Jun 22 2011
I hate shopping. Not for food, or anything useful, you understand. No, I hate shopping as a leisure activity. The idea of spending hours on end shuffling aimlessly round an air-con mall, fills me with a horror normally reserved for repeated colonic irrigations. I understand this puts me in somewhat of a minority, not just among Malaysians, for whom window shopping is the number one pastime after eating, but among tourists too.
Of the 56 billion ringgit spent by visitors to Malaysia in 2010, a whopping 16 billion went on shopping; that’s second only to accommodation. The vast majority of this money was spent in Kuala Lumpur, which Tourism Malaysia is keen to promote as one of Asia’s leading shopping destinations. I cannot imagine ever choosing a travel destination based on its retail possibilities, but as long as this market exists, I suppose it makes sense for KL to be promoted in that way.
One big fly in the ointment however, and something that visitors will notice fairly quickly, is that shopping in KL is not cheap by international standards. In fact, many goods are now substantially more expensive than in the United States, Europe and the UK. Much of this is down to the appreciation of the ringgit, against the US dollar, the euro and the British pound. Another factor is the lack of any real competition between retailers, which allows big mark-ups on all but the most basic products.
All of which means that the only way to get anything like a bargain in KL these days, on a name brand at least, is if it is heavily discounted. The good news for tourists and locals alike, is that sales occur at regular intervals throughout the year. The greatest concentration of discounting happens from mid-June until the end of August, during the Mega Sale Carnival.
The carnival brings together the sales of hundreds of retailers, from international giants like Gap, to Malaysian brands, such as Metrojaya. It’s worth noting though, that each individual retailer’s sale only runs for a limited time within the two and a half month Mega Sale period. And although some of the discounts can be very generous, it’s always wise to do a quick currency calculation in your head to make sure you are not paying more than you would back home.
» Previous post: Tengkat Tong Shin: Kuala Lumpur’s best hub for independent travellers
» Next post: Kuala Lumpur’s “hop-on hop-off” tour bus
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.
Tags: Mega Sale