Blog by M x

Amazing Malaysia!

Kuala Lumpur is a great city for shopping and dining!
Retail Therapy, for Bali Advertiser. OUT May 11

Kuala Lumpur is a super city and thought it would be fun to share my thoughts in general in this issue of Retail Therapy.
It’s really a girly’s point of view, a fly-in and fly-out sort of break, purely from a shoppers view point, particularly if your interest lies in make-up and perfume (most of the names mentioned further on aren’t found in an airport duty free either)
It’s been many years since my last visit to Malaysia, and it was one city that I visited often due to friends living there - of course it was a total surprise to rediscover this city, it’s so grown up!
Easy to fly out on Air Asia direct or Malaysian Airways for a long weekend break to the capital Kuala Lumpur (known as KL)
A friend gave me a description of KL before I left, “it’s like Singapore but a little frayed around the edges” a good analogy. Not as clean and sterile as a city we know, but a city with bustle and character, more feeling, more real life perhaps…

I was totally impressed on arrival to what I would call an airport that functions well, head a few levels down to a modern train line that takes you directly to the city…. however, this time I took a taxi with a friendly driver to my city destination instead.
One can’t help but notice the incredible road system with plenty of green all around. (like Singapore but minus all the tropical flowers)
Of course being a shopper I was keen to hit the streets and not only found a plethora of fabulous shops but experienced delightful, friendly people who were sincere and genuinely helpful in every way….
The infrastructure was apparent, it all worked, the city was clean, I was impressed, there’s even a monorail that connects to the main railway station KLCentral all the way to Petronas Twin Towers.
The shops! one would call it ‘mall shopping’ as it’s the malls that call for your attention. It’s like Singapore which will provide plenty of retail therapy in two or more days; wandering at will, people watching, discovering new places and sure,
spending some money just like the locals who all seem to have a lust for shopping!

You’ll recognize all ‘the names and labels’ and for anyone that is starved for big city malls instead of strip shopping, this is paradise plus! Opening hours are usually 10am to 10pm
The number one glamor-puss mall has to be, Pavilion Shopping Mall, luxury, super smart, the best of the best, with every desirable name in retail-land. Oh yes, go up to level 5 and visit MUJI for Japanese minimalism, it’s pure lifestyle, no brands splashed around here, it’s all grey, white, black, you’ll love the product lines here, all to make your life simple and uncluttered.

There’s a covered Skybridge linking up many a mall, so this is where you need to have your Stan Smiths on and walk heading north to the next impressive mall, KLCC that connects with Petronas Twin Towers. This mall seems more commercial even bigger, offers an excellent array of shopping names and more, there’s a Kinokuniya bookstore where you could lose yourself for another day, I so love this place, however books are so heavy to carry eh!

For folk staying around the popular Damansara and Bangsa areas you will have the pleasure of two malls located in Mid Valley. There’s the upmarket Gardens Mall that connects to The Gardens Hotel, most convenient, and then connects to the massive Mid Valley Megamall which is almost mind blowing!
Apart from the many fashion labels that seriously are lost on most of us in Bali, it’s all the other stuff; books, shoes, bags and then all the less commercial interesting perfumes and make-up brands that are so nice to try and try again!
Names like, Diptyque, Laura Mercier Cosmetics, Jo Malone (all three are in Pavilion Mall) Neal’s Yard Natural Remedies, Kiehl’s (found in KLCC Mall) and others…. Isetan the Japanese department store (connect with KLCC Mall) offers a wondrous array of French fragrances like, Annick Goutal. These brands are at the higher end of the scale in price, but well worth a splurge for even just a small bottle, perhaps a new lippy! Oh and don’t forget Sephora which is found in both KLCC and Mid Valley MegaMall.

This is where we lack substance in this area of retail, if it’s a decent mascara, eye pencil or eye make-up remover we need, it’s gathering the strength to go visit Discovery Mall only to be told it’s, ‘finished’!
And lastly, for the inevitable handicraft bits and pieces to bring back home, visit this lovely old art deco emporium Central Market, home to a wide variety of market stands where you can find everything from I LOVE KL T/shirts, lovely pashminas, however, not a lot of artisanal product around, only one interesting stand selling authentic craft by the original Malays based on the east coast of Malaysia, even product from Kashmir and India and China. Wherever you are, jump a taxi and tell them, Central Market please!

And then, there’s the food! There’s no doubt that Malaysians love to eat, from cafeteria style to smart restaurants. Seriously all on offer is of excellent quality and a wide choice (take a visit to a supermarket and see what’s on the shelves and fridges! There’s Chinese, Malay, Indian, Japanese, the list goes on and on…..

Kuala Lumpur offers an amazing shopping and dining experience, definitely put this this city on your bucket list!