Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. From its centralised position which spans 243.6 sq. kilometres, this ultra-modern nerve centre of Malaysia expands outwards to embrace the world.
Discovering KL (as locals affectionately call it) is like travelling through a time tunnel. Here, vivid traces of history continue to influence and inspire a country set on becoming a fully industrialised nation by the year 2020. You will see ultra-modern skysrapers standing magnificently next to rows and rows of quaint old shophouses. Haute cuisine beside hawker stalls.
To the avid shopper KL, is paradise. From world-renowned designer labels and brands to exquisite made-in-Malaysia items, the highly competitive environment that exists among traders is a blessing in disguise to shoppers. While department retail establishments or at any one of KL's famous night markets. KL will enthrall you. It will capture your heart and mind in a way no other city will.
Getting Around in Kuala Lumpur
The city has an efficient transport network that enables visitors to move around conveniently and economically.
Taxi may be hired from taxi stands, hailed by roadsides or through a radio-phone paging system. Tel: 03-2936211, 7330507, 2211011, 7330507, 7815352.
City taxis operate by meter. The current rate is RM I.50 for the 1st kilometre and 10 sen for each subsequent 200 metre. Radio taxis charge an additional RM 1.00 for phone bookings.
There are two types of city buses in Kuala Lumpur, i.e., mini buses and omnibuses. Mini buses charge a standard fare of 60 sen (70 & 90 sen for air-cond mini buses) to any destination within their route.
The fare for omnibuses starts at 20 sen and varies with the distance travelled.
The following are the major bus terminals in the city:
- Kelang Bus Station (Bus No: 32 & 33) To Petaling Jaya, Subang Airport, Shah Alam and Port Klang.
- Jalan Sultan Mohamad Bus Station (Bus No: 13, 19, 32, 40, 42, 48, 244, 274, 31 1, 326, 332, 335, 337, 338 & 793) To Taman Bangsar, Petaling Jaya (Old Town Kelana Jaya and Pantai Buit Damansara.
- Bang}ok Bank Bus Stand (Bus No: 10, 11, 43 & 71)
To Selayang Baru, Segambut Dalam and Batu Caves.
- Kota Raya Shopping Complex/Menara Maybank (Bus No: 13, 25, 44, 103, 104, 121, 123, 124 & 125)
To Jalan Cheras, Sri Petaling, Serdang Lama, Taman
- Pudu Raya Bus Station (Bus No; 102, 103, 104, 104A, 107, 109, 110 & 133)
To Seri Kembangan, Sungei Besi Camp, Balakong, Taman Seri Serdang Kajang.
- Lebuh Ampang Bus Stand (Bus No: 12, 191)
To Taman Greenwood, Kampung Air Panas, Sri Gombak, Taman Setapak and Batu 12 Gombak.
- Chow Kit Bus Stand (Bus No: 8, 13, 17, 20, 24, 65 & 191)
To Kampung Datuk Keramat, Ulu Kelang, Bangsar, Gombak and Jalan Genting Kelang.
Shops generally open from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm while supermarkets and department stores open from 10 am to 10 pm. The bigger stores also remain open on Sundays.
Foreign currency and travellers cheques may be changed in all commercial banks during banking hours:
Licensed money changers at the airport, international hotels and within the city sometimes offer better rates than banks.
- Mondays to Fridays - 10.00 am to 3.00 pm
- Saturdays - 9.30 am to 11.30 am
Travellers Cheques are also accepted by hotels and major departmental stores but banks give the best rates.
Tips for Shoppers
It is wise to compare prices before you buy to ensure you get the best bargains. Prices in the bigger stores are usually fixed although bargaining is still practised in smaller shops and road side stalls.
Check for the correct voltage in electronic and electrical goods. Malaysia, uses 220 volts. Most stores however often sell electrical goods without plugs which may be fitted on request.
Shopping in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, the commercial hub of the country, has its fair share of famous landmarks, historical relics and heritage buildings plus a pulsating night life to keep the visitor occupied day and night. None of these, however, would be complete without the sheer fun and excitement of bargain hunting within the cool comforts of ultra-modem, one-stop shopping complexes or the thrill of browsing among antiques and curio items in the older establishments in the older parts of the city. Mingle with the jostling crowd at the numerous roadside stalls or share in the heady excitement of the carnival like 'pasar malam' or night markets.
