I spent almost a whole week in Kuala Lumpur. Surprise! Tourism Malaysia handpicked some media people from Manila and I was surprised to be chosen (or even be an option in the first place), along with two amazing people – Gino dela Paz from Star and Kat Velayo from Mega. We flew in (Thank you Cebu Pacific and Bea Totanes!) just in time for the Colours of 1Malaysia, which is this annual event in KL showcasing tourism products, multicultural traditions, cultures and art. When that was over, we hopped from one tourist spot to another. We went to the Petronas Towers, Putrajaya, Menara Kuala Lumpur, KL Craft Complex, Luna Bar, Sky Bar and Beryl’s Chocolate Kingdom, among others. We also had a lot of time touring the different shopping areas in the city, so we could share to our readers our own recommendations on where to spend all your Malaysian Ringgit.
Putrajaya, the federal administrative center of Malaysia.
We were greeted by warm glasses of teh tarik!
View from the Skybridge, the bridge connecting the two Petronas towers.
(Bea Alonzo says the Petronas Towers look like two people holding hands. Hur hur.)
Me and Kat in required smart casual attire. Thanks to Shop Dainty for my wedges!
We went to Renaissance Hotel for the Mega Familiarization Program welcome remarks and presentations. Proud to get a certificate, plus some “Friends of Malaysia” goodies.
Among the goodies were these uniform batik shirts we had to wear for the Colours of 1Malaysia. Over 100 people from different countries all over the world wore the same shirt and it’s a shame I wasn’t able to take good photos of everyone since it was raining pretty hard that night.
Arrival of the King.
All smiles and good vibes from different cultures. What I liked most about it is the fact that they got everyone to be part of it. 5000 participants participated, and they all came from different backgrounds – Malay, Chinese, Indian and Siamese people from schools, public and private higher learning institutions, members of local cultural associations, and non-governmental organizations.
Pictures from the palace gates of Istana Negara or the National Palace.
The Bukit Bintang view from the KL Tower.
The Petronas Towers.
Adorable kids I spotted at the tower.
Menara Kuala Lumpur view from Luna Bar. Pretty sunset clouds!
Pavilion is the mall right beside our hotel, Grand Millennium. It’s in the heart of Bukit Bintang, and is probably the best shopping place for both tourists and locals since it houses pretty much everything – high-end designers, high-street brands, lower-range ones, and local Malaysian brands.
Recommended stores: Eclipse for nice cocktail dresses – I got myself a cute black jersey dress, Diva for accessories, Sasa and Watsons for Japanese make-up – prepare yourself for Canmake, Dolly Wink, etc., Topshop for two floors of awesomeness, and Forever 21, Cotton On and Pull & Bear for nicely-priced clothes, shoes and accessories.
We were super lucky to meet with some of the designers from The Twelve at Fahrenheit 88. It’s a concept store consisting of twelve designers carefully selected by MIFA (Malaysian International Fashion Alliance). The twelve are: Shinju Pearls, Tas Iman by Tom Abang Saufi, Radzuan Radziwill, Zero to Ten, Key Ng, YODA, uReka, Sasha Rowena, PU3, BDA, JKhan and Benson Chen (Thank you for the wonderful sandals!). It’s this really quirky artistic space that you wouldn’t want to miss, especially if you’re into edgy things that aren’t mainstream.
Fahrenheit 88 is a fairly new mall that’s right across our hotel, Grand Millennium, and walking distance from Pavilion.
Recommended stores: Uniqlo’s flagship store, and Stardust Studio for Tsubasa Masuwaka’s make-up line, Dolly Wink, and for your daily fix of cute.
You have to go to Sungei Wang Plaza if you’re on a tighter budget and want to get loads of affordable clothes that are mostly sourced from China, Bangkok and Korea. It was a little confusing navigating through the whole place since it’s connected to BB Plaza but I had a grand time spotting stylish, made-up teens shopping with their just-as-stylish friends. Spotted a lot of Japanese fashion-inspired girls complete with gyaru-ish hair and make-up.
Recommended store: Anatomi for quality men’s clothing – this is where I got my brothers pasalubong!
In the middle of Pavilion and Fahrenheit 88 is Starhill Gallery, which is Kuala Lumpur’s luxury shopping mall. All of the expensive brands are here, but it’s also a good place to check out some of their local high-end designers’ boutiques.
Recommended stores: Alexander McQueen, and Sephora where I buy my Urban Decay primer potions.
Sunway Pyramid isn’t in the Bukit Bintang area but it’s worth the 20 or so minutes of driving. It’s a mall that’s close to a theme park, and it also has a nifty ice skating rink!
There I was able to meet Tongue in Chic Senior Content Associate Karen Wong. Such a sweet person. I wish I had an extra day in KL to spend with her and the rest of the Tongue in Chic team.
Recommended stores: Ti Amo for cute ballet flats, and Asian Avenue which is a whole area full of affordable things targeted towards the youth – there’s a store which I liked called Offline Blogshop that took different online stores into one tangible shop.
Central Market is a must for tourists who want souvenirs. The first floor is divided into different “streets” focusing on a certain culture (Indian, Malay, etc.) while the second floor sells mostly clothes and batik.
Recommended stores: Photo Crafts for lomographers, and all the stuff in the second floor because you can find everything batik there – even shoes!
It’s also near Jalan Petaling or Chinatown if you’re into imitation designer goods and haggling Greenhills or Divi-style.
Suria KLCC would have to be my favorite. It’s not as new and spacious as Pavilion but I personally find the atmosphere there warmer and more welcoming. All of the major designer brands are here, but they also have high-street brands too like Zara, Topshop and Mango. Plus points for being the mall right smack in the middle of the Petronas Towers.
Recommended store: Kinokuniya – you will leave the bookstore with an empty wallet and paper bags full of Japanese magazines and hard-to-find artbooks.
Mutiara Damansara is a commercial zone that reminds me a little of Alabang. The area isn’t too near the city too, but it’d be a perfect escape from the hustles and bustles of Bukit Bintang.
Recommended stores: Borders if you can’t visit Kinokuniya for some reason, and Ikea for the best furniture ever.
Ending this image-heavy travel post with two pictures from my quick visit to Jalan Alor and one of my last meal in Kuala Lumpur. Besides shopping, the food in Malaysia is definitely something to look forward to as well. I could talk more about Malaysian cuisine, but that would require a whole new entry.
If you’re interested in going to KL any time soon, it’s not too late to book tickets (maybe via Cebu Pacific) in time for the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival that happens from June 15 to August 31, 2011. Tourists can expect more discounts and bargains during this period.