Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand and China are all countries that have mall cultures in Asia. While Bangkok may be king, Kuala Lumpur is surely the queen of the shopping mall cities in Asia.
The crown jewel of shopping in Kuala Lumpur is … Petronas Towers
I am a typical guy, I don’t window shop.
I go into a mall and go straight to the store that has what I want, and I get out as soon as possible.
But, even I have to say I was impressed with the shopping mall aura at Petronas towers. Actually it’s really called Suria KLCC, the mall that is. And, it’s actually at the base of the towers. The towers themselves are offices etc.
I like this mall not because of its content, but because of how the place works. And, it’s holding company is a giant oil corporation, so it’s really something for me to say something positive about them! And, I am.
I’ve visited other shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur and indeed Asia. And, I am sorry to say, but to me, they pale in comparison. And, no it has nothing to do with the iconic rocket-ship design above the mall. Or that the building is one of the tallest in the world. It’s simply because of how the place is administrated.
Shopping as it should be in Kuala Lumpur
You can enter this building from public transport and it’s like you’ve never left the station. It’s an all in one experience. Unlike The Philippines, there is no annoying security man poking your bag. Or telling you to surrender your bag to him. There are no body scanners. Everything is as it should be, enjoyable.
Shopping at the Petronas towers is organised to a tee
One pet peeve I have in shopping malls is where to find anything. Sure there’s sometimes a giant directory on each floor. But honestly speaking, sometimes I feel like I need a guide-book just to understand it.
“Mallanese” is written in a secret code that tells me Starbucks is located on” EE-30, Zone 5, North building”
Sorry, but I don’t have my mall code translator with me today.
Petronas towers makes this simple. Tower 1. Tower 2. “You are in tower 1” The shop you want is on floor 2, shop number 84. And, the shops are really numbered”
Music to my ears.
I can bring my camera in!
Yes, I am highlighting this. As so many Mall’s seem to impose their own policing system which makes it a crime to photograph their buildings, inside or out. Petronas towers has no such issue. I even got a behind the scenes after work look at the building (more on that later).
There is a small sign saying no photos above 1st floor. But, no one seemed to care.
Is Petronas towers more expensive to shop in?
Yes, compared to local hawker stalls, hugely so. And, yes also to some other malls. But, only a fraction for normal everyday goods. It does seem to be a lot more expensive as there are many, many, designer outlets located here. Armani, Chopard, Hermes, Gucci, Tiffany, Hugo Boss, Alfred Dunhill, Bally, and Mont Blanc to name but a few. Also located here are local style and international style restaurants for everyone’s taste. Add on a multiplex cinema, a concert hall and you do seem to have a new age micro world.
“I wouldn’t come here everyday, maybe not even every month … hmm, maybe twice was actually enough.
Actually … I think I only bought a tube of toothpaste here, and that’s all! “
Even after all this, no, I am still not a fan of malls. But, I do think if you are going to create a large soulless micro city mall in Asia at least model it after this one in terms of efficiency and administration.
Looking for a bargain, go somewhere else for sure. But, nowhere else on earth have I experienced such organised shopping as in Petronas. Sure Bangkok’s got the better reputation, but, it’s a disaster when it comes to order and structure within the malls to a quick shopper like me.
Suria KLCC is one of the few malls that actually feels like it’s alive with a little character.
What goes on behind the scenes in this Mall is nothing short of running a small country. Only, it’s done well. For this alone, I wish other shopping centers would make it just as easy to find things.
Then again, maybe since I don’t take any pleasure in roaming around malls for hours, I am missing the whole point of a mall.
So, I will just say, for shopping, inside Petronas is worth a visit … once at least. If for anything, just to see and believe that somethings can be run extremely efficiently in South East Asia!
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