Malaysia is a premier shopping destination in Southeast Asia. Shops, bazaars and shopping centres throughout the country offer a staggering variety of clothing, cosmetics, shoes, handbags, household conveniences and electronic apparatus.
From the antique and the exotic to modern electronic and audio-visual equipment, the constantly changing product range includes an extensive collection of designer labels from the fashion capitals of the world. The exemption of duty on a range of items has resulted in more competitive pricing and makes shopping in Malaysia an even more attractive option. Malaysia has duty-free shops in Labuan and Langkawi as well as at the Kuala Lumpur and Penang international airports and city centres. Duty-free items like cameras, watches, pens, cosmetics, perfume, cigarettes, liquor and electronic goods are among the cheapest in the world. Local regulations ensure items are price-tagged and prominently displayed, particularly at department stores in shopping complexes where prices are fixed. Sophisticated shopping malls where everything has been designed for shopper convenience, contain banks, foreign currency exchange counters, restaurants, supermarkets and hundreds of shops offering tremendous variety. For light, casual shopping there are roadside stalls, bazaars and night markets in towns throughout the country. A major attraction is the colourful, bustling night market or pasar malam? which stocks a bewildering variety of goods, local foods and fruits. Shopping at one is an experience to be enjoyed. Despite the low prices, bargaining at night markets is acceptable. It can be quite a humorous exercise as the traders are generally enthusiastic and friendly. Cash is accepted at night markets while major credit cards are accepted in most shops in the malls and shopping complexes.
A favourable exchange rate ensures that shopping is relatively cheap in Malaysia. There is a great variety of handicraft of local origin ranging from intricate silver, brass and pewter items to pottery, rattan and wickerwork. Art objects include curio items from the Orient, carpets and rugs of lustrous silk and fine wool. Batiks of silk and cotton come in tantalisingly vivid hues. The bold designs and dazzling colours of Malaysian batik makes it different from that found elsewhere. There is ready-to-wear apparel of every design and colour and trendy shoes and handbags. From the fashion centres of the world come designer collections, elegant footwear, exclusive watches, optical accessories and quality fabrics. The latest in electrical appliances, electronic equipment, computers and cameras can be purchased cheaply. The Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, held once a year is a mammoth nationwide sale that offers everything from A to Z in shopping complexes, departmental stores, individual retailers and street stores. There are exciting bargains ranging from 10% to 70% for a wide range of items.
TIPS FOR SHOPPERS
It is wise to compare prices before you buy to ensure you get the best bargains. Prices in the bigger stores are usually fixed although bargaining is still practiced in smaller shops and roadside stalls. Check for the correct voltage in electronic and electrical goods. Malaysia uses 220 volts. Most stores, however, often sell electrical goods without plugs, which are fitted on request. Most electrical items also carry a one-year warranty.
Say hello to the world of tax-exempted shopping at our duty free zones and enjoy a whole range of fantastic free duty items. From chocolates to liquor, electrical items, cosmetics and much more, you?ll find yourself buying enough goodies to fill your shopping cart to the brim. Visit the following spots for fabulous tax-free shopping.
- Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
- Bayan Lepas International Airport (Penang)
- Langkawi International Airport (Kedah)
- Kota Kinabalu International Airport (Sabah)
- Kuching International Airport (Sarawak)
- Port Klang (Selangor)
- Tanjung Belungkur (Johor)
- Pengkalan Kubur (Kelantan)
- Kuala Lumpur
- Georgetown (Penang)
- Kuching (Sarawak)
- Johor Bahru (Johor)
- Padang Besar (Perlis)
- Bukit Kayu Hitam (Kedah)
- Pengkalan Hulu (Perak)
- Rantau Panjang (Kelantan)
- Kuala Baram (Sarawak)
DOMESTIC DESIGNATED DUTY FREE ISLANDS
- Pulau Langkawi
- Labuan (East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo)
- Pulau Tioman
DUTY FREE DAZZLER
Welcome to tropical island vacations.. and you’re holidaying in the Langkawi, Tioman or Labuan islands, brace yourself for something more than just the glorious sun and blue sea – SHOPPING! Carrying duty free status, these islands offer an extensive range of items to be purchased at special tax exempted prices.
