Central Market Shopping, Kuala Lumpur
Pop into Kuala Lumpur Central Market to pick up a host of local handicraft and other quirky souvenirs. Itâ€™s little wonder that this art deco market is top on every travellerâ€™s list. It offers a genuinely local feel and, most importantly, friendly prices. Remember to hone your bargaining skills first!
My pick is Collectables Centre (G43) cluttered with every imaginable collectible from old Craven cigarette tin boxes, charcoal irons and oil lamps to century-old Nyonya tea sets and hairpins. Next stop Songket & Sutera Asli (M53), for beautiful songket (richly woven silk) fabric from the East Coast. Prices begin at RM 75 and then climb indefinitely depending on workmanship.
Be sure to also visit the House of Silver (G15) to take home, a Kelantanese tea set, antique silver dining wear, jewellery or the Malay keris. For kites of every shape and size, (the wau bulan being most popular), stop by Wau Tradisi (M51). Prices here range from RM 198 to RM500.
Batik is wall-to-wall throughout the market. Before heading off, rummage through the pottery, pewter, wayang kulit (shadow puppets), traditional costumes and local snacks or have your portrait painted. Master Chin (1/F, 3rd bridge), the resident fortuneteller might offer some tips on paying for all that stuff clattering about in your suitcase-on-wheels. Stop to refuel at the Precious Old China (M2), an antique and art gallery doubling as a restaurant and bar serving authentic Nyonya cuisine.