KL shopping paradise

29 Apr
How many square miles of mall one needs???

How many square miles of mall one needs???

So when I asked people, what they would do on their free day in KL (Kuala Lumpur) many of them said they would spend some time in the mall. Hmm – very consumerist I thought, but then they explained that it would be too hot to be outside – so that explains the mall-phenomena in KL I suppose. An outside shopping street would simply not attract any visitors when the sun’s out. And THE shopping streets that are outside (e.g. Chinatown’s Petaling Street or the Little India Bazar) they are covered with roofs or shades to keep the sun out, and every second shop keeper has a fan running in his stall.

Local food, fancy style in the malls: blue rice

Local food, fancy style in the malls: blue rice

So I gave it a try and headed for the newest of the newest malls in Bukit Bintang shopping Mekka. I can’t even remember its name, because taking pictures is forbidden (at least where the guard sees it – so I only took some snaps when the guard wasn’t looking).

Eating is also an easy affair, with on every corner of the street hawker stalls with local specialities – and when I say local I mean: Indian, Malay, Chinese, Arab and some street burgers…

Shop till you drop

What's this? A mall with Resident DJ !!

What's this? A mall with Resident DJ !!

But shopping isn’t so much my thing, especially not because I’ll have to carry any supplementary item I buy on my back for one and a half month more. And those shopping malls have the same prices than back home, so I’ll stick it out till I go back to Thailand and do all the damage to my wallet at the Chatuchak market – good and cheap ;-)

So when I was tired of walking all those miles outside in the scorching sun, or even more miles in the multistory freezing malls (because of aircon), I just sat at a fresh juice bar (for a euro or two for delicious exotic fruits) and watched the most diverse shoppers walking by (I thought to take pics of them, but was too tired – so no visuals this time – sorry):

Chinatown - streets covered against the sun

Chinatown - streets covered against the sun

  • girls in hot pants and sunglasses bigger than their head
  • schoolboys watching and obviously discussing those hot pants
  • fat women in sari bearing their tummy (hm, there are limits)
  • feminine fashion queens with a handbag bigger than my back pack
  • or otherwise they are super metrosexual guys that know how to dress
  • veiled women hobbling behind a muslim man
  • the occasional tourist – or maybe not – could be a light skinned malay
  • (I can’t get my head around all these different communities)
  • women with a head scarf, but at the same time wearing super tight trousers revealing every nook and cranny
  • families with children that were just as tired of shopping as me…
Enough language diversity for you?

Enough language diversity for you?

It’s also funny to see the different languages used according to whom the shops are interested to sell to. It’s mind boggling to see Chinese, Malay, Hindi, Thai and English writing on one façade (e.g. of the Bank of Bangkok building). I thought I could deal with languages alright, mastering a few myself, but this was a bit too much.

Going ‘local’  – for tourists

Lovely old but touristy central market

Lovely old but touristy central market

And if you want to find local imitations of international brands, or all other kind of souvenir junk, you can always go and try your luck in Chinatown or in the Little India bazar (near Masjid Little India). But you better brush up on your bargaining skills! (and still get ripped off big time).

A bit more relaxed is the Sentral Market where they sell all kinds of things which are supposed to be typical Malaysian – even though probably all made in China (like the arrival of little souvenir pyramids in Hurghada airport we saw – all delivered in cardboard boxes with chinese writing on it…)

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