Langkawi has long been heading the list in duty free shopping in Malaysia. In Kuah town, which is also the central district of the island, rows of stores can be found selling electronic gadgets, household goods, branded products, cosmetics and fragrances, chocolates, cigarettes and liquor – all tax free. Just about everything on this island is much cheaper than it is on the mainland. Sitting in the pristine South China Sea in East Malaysia, Labuan, Malaysia’s off shore financial district is also creeping up in popularity as a ?duty free shopping? destination.
Stores selling cheap tobacco, alcohol, chocolates, cosmetics and fragrances are strewn all over the island. Visitors to Tioman, one of the most beautiful islands in the world, enjoy more than sun- drenched beaches and rich marine landscapes. The island?s duty free shops are stocked well enough to often drag holiday in a sun-seekers away from the palm-fringed beaches. Though lazing on a beach hammock would seem the ideal way to spend your holiday, do try and shop around for a bit. The duty free prices are certainly worth a few hours of your island vacation.
DUTY FREE VS FREE DUTY
DUTY FREE goods are those exempted from import duty only in designated shopping zones in Malaysia while FREE DUTY products are goods that are free from import duty nation with all year round.
DUTY FREE SHOPPING
Visitors staying and shopping in Malaysia for a period of 72 hours or more (except for Labuan – 24 hours and Langkawi – 48 hours) can enjoy duty exemption on souvenir and gift item purchases of up to RM200 (up to RM500 in Langkawi and Labuan).
Exemption is also extended to products meant for personal use such as;
- Wines, spirit/malt liquor not exceeding 1 litre
- Tobacco not exceeding 225gm or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars
- Matches not exceeding 100 sticks
- 1 pair of new leather footwear
- Up to 3 pieces of new clothing
- 1 unit each of portable electrical and / or battery operated appliance for personal care and hygiene
- Dutiable food preparations not exceeding RM75 in total
- Cosmetics, soaps and dentifrices not exceeding RM200 in total (excluding powder and hair- care products)
FREE DUTY GOODS
- Fountain pens
- Cigarette lighters (except plastic lighters)
- Make-up and skin care (except face powder)
- Pocket watches, writ watches and clocks
- Film cameras, photographic flashbulbs, flashlight apparatus and camera films
- Cinematography cameras, projectors, sound recorders and sound reproducers for films of less than 16mm width including cameras for double 8mm film
- Video cameras and television cameras
- Gold coin! bar
- Printed books! newspapers, magazines and journals
- Manicure preparations
- Portable radios
- Carpets made from jute
- Video tapes (blank or recorded)
- Pocket sized calculators
- Fishing equipment
- Golf club sets
The snow-clad pine trees may be missing but Malaysians celebrate the year-end holidays in their own way with as much exuberance as those in the West. No matter the place, gifts go hand in hand with holiday and festive seasons. So, what authentic gifts can you buy in Malaysia?
Available in the forms of textile, apparel and decor items, the batik makes one of the most popular gifts here in Malaysia. The colourful batik features a wide range of designs from floral to geometric patterns and landscape. The most common fabrics used are cotton, silk and rayon. The east coast states of Terengganu are famous for their batik collection.
This is a brocade of silk or fine cotton material interwoven with gold or silver threads. Once reserved strictly for royalty, the songket is today featured in numerous apparels, decor item and during ceremonial events. Terengganu is known to be the home of the songket, although it can be widely found nationwide.
ROYAL SELANGOR PEWTER
There are over 20 stores in major local shopping complexes nationwide where you can find a host of exquisite items that make great gifts. This world-leading brand of pewter offers innovatively designed tableware, ornaments, home decor items and other souvenirs.
WAU / GIANT KITES
The bigger cousin of the standard kite, the Wau can reach up to 4 metres in length. It is a beautifully crafted item of various colours and patterns, suitable for sport as well as home decor. The wau is especially flown during the hardest festival in Kelantan and Terengganu.
As good a bet as any-look out for Malaysia’s treasure trove of handicrafts ranging from fine woodcarvings to attractive woven products of mengkuang and pandan leaves from Terengganu, bamboo and rattan creations, colourful beadwork especially from the ethnic tribes of Sabah and Sarawak, lovely pottery from Johor or the famous labu sayong from Perak and delicate silver jewellery and ornaments from the east coast.
Your journey from one coast of Malaysia to the other is bound to be dotted with shopping adventures of various sorts. As you comb through the country, you’ll find each state offering its own special delights.
