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Malaysia Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Malaysia

Malaysia is a world-class shopping destination, with futuristic malls, unique cultural stores and bustling street markets. Bargaining is expected in the markets, but shops and department stores charge fixed prices, and offer bargain prices during the annual sales from July to September and November to January.

Kuala Lumpur is the most popular shopping destination, rivalling Singapore and Hong Kong for fashions and electronic goods. At the base of the Petronas Towers, Suria KLCC, houses a great selection of leading international brands. Sleek Starhill Gallery and Lot 10 have more glamorous brands, while Berjaya Times Square has its own amusement park, with rollercoasters looping past the stores. The Jalan Petaling street market in Chinatown is good for inexpensive souvenirs, and quality handicrafts can be found in the eye-catching Central Market.

Electronic goods, cosmetics and perfumes are available duty-free throughout Malaysia, and distinctive Malaysian souvenirs include Royal Selangor pewter, batiks, wood-carvings, jewellery, handmade kris knives and songket brocade cloth. The islands of Labuan and Langkawi are duty-free zones. Enquire at the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (www.customs.gov.my) about claiming cashback on duty-free goods.

Shopping hours

Hours vary, but larger shops, malls and department stores open 1000-2200 daily.

Nightlife in Malaysia

Muslims in Malaysia are prohibited from drinking alcohol, but Chinese and Indian residents and foreign visitors are free to imbibe. Kuala Lumpur has the most dynamic nightlife in the country, with plenty of bars and nightclubs, particularly around Jalan Bukit Bintang, Asian Heritage Row, CapSquare, Starhill Gallery, Bangsar, Sri Hartamas and the Curve mall, in Mutiara Damansara. Nightclubs generally stay open until 0500 or 0600 from Wednesday to Sunday and most request a cover charge which includes the price of the first drink. Look out for two-for-one deals before 2000.

Away from the big cities, nightlife tends to be focused around night markets, where locals gather to eat, drink and talk to the early hours. Most night markets set up around 1600 each evening. Most large towns have cinemas showing Malay, Chinese and Indian films, often with English subtitles. You’ll also find plenty of imported American blockbusters. The only permitted options for gambling are the national lottery and Malaysia's only casino at Genting Highlands (www.rwgenting.com).

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