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Wonderful Malaysia

Shopping as a Major Tourist Attraction in Malaysia

Malaysia has been in the spotlight lately in regarding its retail and commerce potential, specifically in e-commerce. It seems that the retail and shopping market is increasingly shifting online in Malaysia. As Malaysia is poised to become the next e-commerce market worth investing in, more and more small and medium-sized enterprizes (SMEs) are utilizing solutions like this to start e-commerce sites in order to leverage their position within a budding global e-commerce market. So, these days, you are just as likely to find shoppers browsing the web, as you are to see them in the shopping malls and marketplaces. Popular online shopping outlets are Lazada.com.my, Superbuy.my, and Zalora.com.my.

However, despite this shift to shopping online, Malaysia is not going to give up its physical shopping touristic appeal. In fact, Kuala Lumpur was voted as the fourth best shopping city in the world by CNN in 2013, and the amount of retail diversity that is offered, as well as other fashion attractions, guarantees that there is something to satisfy everyone when shopping in this city.

Fashion Attractions

Ever since its fourth place ranking in 2013, the Malaysian Tourism Board decided to focus very heavily on retail and fashion tourism, and has now implemented a country-wide sale twice a year known as the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival. This year the mega sale will be held throughout July and August 2015, and will see discounts of up to 70%. During this alluring festival, shoppers receive unique offers with purchases and significantly reduced sale items that draw out the locals as well as the tourists. Moreover, credit card companies even join in on the festivities and offer special deals as well.

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Also, in joining the annual tradition of rest of the major Fashion Capitals of the world, Kuala Lumpur also holds a Fashion Week. This year, Fashion Week is going to be held at the Pavilion mall throughout the week of August 12th to 16th.

Chic and Urban Malls

Although there are many various options for shopping all across Malaysia, with 8 major malls within a centralized vicinity, Kuala Lumpur is the shopping mecca of Malaysia. For the haute couture, brand-name lover who prefers exclusive boutiques, Malaysia is home to some of the most beautiful and elaborate shopping malls in the world.

Pavilion, for example, offers the best in high-fashion, with both local specialty retailers like Jimmy Choo and international designer labels like Coach, Dolce Gabbana, Versace, and Juicy Couture, among many others. Paired with middle-market more affordable brands, Pavilion caters to a wide audience of shoppers.

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Another mall for the upscale fashion lover is the Suria KLCC, which is an overwhelming six-stories high, houses 320 local and high-end retailers, and is located at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers. Aside from exhibiting an array of compelling brands like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Christian Dior, this mall also offers other attractions, including Aquaria KLCC and Petrosains, making it a great destination for shopping and sight-seeing with kids. Moreover, it also offers attractions of the more grown-up variety with the Dewan Filharmonik Orkestra concert hall and the Petronas Art Gallery.

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Berjaya Times Square also caters to families with the inclusion of Berjaya Times Square Theme Park, an indoor amusement park and is a country landmark and the fifth largest building in the world. Other trending locations include Starhill Gallery and Fahrenheit 88, as well as more local and down to earth marketplaces like the Sungei Wang Plaza and Low Yat Plaza.

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Wonderful Malaysia

Sustainable Travel and Ecotourism in Malaysia

Malaysia is a top tourist destination for many reasons, including breath taking landscapes, vibrant metropolises, engaging history and culture, fantastic food, and some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. Recently, however, another aspect of Malaysia is gaining popularity, which goes far beyond the conventional tourism attractions. Many people are also being drawn to Malaysia by a tug on their heart-strings in regards to its abundance of unique wildlife and its species preservation efforts.

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Instead of an escapist kind of vacation where your biggest concerns might be whether you should wear SPF30 or SPF50, or wondering whether your watch is waterproof after realizing that you are still wearing it having already been in the sea for an hour, these preservationist tourists are concerned with other matters. This increasing group of active and motivated tourists are set on vacationing with a purpose and getting involved.

Tourist Conservation Projects

There are actually various projects that tourists can get join while traveling in Malaysia, including Sun Bear, Elephant and Orangutan Sanctuaries, as well as other conservation efforts in Borneo. There are also Tiger conservation programs in Merapoh and Taman Negara, and the Green Sea Turtle protection program on the coast of the Perhentian Islands.

