Can You Sightsee At A Mall? Yes.

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For my 48 hours in KL, I had only two things planned: eat laksa and pose in front of the Petronas Towers.

To get to the Petronas Towers, I took the metro to KLCC.  Rather than getting out of the station, I decided to follow the wave of the crowd — and found myself in the middle of Suria KLCC, an amazing, six-floor shopping mall.

If I were to tell you that I spent most of my sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur inside that mall, most people would tell me that I wasted my time.

Well, I respectfully disagree.  Visiting a mall is an incredible cultural experience.

Locals don’t spend their time in museums or at monuments.  They spend their time in malls and shopping centers and movie theaters.  Suria KLCC has all of the above.

So if you find yourself in a mall in a new country, here’s what you should do:

Eat at a food court. Want to know how the locals really eat?  Get yourself to a food court and point at whatever looks good.  I got my laksa!

People-watch. The women in KL, particularly the Muslim women, are so incredibly fashionable.  The headscarves!  The leggings!  THE SHOES!!  I wanted to take pictures of them, but didn’t want to be creepy about it, so I did it discreetly from far away.

Make friends. The people in KL are very friendly.  While taking pictures, I got a few “hello-miss-where-you-come-from?”s from various locals and had some nice conversations.

Explore fashion. Ed Hardy saris?  I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM!!  I really wanted to try one on, but apparently it’s a specialty item that isn’t available in the store.

Practice your language skills. At first, I was mumbling “tengira kasih” (thank you in Bahasa Malaysia) because I didn’t know how to pronounce it.  Going around stores, you need to jump in feet first — and your skills will become better because of it!

Catch up with WiFi. Addicted to your iPhone and without a Malaysian call plan?  Does the mall have a Starbucks?  THERE YA GO.

Enjoy the air conditioning. If you’re visiting a city as hot and rainy as KL (seriously, look at the size of my hair), that AC is a godsend!

And, of course, take your obligatory pictures.

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22 thoughts on “Can You Sightsee At A Mall? Yes.”

  1. I totally agree with you that sightseeing at a mall can be a cultural experience. In Indonesia that’s where families go on weekends, where teenagers meet up with their friends after school, and friends meet for lunch dates… you want to see the latest street fashion in Jakarta? You go to the mall and see what everyone’s wearing.

  2. Good timing for me. I went to the Dubai Mall yesterday for the first time. It was like America Meets the Mid East in there. It was maybe 75 percent Westerners and 25 Emiratees. So yeah, it was an interesting cultural experienc.e And that photo of you in front of the buildings is fantastic!

  3. Totally agree with you. We always go to malls when we travel because it’s a glimpse at the daily life of the locals. Plus, it’s a reminder that we need to become more fashionable.

  4. Malls can be great for people watching just about anywhere!

    One thing we couldn’t find in Suria KLCC is bargains – everything here was more expensive than at home in Australia which we couldn’t believe!

    1. KLCC is the premium mall there, so prices are high, but they do have sales a few times a year, you’d get great bargains of some top and mid-level brands. KL has many malls at every class – it’s a shopping heaven on par with Bangkok and Singapore.

  5. Wow. Now THAT’s a mall!! I am totally with you on malls being a cultural experience. I went shopping in a gigantic department store in Shanghai, and it was definitely an experience!

  6. Those towers are damn impressive! Modern marvel, right there. How hot would you say it was? Just curious. And despite the heat, your hair looks fab!

  7. What a fabulous post that I couldn’t agree more with! I don’t think visiting malls while traveling is a waste of time AT ALL. LOVE that last pic of you!!!

  8. Haha this is fantastic, I was just in KL last weekend and will be off to Malacca tomorrow! 🙂 I definitely relate to what you’re saying about malls being a cultural experience – I found that I spent most of my time just trawling through shops and snacking on things!

  9. Glad you had a great time in KL. You’re almost there with Terima Kasih (thank you), but I guess you’ll be fine the next time you’re here. My recommendations should you come here again soon
    1) Malacca (The historical here traces back to the Portuguese invasion back in 1511, but what people come here for are the food – Chicken Rice, Cendol, Satay Celup)
    2) Penang (again, famed for its foods :P)
    3) Sarawak (Mainly Kuching, for the Rainforest World Music Festival, or Miri for its natural caves)
    4) Redang/Tioman (We have decent beaches here as well, hehe)

    Ivan/Malaysian 🙂

  10. hye my name is Natasha Nazan. Im from Malaysia. So glad to find your page, and without thinking I straightly decided to know which place have you been. Basically I want to know if you have visited Malaysia. Finally. Found it you’ve been here before. besides. i agreed with Ivan Chan. You almost there with Terima Kasih. 🙂

  11. exactly what?
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    is this original?
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  12. Hi Kate,

    So glad that you have visited Malaysia. Just noticed that your laksa looks like Laksa Nyonya….but we do have different types of laksa, some famous ones are Assam Laksa and Sarawak Laksa… more reason to come back and experience KL, yes?? 😀

  13. Hi, Kate! I just discover your blog and I really enjoy it. Btw, the thank you in Malaysia is “Terima Kasih” =)

    Come by to Sabah & Sarawak or the well know Borneo. You will love it.

    Best Regards,
    Sarawak, Malaysia

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