when it was promoted as an annual event in October for a period of 2 weeks. In 2003, a special secretariat called the Shopping Malaysia Secretariat was set up to develop the nation's shopping attractions and aggressively market it to regional and international audiences.
A national three-leg shopping campaign was modelled comprising the 1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale targeted at visitors arriving for the Formula 1 Race at Sepang, the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival designed for tourists on summer holidays as well as the Middle Eastern market and, the 1Malaysia Year End Sale which catered to domestic and foreign visitors on year - end holidays.
The position of shopping as a vital tourism component was further elevated when tourism was identified as one of the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA). In developing the Tourism NKEA, 12 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) were launched. Of these, 3 focused on shopping i.e.
Epp1; to position as a Duty Free Shopping Destination
Epp2; to designate the Bukit Bintang-Kuala Lumpur City Centre (BBKLCC) area as a vibrant shopping precinct and,
Epp3; to establish Premium Outlets in
To this effect, was declared a Duty Free destination in 2011, an affirmative step in making Malaysian goods more competitive. For shoppers, it certainly meant that they could expect to indulge in a huge array of imported goods and get more for their money. The Bukit Bintang KLCC Tourism Association was formed as well, to coordinate promotional activities to develop the BBKLCC district into a prime shopping venue.
The efforts haven't been in vain, what with clinching the fourth spot amongst 12 of the World’s Best Shopping Cities as announced by CNN in 2013. Beating world renowned shopping havens like Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai and Milan, the crowning followed yet another success, that of being voted the second best shopping destination in Asia Pacific in 2012, surpassing traditional shopping hotspots like Singapore, Bangkok, Sydney, Tokyo and Seoul. It was only to be expected seeing that Kuala Lumpur offers some of the best bargains, a wide range of quality stores and malls, endless local and imported brands in merchandise,dining experiences to remember, classy yet affordable accommodation and, the warmest of hospitality.
The shopping landscape itself is eclectic with bustling ‘mom and pop’ stores, exotic bazaars and night markets weaving alongside glamorous shopping malls that sprawl out like the very popular Suria KLCC, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Mid Valley Megamall or 1Utama in Klang Valley; Queensbay Mall, Gurney Plaza, Gurney Paragon and Straits Quay Tanjong Pinang in Penang; Johor Bahru City Square, Galleria @ Kotaraya, The Zon Shopping Mall and Johor Premium Outlets in Johor; and, 1Borneo Hypermall Autocity, Suria Sabah, The Spring, Plaza Merdeka and Hills Shopping Mall in East Malaysia.
The string of mid to high end malls and various department stores are packed with a huge spread of products comprising the best of local brands leading up to famous designer labels. Big names in the local retail scene include those like Primavera, Lewre, Vincci, Voir, Padini, Radioactive, Salabianca, Anakku, K.M. Oli Mohammed, Poh Kong and many more. Local designer offerings that grace higher end stores and boutiques are such like Bernard Chandran, Pink Jambu, Melinda Looi, Khoon Hooi, Tom Abang Saufi, Rizalman, Justin Oh, Dexter Wong, Edmund Ser and Faisol Abdullah to just name a few. Haute couture hunters will not be disappointed either, for runway- famous labels such as Givenchy, Armani, Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Longchamp, Karen Millen, Jimmy Choo, Hermes, Cartier, Chopard and numerous others, present grand shopping sprees to satisfy even the most seasoned of elite shoppers. Luxury for less - is what you can expect from the all - embracing international designer lines that pack the stores. With numerous items at tax exempted price tags, it certainly is reason enough to indulge.
And if you feel like trading the air- conditioned environs for the unpredictable and fun-filled atmosphere of sidewalk bazaars and night markets, look up popular spots like , Little India, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Hartamas and the Curve in . Elsewhere, the Little Penang Street Market, Batu Feringghi Night Market and Chowrasta Bazaar in Penang offer a hodgepodge of items to fill your cart up, and over in , the many native-run 'Tamu' will simply hold you captive! Jonker Walk in Melaka makes for great antique hunting while the Siti Khadijah market in Kelantan and flower markets in will have you clicking away with your cameras.
Whatever your cup of tea, the shopping experience in Malaysia is heightened by its highly successful sales carnivals- the 1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale (1MGP Sale) in March, the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival (1MMSC) that runs from June to August and the 1Malaysia Year-End Sale (1MYES) held from November to early January. Though shopping is an obsessive hobby enjoyed all year, it is during these sale periods that the prices of merchandise are slashed to retail lows and one witnesses the popularity of the shopping activity in .
If bargains and special offers aren't enough, other thrilling events are held concurrently with every sale carnival too. The Petronas Formula 1 Grand Prix and Malaysia International Shoe Festival run during the 1MGP ; the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival is held during the 1MMSC; and the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia, Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, ASEAN Food Heritage Trail and Street Food and Restaurant Food Festival are held alongside the 1MYES.
Shoppers will be happy to know that with being declared a Duty Free destination in 2011, they now have the pleasure of paying less for items like perfumes, handbags, apparel, gadgets, rugs, bed linen, footwear, hats, jewellery and toys. Retail prices have been reduced by an average of 20% by many luxury brands in too.
Great shopping experiences, favourable exchange rates, delicious cuisines, fascinating attractions and a unique mix of culture and heritage make a must-visit destination as guaranteed by the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign. And certainly, there is no better time than the thrilling sale periods to get the most value for your money. The 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival throws open the doors to a grand world of retail pleasures, in an all - Malaysian style. Welcome to a grand shopping rendezvous - Go SHOP MALAYSIA!