Malaysians love shopping, which explains the vast number of luxury malls, stores and street-side stalls in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. From designer goods to the latest electronic gadgets, the constantly changing product range includes an extensive collection of designer labels from the fashion capitals of the world. If you are a shopaholic, the best time to visit is during the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, which takes place around June– September every year.

The exemption of duty on a range of items has made shopping in Malaysia even more attractive. Duty-free items like cameras, watches, pens, cosmetics, perfumes, mobile phones, computers, cigarettes and liquor are among the cheapest in the world. If you’re shopping for these, check out the duty-free islands of Labuan and Langkawi, and the duty-free shops in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, international airports and city centres.

Local regulations ensure items are price-tagged and prominently displayed, particularly at shopping complexes where prices are fixed. Malls are also where you can conveniently find banks, foreign currency exchange counters, supermarkets and hundreds of shops offering a tremendous variety of goods.

For light, casual shopping, there are roadside stalls, bazaars and night markets in towns throughout the country. And don’t forget to visit one of the colourful, bustling night markets or 'pasar malam' – found in most neighbourhoods on certain days of the week. Here you’ll find a great array of items, local foods and fruits, available for a steal depending on your bargaining skills. It can be quite a humorous exercise as the traders are generally enthusiastic and friendly.

Key Tips

  • The rule of thumb is that anything with a price tag on it cannot be bargained, particularly at supermarkets and malls. However, if you’re shopping at by the roadside stalls or at night markets, this is where you may put your haggling skills to good use.

  • Cash is accepted at night markets while major credit cards are accepted in most shops in the malls and shopping complexes.

  • Many malls in Malaysia open till late at night, around 10pm, ensuring there is plenty of time for your shopping adventures.