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Malaysia is home to four species of marine turtles, which include Leatherback, Green, Hawksbill, and Olive Ridley turtles, and the Perhentian Islands host 4 of the key nesting sites for its Green Sea turtles. Although all marine mammals and turtles are protected in Malaysia under the Malaysian Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, these turtle species are still in great danger due to environmental factors. The destruction of their natural habitats, food sources and nesting sites, as well as illegal activities like harvesting, hunting and poaching, pose very significant threats. Vacation volunteers help in the form of aiding scientific research, helping to prevent poaching opportunities, observing the endangered species, and participating in sustainability awareness efforts.

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Because its diverse and beautiful animal life is inextricably linked with the country’s culture and heritage, Malaysia has implemented “a much more developed legal framework for the protection of the environment than many of its neighbors,” and “takes its conservation laws very seriously.” In fact, the majority of national income is generated through ecotourism and vacation volunteerism, and Malaysia actually refuses to outright commercialize on ecotourism in order to balance tourism effects on the environment. Getting involved in a sustainable travel volunteer trip is an excellent way to see all of the beautiful ecotourism drawing factors, while also ensuring that tourism is beneficial as opposed to harmful to these attractions.

So, if you are interested in a beautiful get-away that also offers excitement, adventure and wonder; Malaysia is the ideal location. And when planning your Malaysian adventures, amidst the tanning on the beach, wandering through caves, and trekking through the jungle, consider getting involved in a conservation project. Not only will it be a travel experience that will be meaningful to you, but will also make a difference to the animals and people who make this beautiful destination so extraordinary.

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A Collision of Influence and Intrigue: The Culture of Malaysia

There is no shortage of beautiful places to visit in Malaysia, well known for its breath taking beaches, with white sand and crystal clear water (Perhentian Islands), as well as its rolling mountainous landscapes (Cameron Highlands) and lusciously thick jungle surroundings (Taman Negara). Aside from some of the most picturesque natural landscapes, Malaysia is also home to significant historical remains (A Famosa), as well as modern, sleek and stylish architecture (Petronas Twin Towers) and skylines. It is indeed one of the most beautiful places to experience, with a little something to suit every taste.

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One of the most intriguing drawing features to Malaysia, however, is its hub of unique and rich culture, including some of the most sensational food and inspired art reflecting the multi ethnic makeup of the Malaysian population.

Deliciously Rich Food Culture

The richness of the Malaysian culinary culture and the diversity of flavor evident in the food is owing to the ethnic fusion that has become iconic of Malaysia. With a long history of ethnic diversity as well as external influences through trade, Malaysia has adopted various cultural traditions and religious practices, including Persian, Arabic, and British. Culinary influences stem largely from Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanee, and Sumatran methods, making Malaysian cuisine an impressive blend of the best Asian and Eastern culinary traditions.

Regardless of external influences, all Malaysian dishes incorporate a distinctively local flare that is uniquely its own. Be sure to try Satay, Laksa, Nasi Goreng, and Char Kuey Teow, as well as various Roti and Curry dishes, soup and noodle dishes.

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You won’t have to go very far. Great food can be found all over Malaysia; from the many various market places, food courts and top-brow restaurants, to unique food-centered destinations like the Jalan Alor Food Street. At the heart of Kuala Lumpur, this extensive avenue of ‘street eats’ proves that the best culinary experience is sometimes the cheaper local flavor, rather than the pricier Michelin starred restaurants. There is a bountiful array of street vendors to choose from, all offering a plethora of delicious options.

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The Admirable Artistic Culture

Just like the food borrows from various ethnic backgrounds, so too does the art. With an impressively long tradition of arts and music, Malaysian art has gone through many phases and developments. The diversity of mediums is really refreshing, including works of carvings, weaving and metal smith work, as well as painting, sculpting, and performance art. This is reflected by the numerous local and international art exhibitions throughout the year. For a comprehensive list of current and upcoming events, Art Malasia is a wonderful resource to consult.