Things you can get in Kuala Lumpur
Handicrafts of local origin range from intricate silver, brass and pewter items to pottery, rattan and wickerwork. Batiks of silk and cotton come in tantalisingly vivid hues. The bold designs and dazzling colours of Malaysian Batik set it apart from others within the region. Art objects and curio items from the orient vie for attention with carpets and rugs of lustrous silk and fine wool in traditional designs of intricate geometric motifs or patterned in beautiful flowery designs of pastel hues. There's ready-to-wear apparel of every design and colour and trendy shoes and handbags. From the fashion centres of the world come designer collections, elegant footwear, exclusive watches, optical items and quality fabrics. Electrical appliances, electronic equipment, computers and cameras are available too. And the list goes on.....
Main shopping areas in Kuala Lumpur
The main shopping areas in Kuala Lumpur are the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman area, Jalan Petaling/ Jalan Bandar area and Jalan Bukit Bintang.
Jalan Tuanku Abd. Rahman
The main shopping area along Jalan Tuanku Abd. Rahman, stretches from the Jalan Dang Wangi junction to Jalan Tun Perak and is lined on both sides by a quaint mix of ultra modern buildings sandwiched between pre-war buildings whose gracious facades have been lovingly preserved. China Arts and Peiping Lace are a must for lovers of Oriental Art, antiques and curios. Both shops stock an irresistible collection of fine embroidered bed and table lined, carved rosewood furniture, chests and cabinets, Chinese ceramics and jade and ivory carvings. Shops dealing in oriental carpets may also be found here. Jalan Masjid India which runs almost parallel to this area is the place to go to for ethnic goods of Indian origin, sarees, sarongs and textiles.
Jalan Bukit Bintang
Jalan Bukit Bintang, the 'Golden Mile' of Kuala Lumpur owed its fame in the heyday of the post-war era to 'BB Park', the entertainment complex located on the site of the present Sungei Wang Plaza and BB Plaza. Today, the area is barely recognisable; gone is the gaily lit fairground of merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels and in its place are ultra-modern shopping and commercial complexes, interspersed with towering international standard hotels. Shoppers would lose all sense of time, browsing through the shops of Lot 10, Sungei Wang Plaza, Bukit Bintang Plaza and Kuala Lumpur Plaza.
Petaling Street and Jalan Bandar are at the hub of Kuala Lumpur's bustling Chinatown. Shops here offer a variety of textiles, clothes, shoes and handbags at bargain prices. The area is also known for its jewellery shops with their fascinating variety of fine jewellery items beautifully crafted in gold and set with priceless gemstones. Nepalese traders offer exotic ethnic jewellery, wall hangings, ornaments, curios and teapots from India and Burma. Make-shift and mobile stalls jam the streets with their offerings of dried foodstuff, herbs, fruits, flowers and herbal remedies. This is the place to hone your bargaining skills; where a poker face and the 'gift of the gab' would be plus points in your favour. This unusually busy street becomes more lively at night with the sprouting up of stalls offering a diverse range of products from ethnic goods, clothing and cosmetics to 'designer watches'! The bright lights from the shop fronts and stalls combine with the blaring music to lend the area a festive carnival air.
The emergence of famous names on the Kuala Lumpur shopping scene is a clear indication that prestige shopping is here to stay! The Lot 10 shopping centre designated its entire 4th floor as the 'Prestige floor' housing exclusive names such as Jaegar, Donna Karan, Nina Ricci and Hanae Mori, to name a few. At City Square, along Jalan Tun Razak, the aura of exclusivity and understated elegance pervades the entire ground floor. Designer boutiques may also be found at Kuala Lumpur Plaza and the Hilton Hotel shopping arcade. Not to be outdone, many other shopping complexes have also alloted several lots to accommodate 'Designer Comers' offering select but impressive range of items.
Fashion wear range from classic suits in pure wool and linen, elegant dresses for evenings, chic dresses and smart casuals for day time wear to cheerful, fancy leggings, cycling shorts and sweaters in vivid rainbow colours for the young and 'young at heart'. There is also an equally impressive range of menswear and accessories, leather goods and timepieces and writing instruments, not to mention the mind boggling display of fashion eye wear of every imaginable shape and design.
Most major shopping centres have a number of restaurants specialising in Malay, Chinese, Indian or Western food located within their premises, for those in a hurry, there's always Mc Donalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken! Some of these complexes devote almost an entire floor to food stalls offering a mouth-watering array of local fast foods. Withs so many food outlets to choose from, the hassle comes only in actually deciding what to eat!