Kuala Lumpur has a knack for catching people in unexpected downpours no matter the season. Don’t worry, the biggest shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur provide air-conditioned refuge, entertainment, and millions of square footage for exploring!
Much like Singapore, Bangkok, and other big capitals in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur is an eating-and-shopping kind of destination. In fact, if you arrive in KLIA2 (the low-cost carrier terminal), you’ll begin your trip by walking through one of Kuala Lumpur’s newest shopping malls.
Take advantage before heading to points farther afield in Malaysia. Whether or not you need retail therapy, the malls in Kuala Lumpur are an inseparable part of the urban culture. You’ll find abundant food, entertainment, and people-watching opportunities at all of the malls on this list.
Berjaya Times Square
Let’s begin with the biggest of the shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur: Berjaya Times Square. This behemoth opened in 2003 but has aged well. The more than 1,000 retail shops appeal to all budgets. Berjaya Times Square stays busy but doesn't feel lost in the thralls of retail mayhem as MBK Center in Bangkok sometimes does.
How big is Berjaya Times Square? There’s an indoor amusement park with roller coaster, if that is any indication. Other options for entertainment on a rainy day in Kuala Lumpur include a bowling alley, cinema, escape room, laser tag, and more.
Getting There: Berjaya Times Square is just south of Bukit Bintang. The easiest way is by monorail; stop at the Imbi station where a pedway connects directly to the mall.
The Pavilion KL mall feels like the crown jewel of malls in Kuala Lumpur. Maybe it’s the prominent location right at the end of Bukit Bintang, or maybe it’s the clean, polished decor. Regardless, Pavilion KL stays busy with a mixed crowd of locals and tourists. The decorations at Christmas and Chinese New Year are especially popular.
Pavilion KL leans upscale, but many of the 700 shops inside appeal to all budgets. Tokyo Street, a Japanese precinct on level 6, is worth a stroll whether or not you’re looking for sushi or a bonsai tree. The Connection on levels 3 and 4 is an open-air breezeway lined with cafes, eateries, bars, and gelato carts; it’s a social scene open late on weekends. The excellent Golden Screen Cinema inside the mall shows movies in English for only $5. The food court at the bottom of the mall is an ideal option for making everyone in the group happy when eating at Jalan Alor feels too hectic.
Getting There: Take either the MRT or the monorail to Bukit Bintang then walk the short distance to the mall. Pavilion KL is nearby Jalan Alor and the many other delights of the Bukit Bintang neighborhood.
Seeing the metallic gleam of the Petronas Towers lit up at night is a highlight of visiting Kuala Lumpur. When you’re done snapping photos from the park outside, head into Suria KLCC for some air conditioning and a cool treat. The luxurious mall is what you would expect at the bottom of Malaysia’s most iconic towers. Many of the more than 300 stores represent high-end brands from all over the world.
The lower floors in Suria KLCC have inexpensive outlets for drinks, dessert, and other treats. The nightly show (free; every 30 minutes from 7 to 10 p.m.) on the mall's esplanade is a beautifully choreographed display of water, music, and lights. The park, playground, and wading pool there keep kids happy during daytime.
Getting There: The Petronas Towers are in the KLCC area of Kuala Lumpur. KLCC Station on the LRT rail system is linked to the mall via underground pedestrian tunnel. Alternatively, you can walk from Pavilion KL / Bukit Bintang in around 20 minutes.
Lot 10’s central location on Bukit Bintang and connection to the monorail station are nice perks, but the inside rarely feels busy. A massive H&M and Zara, along with smaller clothing outlets, appeal to shoppers with midrange budgets.
The multi-floor ISETAN The Japan Store is full of fun Japanese products, many are a lesson in design and aesthetics. Simple Life on level 2 is a popular vegetarian/clean-eating restaurant. The Lot 10 Hutong food court beneath the mall attempts to simulate a street-food scene with many famous dishes under one roof. If you feel like playing a game of basketball with some locals, there's a court on the third floor!
Getting There: Take the monorail to Bukit Bintang then follow signs to Lot 10 as you exit the station onto the elevated pedways.
Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall
Both the Mid Valley Megamall and the adjacent Gardens Mall occupy an enormous space hugged by the Klang River and a busy highway interchange. The side-by-side malls are a 10-minute drive south of KL Sentral and the Brickfields/Little India.
Unless attending an event at the attached convention center, most visits tend to miss these massive malls in Kuala Lumpur. The shops, dining, and cinema inside the Mid Valley Megamall appeal to all budgets while the Gardens Mall is decidedly more upscale.
Getting There: Reach both malls by taking a 10-minute Grab or taxi from Little India. You can also take the KTM Kommuter train to Mid Valley Station.
Sungei Wang Plaza
Unpretentious and unassuming, Sungei Wang Plaza has been refurbished a couple of times since its opening in 1977. This maze of a mall is where locals go to score deals on shoes, purses, clothing, and other accessories.
Compared to the glitz and polish of Pavilion KL, Sungei Wang Plaza feels a little dated and utilitarian. But cheaper rent for tenants means cheaper prices for customers. If you need some inexpensive clothing or want to replace something on your trip (e.g., a belt or piece of luggage), the more than 800 outlets at Sungei Wang Plaza offer the cheapest fix.
Getting There: Sungei Wang Plaza is located beside Plaza Low Yat on a parallel back road just off the center of Bukit Bintang. It’s a 5-minute walk from either the Imbi or Bukit Bintang monorail stations.
Plaza Low Yet
Like Pantip Plaza, the infamous tech mall in Bangkok, Plaza Low Yat is a dizzying nine stories of everything IT and tech. If you need your camera serviced, an obscure adapter, or a new battery for a device, the army of tech hackers in Plaza Low Yat will take care of you. Before making larger tech purchases, understand the warranty may only be good for service in Malaysia, not your home country.
There’s a reason those deals for smartphones and laptops seem too good to be true. Some are fakes; others may be refurbished products or manufacturer recalls. Stick to purchasing your Apple, Samsung, and other big brands from their official, authorized outlets. The pirated software and USB drives loaded with music are often loaded with identity-stealing malware as well.
Getting There: Plaza Low Yat is set beside Sungei Wang Plaza just off of Bukit Bintang. It’s a 2-minute walk from the Imbi monorail station.
Nu Sentral (at KL Sentral)
The eight-story Nu Sentral mall is integrated with KL Sentral, the heart and hub of Kuala Lumpur’s extensive rail network. The 1.2 million square feet of shopping is home to mostly mid-range outlets for Asian and Western brands. You’ll have plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining, and entertainment (escape room, anyone?) before taking the KLIA Ekspres airport train at the end of your trip.
Getting There: Every train in Kuala Lumpur connects at KL Sentral (and the mall) in the Brickfields area—choose one!