The Mont Kiara market is a favourite of expats and tourists who are familiar with this flash neighbourhood, a short 15 minutes by taxi from the KL city centre. Known as the Arts, Bric-a-brac and Crafts (ABC) Market, this bazaar is slightly bizarre. While in theory there’s a theme to the ABC Market, in practice you’ll find vendors offering everything under the sun, such as vegetables, car exhibits and toys.
With more than 50 stalls setting up shop at the fountain courtyard of Plaza Mont Kiara, the enclave bustles on Thursdays and Sundays. Sundays see the market as a whole day affair, although most vendors close pretty early, around 15:00. The bazaar really comes to life on Thursdays, with up to 100 stalls exhibiting at a time. Open in the evenings, the best time to visit is after 16:30 when the Malaysian sun is a little more forgiving. The theme for the market is ‘F’ — food, flora, fauna, fragrance, fabric, foot care, fictional books, fitness and fruit — and though that covers rather a lot you’ll find even more on sale here.
Although present, the focus isn’t so much on secondhand items but on clothes, accessories, handbags, footwear for women and household items. A number of vendors also sell fresh produce and homemade cakes. Other great bargains you’ll find are novelty clothing for children, toys, secondhand books and “Made in Asia” crafts and cultural pieces. Even more tempting are some of the local dishes on offer to eat: nasi lemak, popiah, nasi briyani, karipap (an Asian pastry that comes with a variety of fillings like potato or meat) and an assortment of kuih muih (savoury or sweet snack-sized desserts).
If you prefer dining somewhere you can rest your feet and get out of the heat, surrounding the courtyard are more than 20 restaurants offering local cuisine, Western food and coffee (including Starbucks). If you’ve discovered the local fad for bubble tea, Chatime also has a branch here.
While this bazaar is slightly more upmarket than others around the city and accordingly, prices are higher, you’re sure to find great deals that rival shopping in one of KL’s numerous malls. The ABC Market also offers a greater variety and not the repetitive souvenirs of Central Market in town. Browsing through ABC’s market might get you a “Made in Malaysia” onesie for a young one back home, or scented candles for those who prefer gifts that decorate their space, not clutter it.
And with a mixed crowd of shoppers, you won’t be facing the hiked-up tourist prices or overconfident and often rude vendors of Central Market. With its lively vendors and wide variety of affordable items, the Plaza Mont Kiara bazaar regularly attracts plenty of tourists, foreigners and locals alike.
To get to the bazaar at Plaza Mont Kiara by public transport, hop on the Rapid KL bus number U7 at Titiwangsa Bus Hub along Jalan Tun Razak or Jalan Ipoh. Once you alight on Jalan Duta Kiara, Plaza Mont Kiara is either a four-minute cab ride or a 20-minute stroll away.
By Sarah Hishan
Last updated on 2nd September, 2014.