From wandering down busy streets littered with a variety of stalls and dodging beeping motorcycles, to gliding up the escalator in the KLCC Towers to reach the luxurious Tiffany & Co, Fendi and Prada – the best of both worlds is within walking distance in KL (or an extremely cheap taxi ride).
With so much to do and so much on offer, where you eat, sleep and shop can really make or break your holiday. Take this Shop, Eat & Sleep guide with you and some money in your back pocket (or somewhere a little safer than your back pocket) to make sure you get the most out of your short time in Malaysia, without wearing yourself out.
Street food stall, KL
The best sales start in the middle of November and ending January 5th. Retailers offer the biggest and the best brands at up to an incredible 75% off. With over 350 shopping malls, Malaysia has three out of the top 10 largest malls in the worlds and has also been ranked the fourth best shopping city in the world.
Head to the KLLC Towers, which lies between the grand Petronas Towers for all the well-known brands at your fingertips. Chanel, French Sole, Dolce & Gabbana, Top shop, Zara, Sephora, MAC & Pandora, to name a few. Needless to say, you’ll want to allow enough time to really make the most out of these 6 floors of retail nirvana.
Tip: Give your feet a break and your brain a caffeine boost and stop off at Eight Ounce Coffee – their coffee is to die for.
If you manage to drag yourself out of KLCC, make your way to the next best mall, the swanky Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, in Bukit Bintang. Open from 10am until 10pm, holding over 500 outlets and spread out on 8 floors, there is something for everyone at Pavilion- the perfect place to do your Christmas shopping. Make your way through stores ranging from high-end fashion brands to cheap as chips clothing and finish up on the bottom floor to indulge in their fabulous dining.
Chestnut stall, Petaling Street Market
Usually at this time of year, the weather is hot humid and wet, so escaping to an undercover air conditioned mall sounds like the best way to shop. If you’re in luck with a clear sky hit Chinatown’s Jalan Petaling Street Market, shopping at dirt-cheap prices and a foodies galore. If you don’t want to buy anything, don’t skip it, experiencing the bustling vibe is worth the trip.
Tip: Prices are quoted much higher than what they are worth at Petaling Street Market- so put your bargaining shoes on!
If traipsing around shopping malls is not your thing, and you’re more of a “know-what-you-want-run-in-and-grab-it” kind of shopper, then MO Outlet is where you want to be. Spread conservatively over only two small levels, all of last season’s clothes are packed into an intimate setting and sale prices start from 40%-80% off.
Farah Khan’s plunging necklines, low backs and bejeweled clothing starts at $50, Todds shoes, Hugo Boss & Aigner also flying out the door for unbelievable bargains. For any information on MO outlet, ask your hotel concierge. They all know about it, will give you a flyer and order you a taxi to send you on your way to fashion heaven!
When you only have a short time somewhere, you want every meal to be memorable. Walking around the hot city, getting sunburnt and frustrated trying to find somewhere to eat is not the way to spend one of your precious days.
Fresh fruit stall, Petaling Street Market
Beef Ball noodle stall, Petaling Market
For only $35 per head, spend three hours with a couple of locals guiding you through the city on the wonderfully organised ‘Food Trail’. Guides like to keep the groups small and intimate to add a personal touch to the tour, allowing you to ask as many questions as you please. Not only are you guaranteed endless amounts of the best food in Kuala Lumpur, but you will discover the hidden alleys lined with little food gems that are bursting with culture and flavour. You can be assured you’ll be taken to places other tourists will be envious of. Ask your hotel staff to organise a Food Trail or grab a free map for a visitors centre and venture out on your own.
Street food stall, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
Food Trail tours often begin with a stroll through the colourful Indian influenced neighbourhood, Brickfields. Always a good sign, these Indian eateries are often filled with Malaysian locals as well as a smattering of tourists. Indian Malaysian food has strong influence from both cultures and is definitely a cuisine to tick off your list.
Chapatti making, The Santa Chapatti House
Next, stop off at Betel Leaf in Pickerdilly Lane. Sip on hot Indian chai tea while you wait for your food to arrive. Pile up your plate with hot steaming Biriani Rice, Cashmiri Naan and spicy, Panak Paneer. Explore the Santa Chapatti House, where the chef has been making over 500 chapattis everyday for over 19 years.
When you’re done, squeeze past locals to leave vibrant India behind and enter lively China Town. You’ll be greeted at a street food eatery by the gorgeous owner who will watch with a big, contented smile as you slurp up their signature beef ball noodles. Locals line up around the block every day at lunchtime just to get one bowl of these mouth-watering noodles.
Beef Ball Mee, Restoran Soong Kee, Kuala Lumpur
Wander though Old KL as you make your way to your final food stops and finish off with the ever so famous Malaysian dessert, ABC, Air Batu Campur. Frozen ice with various toppings, traditionally jelly, kidney beans, sweet corn and red sugar syrup.
Malaysians teeth are sweeter than candy. Be warned, when they say something is sweet… they mean it.
You simply cannot leave Kuala Lumpur without hitting Hutong 10 food court for dinner . . Known as a “gourmet heritage food village” – this isn’t just any old food court. Filled with dim lights, lanterns and cold beer at the ready, every stall has been handpicked from all the best street food in KL.. If you can’t decide what to eat, you can’t go wrong with a Char Kway Teow from Penang Corner– a mouth-watering stir fried rice noodle dish, filled with prawns and spices.
Tip: Before you call it a day, grab a cocktail at Sky Bar. They boast some of the best night time views of the Kuala Lumpur towers.
With your full belly and feet sore from shopping, there’s nothing quite like sliding between soft clean fresh hotel sheets! Where you end your day can be as important as where you started it.
The Majestic Hotel is a force to be reckoned with… a haven that can be very hard to leave!
Built in 1932, this national heritage site stays true to its era. Featuring a gorgeous outdoor pool, spa, high tea lounge, Gentlemen’s Club, Black and White indoor cinema, the worlds oldest barber and a ball room; it doesn’t even stop there.
The Majestic Hotel’s outdoor pool
With such a wide variety on offer at the breakfast buffet, you could have breakfast here daily without eating the same thing twice! The elaborate buffet and an interactive multicultural spread, from Japanese to American. The food is made to accommodate your taste – right in front of your eyes by very talented chefs. Treat yourself once to a dinner at the Colonial Cafe, sipping on wine and listening to live jazz music.
View from the bathroom window at sunrise, Hotel Majestic
If you’re looking for something a little closer to the shopping areas, Impiana hotel KLCC is only a 5 minute walk and is a very classic and comfy with a spa and infinity pools on the fourth floor.
So, forget Thailand and Bali this summer and try something a little different… do your Christmas shopping in the magical and very underrated City, Kuala Lumpur.