PULAU LANGKAWI (KEDAH)
The northern duty free island offers a wide selection of tax-exempted goods ranging from electrical equipment and gadgets to branded items, cosmetics and fragrances, chocolates, cigars and more. Indulge in duty free shopping at stores at the airport, Jetty Point Shopping Complex, Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall and Langkawi Parade Megamall.
PERLIS & KEDAH
The border towns of Padang Besar and Bukit Kayu Hitam in Perlis and Kedah respectively are popular duty free zones for travelers crossing the border into and out of Thailand. A medley of little stores selling a variety of tax-exempted items can be found here.
PENANG / PULAU PINANG
The Pearl of the Orient has a delightful mixture of old and new shopping opportunities. Georgetown is crammed with shops housed within pre-war buildings, selling textiles, apparels, food, jewellery, antiques and curios. Towards the edge at the Little India district, is its famed Kapitan Kling gold bazaar while on any given day, one is bound to stumble across a colourful night market – one of the biggest being the Batu Ferringi bazaar You?ll also find prize items at the Lorong Kulit and Chowrasta bazaars.
Given its proximity to the Cameron Highlands and the surrounding fruit orchards, visitors will find an abundance of fresh fruits here especially pomelo. Perak is also famed for its lovely Labu Sayong or gourd shaped pottery that serve as water cisterns as well as decorative items. Offshore at Pangkor Island, dried seafood products are popular buys.
KUALA LUMPUR & SELANGOR
Kiang Valley is awash with shopping malls and departmental stores catering to the local and foreign masses. The shopping triangle of Bukit Bintang alone bears testimony to the popularity of shopping in Malaysia. Other signature shopping landmarks include the Suria KLCC, Mid Valley Megamall, Sunway Pyramid, 1 Utama and The Curve. Even so, many smaller malls and stores sweep through Selangor and Klang Valley offering shoppers not only an endless range of local and imported items but numerous sales seasons to enjoy too.
MELAKA / MALACCA
Much of Melaka’s charm lies in its rich range of antiques, curios and wonderful cuisine. Jonker Walk is a must for shoppers looking for exotic souvenirs; here you’ll also be able to sample the famous Nyonya food at sidewalk stalls and little cafes. Head for Dataran Pahlawan, Medan Samudera or the stalls along Jalan Merdeka for some great handicrafts.
The town of Nilai boomed overnight when it became a wholesale centre for numerous household items. The Nilai 1 section sells a hoard of things ranging from fine woods, rattan and bamboo furniture to textiles, household linens, decor objects and wedding paraphernalia. Nilai 3 is a separate section focusing on textiles alone. Not only is Nilai popular for its wide selection of products, it is also known for its very affordable, lower- than-city centre prices.
Johor Bahru’s malls like the City Square and AEON Tebrau cater for shoppers from Singapore as well as abroad. The little town of Ayer Hitam is worth stopping over for its jumble of fine pottery, ceramic, handicrafts, local snacks and fresh tropical fruits, while Tangkak town is famous for its textiles and household linens.
Pahang jungles provide for a wide range of forest products that the aborigine community can be found selling en route to Cameron Highlands and other parts of the state. The highland?s abundance of fresh farm produce and flowers are popular purchases too. Batik and handicrafts can be found in Kuantan while further south in Mersing, dried seafood products are the main things to look for.
Home to some of the best handicrafts and artwork in the country. Fine batik and songket in textile and apparel forms, graceful wau or giant kites, delicate silver, brass and woodcraft and a whole lot of exotic foods like the famous belacan and budu can be found here.
Sabah is a treasure trove of unique crafts and souvenirs. Must buys here are beadwork, hand-woven baskets, the Kain Dastar material, jewellery and Sabah tea. Check out the stretch of handicraft shops in Wawasan Plaza in Kota Kinabalu for fantastic bargains head over to the Handicraft Market located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.
The Land of the Hornbill offers a horde of souvenirs like pottery, beadwork, textiles (Pua Kumbu), bamboo, rattan and wood work, reed baskets as well as other exotic stuff like salted ?terubuk? fish and the famed Sarawak pepper and pineapples. Most of these items can be bought at sidewalk stores or bazaars in Kuching, Sibu and Miri.
Another duty-free island offering a wide selection of goods from electrical items to pens, watches, perfumeries, pearls, chocolates and alcohol. Textiles are of special interest here and along Jalan OKK Awang Besar, shoppers can find Chinese jade and ceramic ware, fine furniture and embroidered material.