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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Malaysia > Kuala Lumpur

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Local time Kuala Lumpur

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Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is paradise for shopaholics, with markets overflowing with crafts and cultural bric-a-brac and futuristic shopping centres and department stores packed with international brand-name fashions and the latest consumer electronics. Prices are low by international standards, and bargains abound, particular if you reclaim the duty on departure. Haggling is the norm in the street markets; for the best savings in the shopping centres, visit during the annual Mega Sale Carnival from mid-June to August.

Key areas

The most important shopping district is the so-called Golden Triangle - the area bound by Jalan Pudu, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Imbi and Jalan Tun Razak. Here, tucked between the skyscrapers, are aircraft-hangar-sized shopping centres and air-conditioned department stores carrying all the top international brands. There are more swish malls dotted around the suburbs. For interesting cultural souvenirs, try Chinatown (for lanterns and other Chinese bric-a-brac) and Little India (for colourful fabrics and depictions of Hindu deities).

Markets

The most popular street market in KL is the night market on Jalan Petaling in Chinatown, but most of the items on sale are counterfeit copies of Western brands, usually of vastly inferior quality. More interesting souvenirs can be found on the backstreets of Chinatown, and around Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Little India, which is the setting for a bustling night market every Saturday evening. Alternatively, drop into Central Market on Jalan Hang Kasturi for an impressive selection of handicrafts from around the country.

Shopping centres

Shopping malls and department stores abound, particularly in the Golden Triangle. Jalan Bukit Bintang is a good place to start your quest for bargains. Nearby, the swish KLCC Suria mall and the truly extravagant Starhill Gallery offer perhaps the most sophisticated retail therapy in the city.

Opening hours

Most shops are open daily 0900-1700, with malls generally open daily from 1000-2200. However, some smaller shops close on Sundays. Sales tax is generally 10% or less.

Souvenirs

While international fashions and electronics are some of the biggest bargains in Kuala Lumpur, traditional crafts abound. Central Market is the best place to come for wood-carvings, batiks, songkets and other handicrafts, but you can find some eye-catching religious bric-a-brac in the backstreets of Chinatown and Little India. Available from outlets throughout KL (or directly from the factory in Setapak Jaya), Royal Selangor Pewter makes for a sophisticated souvenir. The shop at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia has some imaginative gifts based on traditional Islamic art. The kris daggers worn by Malays are also popular souvenirs, but make sure that you are allowed to import such items into your home country.

Tax information

Tax-free shopping is available, but you'll need to request a tax-refund form before payment. This should be presented at the airport for a refund on departure.

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Capitol

Regular promotions and online booking deals bring down prices at this towering business-type hotel set in the midst of the Golden Triangle. Rooms are neat and functional rather than opulent, but the staff are friendly and the location is excellent, with the Jalan Bukit Bintang shopping strip right on your doorstep. Guest have access to an upscale restaurant, a kitchen-bar and 24hr concierge service.

Sarang Mas

This homely bed and breakfast set in a 1920s brick-built house offers rooms with simple furnishings along with communal lounge areas, and suits both families and single travellers. There's relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that feels far-removed from the business hotels of KLC, and the owners also have various other options, including apartments and single rooms, in six other locations across the city.

Traders Hotel

Firmly targeting the business traveller, Traders Hotel offers a location and amenities associated with the top Kuala Lumpur hotels but its prices are easier on the pocket. Rooms are modern and smartly decorated, and service is friendly and efficient. A bonus of staying here is having immediate access to the rooftop Sky Bar, an in-demand address thanks to its epic views of the Twin Towers.

Metro 360

Located in a bustling part of the Golden Triangle, Metro 360 offers tasteful, air-conditioned rooms across 22 floors of a tower block. Guests can make use of all-day dining options, free Wi-Fi, a pool and a gym, as well as shuttle buses to KLCC and Sentral Station. Visitors hoping to explore KL's shopping scene will appreciate the hotel's location nearby the Pavilion, Starhill and Lot 10 shopping malls.

Villa Samadhi

Set behind bamboo-clad gates in the leafy embassy district, this intimate hideaway is one of the city's finest boutique offerings. The 21 rooms and suites are wonderfully spacious and decorated in exotic artefacts collected from across Asia. Guests can enjoy private hot tubs and romantic balconies that overlook a tear-shaped pool surrounded by cabanas and tropical foliage. The restaurant serves all-day dishes and an indulgent breakfast come daybreak.

MiCasa All Suite Hotels

For a home-from-home experience, this design hotel has accommodation in the form of elegant, well priced one to three bedroom suites with kitchens. There's also a palm-shaded pool, a restaurant and a bar. The hotel is situated in the central business district, opposite the Petronas Towers and near the shopping centres of KLCC.