The list of artists to see and galleries to visit is extensive, from the psychologically focused and photo-realistic work of Ahmad Zakii Anwar, to the socio-political installations of Anurendra Jegadeva. Another fine example is Peter H. H. Lim, whose works consists of creates paintings, installations, video and sound, and performance pieces. This eclectic artist focuses on evoking the meaning of life through re-appropriating items found in everyday life; his work is well worth a look.

You can also enjoy numerous outdoor art-pieces. Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic for example has painted manu murals in Georgetown, Penang, and more recently in Ipoh. Other, mainly local artists, got inspired to paint several murals too. These often huge art pieces offer a fun way to explore both cities, by simply walking from piece to piece, while occasionally resting at one of many small and cozy coffee places.

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Furthermore, some Malaysian photographers, such as Che’ Ahmad Azhar, have been prolific in their work and are becoming known as some of the best in Asia. In addition, with online art sites such as Lumas giving photographers across the world the chance to showcase their work, Malaysia’s rich culture and vibrant scenery is more than enough to kick start some careers for aspiring photographers in Asia.

Whatever aspect of Malaysian culture that appeals to you, from the beaches to the cafes and cocktail bars, or the arresting landscapes and impressive culinary and artistic expressions of Malaysian cultural identity; there’s no shortage of something spectacular to go and see and experience.

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The Top Souvenirs from Malaysia

Malaysia was ranked among the world’s top 10 travel destinations in 2014, and in fact was the only Asian country to make the top ten list. This ranking was for good reason: Malaysia offers countless attractions, including stunning natural beauty, intriguing culture and inspiring festivals. In fact, in 2014 the national tourism board launched the fourth Visit Malaysia Year since 1990 to celebrate these attributes, and to reflect the diversity and unity of all Malaysians.

There is no shortage of reasons to visit Malaysia and of attractions to experience while there. However, when it comes to the close of your trip, what should you bring home? More than mere generic trinkets, the souvenirs that you return from your journey with are actually quite important, as they are an investment in preserving an experience. A really outstanding souvenir should convey the culture of the place visited while also evoking wonderful personal memories of the vacation that you will relive every time you observe this souvenir.

Borneo Pearls

On the island of Borneo, the Malaysian state of Sabah is home to one of the most popular souvenir attractions in Malaysia: pearls. Such is their quality in fact, that they are equally popular with locals.

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Although the majority of pearls are still coming out of China, those surfacing in other Asia Pacific areas are just that much more precious. Sabah pearls are beginning to make waves in the Asian pearl market and will surely soon be appearing in boutiques such as Mesenso for pearl aficionados the world over to appreciate. Merely adding to their illusive charm and appeal, good quality pearls are notoriously hard to find, which make them a perfect souvenir investment.

Sarawak Bamboo

If you are more inclined to something culturally significant and handcrafted, then Bamboo creations manufactured from the indigenous people of Sarawak is a worthwhile consideration. Hand carved and hand painted, the beautiful bamboo creations are diverse and almost endless in form, functionality, and imagination.

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Batik Fabric

Unlike many textiles that achieve design through weaving the threads of the fabric together, Batik Fabric is designed using a dying technique that implements a stain resistant method. Aside from being incredibly beautiful, these fabrics tend to be highly durable as well, since the dies are more resistant to washing and wear than painted or printed fabrics. As a cautionary note, if you want to invest in Batik fabric as a souvenir, make sure that it is genuine handmade Batik fabric and not generic fabric that merely displays a batik design.

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Nyonya Beaded Shoes

If you are a person that likes to add to your wardrobe with every country you visit, a fashionable and culturally significant item that may interest you are handmade Nyonya Beaded shoes. In the form of traditional slippers, or more modern adaptations for many different styles of shoes and sandals, these beaded beauties really make a statement. Furthermore, supporting this artistic form helps to keep Peranakan culture alive and thriving.

There are of course many other souvenirs, including tea, spices and much more besides, but these four in particular are imbued with cultural relevance and history. Not only would one of these souvenirs spark memories, but they are definite conversation starters for you to share those memories with others. Better still, unlike something to be consumed, these souvenirs can last and be enjoyed for a lifetime.

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