Miss SHOPhia: a shopping buddy in Malaysia
Malaysia figures amongst the top shopping destinations for Indian tourists
Shopping in Malaysia is always fun! Every other day new shopping malls open here, with an attractive collection of international brands and lucrative prices, reinforcing the country’s image as a great shopping destination for Indian tourists.
Shopping is one of the favourite activities of Indian tourists, ranked amongst the top spenders in the world. Practically anywhere that they go, Indians end up buying a lot – local artisans, food, luxury goods, souvenirs and what not.
For years, Malaysia has figured amongst the top shopping destinations for Indian tourists and to reinforce its leadership position, Tourism Malaysia has begun a campaign focused on shopping. Miss SHOPhia, as the brand campaign is called, has managed to get remarkable attention not just in India, but also several other source markets for the ASEAN nation. Tourism Malaysia projects Miss SHOPhia as the ultimate shopping companion to guide shoppers on fashion trends, the latest news on when and where to shop, what to look out for and get the best out of shopping in Malaysia. What else Indian shopaholics could need in a foreign land?
Malaysia organises three annual sales promotions, spread through the year, offering attractive bargains, special deals, and duty-free offers at entry/exit points, as well as events and activities in hundreds of shopping outlets nationwide.
“Miss SHOPhia is an excellent opportunity for the Indians who love to shop, bargain and get value for money. It also highlights Malaysia’s varied shopping locations – from the cool comfort of chic malls and stores to charming open-air markets, where the shopping atmosphere comes alive with an extensive offer for the best shopping, dining, entertainment and leisure experiences ever,” says Sulaiman Suip, director of Tourism Malaysia, New Delhi.
“Miss SHOPhia’s appearance changes according to her various roles and personalities as she presents herself to the different Malaysian communities and the various global markets. For instance, she wears the exquisite kebaya for Hari Raya (a major Muslim festival in Malaysia of breaking the fast after the holy month of Ramadan), cheongsam for Chinese New Year, the Indian saree for Diwali and Santarina costume for the Christmas,” he adds.
As tourists are nowadays more inclined towards experiential shopping rather than just buying things, Malaysian malls have come up with numerous experiences for shoppers. One can always go to the famous Jonker Street for street shopping, which is a very attractive place in Melaka for souvenir and food shopping, or visit Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur City Centre (BBKLCC) which has multiple signature malls with lots of international brands’ presence, or enter the Genting Highlands Premium Outlets, an open-air shopping mall with global brands, or the 1 Utama Shopping Centre, a shopping mall with a state-of-the-art experience centre with the latest Virtual Reality (VR)/ Augmented Reality (AR) sports entertainment, and indoor adventure experiences, as well as Sunway Putra Mall strategically located in the central business district of Kuala Lumpur. Miss SHOPhia suggests all these options among others to check out when you are next in Malaysia.
High altitude shopping and dining at SkyAvenue & Genting Highlands Premium Outlets, Resorts World Genting
With the cool climes of a hill station, Resorts World Genting is one of the most popular destinations in Malaysia. To cater to shoppers, the resort in Genting has come up with two malls, SkyAvenue, a lifestyle mall with more than 250 brands and shops situated about 1,800 metres above the sea level and Genting Highlands Premium Outlets, the first hilltop premium outlet centre in south-east Asia with over 150 internationally-renowned luxury brands. There is plenty to shop, eat and play at these malls. Equipped with open-air decks that form a perfect platform for cafes with a stunning view of the future theme park and an array of restaurants, the immense dining piazzas offer a relaxed and inviting ambience that’s just perfect for a fresco dining with family and friends.
It has already had some success in India, says the resort officials. “Of late we are getting a lot of Indian tourists. A large number of ethnic Indians living in Malaysia also visit our resort on a regular basis for shopping and outing. They come here when their families and friends from India come to visit Malaysia as well. We have exclusive fine-dining restaurants with Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine for the Indian families who are visiting Genting for shopping,” says Katherine Chew, vice president – resort communications & public relations.
Indoor skydive, surf & turf while shopping at 1 Utama Shopping Centre
Positioned as a world-class sports tourism destination, 1 Utama Shopping Centre is a multisport entertainment shopping venue in Malaysia. Hip and contemporary, at 1 Utama shoppers can chill and indulge in a varied mix of sports such as AirRider, an indoor sky diving zone, FlowRider with flow-boarding, body-boarding and surfing options, global cuisine, fashion brands, art and culture, entertainment and nightlife.
“Just next door to the mall are various facilities like the 5-star One World Hotel, leading commercial centres and offices as well as local transport systems. Situated right at the centre of the business district and riding on this ready market of multinationals and large corporations, increasing office population and hotel guests 1 Utama have led to a positive spillover of higher foot traffic for the mall. After a day’s retail therapy, our gourmet restaurants, chic eateries and cafes await with mouth-watering delights. Finding Indian eateries won’t be that much of a challenge either as we have over 150 dining outlets to choose from,” says Patrick Ho, the general manager of 1 Utama Shopping Centre.
In line with the concept of shoppertainment, various events are organised daily, round the clock, all year-round. These range from festive events, road shows, movie launches as well as music and dance shows.
Take a break and sneak a peek in Singapore at R&F Mall, Johor Bahru
R&F Mall Johor Bahru is just an eight minute walk from Singapore-Malaysia Custom Immigration Quarantine (CIQ) Centre and connected by a fully sheltered linked bridge. If you are travelling to Singapore and have the visa, it is an ideal place to stop by for shopping. The mall offers a taste of both the countries. A lot of Indians visit here as Johor Bahru is a hot choice among the Indian travellers. The three-storey mall comprises brands and options that cater to both millennials as well as the families with kids.
Experience the Calm Room at Sunway Putra Mall
Located within the Diamond Triangle, one of the most vibrant hubs and the central business and residential district of Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Putra is another integrated development with its mall, office tower and hotel. Visitors can enjoy a gastronomic feast at Selara Street inside the mall while shopping and parents with kids can, at the same time, check out the Parenthood Playland, known as Malaysia’s first London Street Park.
Sunway has over 300 international fashion brands offering daily discounts making it very comfortable especially for those who are staying in the same property or the nearby hotels. Additionally, tourists can redeem exclusive gifts and vouchers by flashing their passport at the concierge counter. Sunway Putra is very popular among Indian tourists. In the morning hours, one can easily confuse the breakfast area with any hotel in an Indian city.
But with all these comes a very thoughtful arrangement, the Calm Room that needs a special mention. Every Tuesday except public holidays, Sunway observes Autism Friendly Shopping Day. Most families who have autistic children would avoid visiting the shopping malls as they may find that overwhelming. In an effort to provide an inclusive and comfortable shopping experience, Sunway has taken a handful measures including providing a welcome kit for the family with autistic kids, dimmed light, low volume music, reserved parking and shopping assistance. There is a nicely decorated Calm Room that provides a cool environment and tools as sensory toys, weighted blankets, essential oils, and bean-bags etc which are required for a meltdown.
“India is one of the most important markets for Malaysia, and we are always working on getting more tourists from there. Indian tourists love to travel with their families, and they also love to shop. It is also a known fact now that they love to shop in Malaysia in particular. And we find it our responsibility to offer the best shopping experience for the Indians during various time periods of the year. Attractive discounted offers not only from the shopping malls but also from our Malaysian air carriers, hotels, as well as easy e-visa, are making the Indians happier and they are finding it comfortable to shop here. Miss SHOPhia is doing a good job,” sums up Datuk Musa Yusof, director general of Tourism Malaysia.