Markets, Malls & Duty-free Locations
Malaysia is a good place to shop and may be aptly referred to as a shopper's paradise for tourists. Duty-free goods can be found in many locations and the ringgit is exchanged at a good price on foreign markets. Check the current exchange rate. Tax havens in Malaysia are Langkawi Island and also Labuan. Other duty free areas are Pengkalan Kubur and Rantau Panjang in Kelantan and Bukit Kayu Hitam and Padang Besar in Kedah. The airports and city centers in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru also have some duty free shops. Thus, due to competitive pricing, shopping in Malaysia is a tempting option.
Shoppers can shop within multi-story shopping malls, sidewalk stalls, bazaars, and night markets called pasar malam in Malaysia. Shops generally open from 10.00 in the morning till 10.00 in the night in the large cities.
Malaysia offers a range of shopping products from the Orient, branded designer goods and even intricate local handicrafts. The designer collections, optical items, footwear, watches and good quality fabrics, besides, electrical and electronic appliances are available too.
Tips while shopping
- The Malaysian currency is the ringgit, represented by a "$" symbol and abbreviated RM or MYR. Ringgits are freely convertible into all major foreign currencies.
- ATM and credit cards should be used with caution. Skimming may occur in dodgy outlets. Stick to the high street and if you venture off into the nooks and crannies of the shopping sector, pay with cash where possible.
- Get currency exchanged at only licensed money changers and ask for the “best quote” as rates displayed on board are in fact negotiable.
- There is a culture of bargaining in Malaysia. So, if the price seems unsuitable, look around elsewhere or push for a better price.
Cultural Products like Malay handicrafts are widely sought after while shopping in Malaysia. Here we review some of the handmade products renowned in Malaysia and beyond for their beauty and quality.
- Batik is a very popular Malay traditional silk fabric which is printed on both sides with complex patterns woven on it. These generally are inspired from nature and thus, flowers and sea life are seen widely on batiks. Malaysian batik is of very good quality and is used in making dresses, shirts and even wall panels and bags.
- Kain Songket is also a silk fabric with silver or gold threads. It looks regal and is very expensive. Consequently, it is generally used on special occasions by the Malays like weddings.
- Kek Siam fabrics are unique and are special to the Pahang state. It is weaved in a traditional loom and is characterized by tartan designs that are placed in a special way so that the color sequence can be changed sporadically from the warp thread to the weft thread which means from the vertical thread to the horizontal thread. The fabric is custom made to suit both the foreign and local occasions. It is worn by Malaysian people for formal occasions like dinners and ceremonies, weddings etc.
- Keris made from brass or pewter is a well-liked item to gift someone or it can be used for decoration as well. It is actually a traditional Malay dagger whose different designs symbolize each state. Pasir Payang in Terengganu is the best place to buy these elaborate Malay daggers.
- Wood Carvings are one of the most popular traditional crafts in Malaysia which also boasts to be the oldest form of word work in Malaysia. In the states of Terengganu and Kuantan, tourists can buy these items as souvenirs as they are carved with care and precision and their beauty is to die for!
- The Central Market in Kuala Lumpur catches attention for antiques, ornamental items and decoration shops. It is also the perfect place for window shopping and tasting culinary delights.
- Souvenir Sanctuary is a colorful night market, a bargainer’s paradise that is laid out near Port Dickson town every Saturday night. All kinds of items are sold here at reduced prices.
- Langkawi and Penang are duty-free islands and both are regional shopping hubs for international and local products. The town of Kuah, Langkawi is the centre of commerce. During the annual nationwide shopping festivals in August, tourists spend lavishly on beach mementos like shirts, handbags, sandals and hats, boards and floats, beach balls and toys, kites and fabrics.
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