Friday, November 11, 2011

Shop Malaysia: State Focus (Part 2)

Johor Bahru’s malls like the City Square and Aeon Tebrau are popular not only with the local shoppers but also with the mass of Singaporeans who visit daily. Don’t miss the tax-free goods at The Zon Johor Bahru, a designated duty-free zone within the city. The little town of Ayer Hitam  is worth stopping over for its jumble of pottery, ceramic, local snacks and fresh tropical fruits, while Tangkak town is well known for textiles and household linen.

Pahang’s jungles supply the raw materials which are turned into numerous household items that the aborigine community can be found selling en route to Cameron Highlands and other parts of the state. The highland’s abundant fresh farm produce, tea and flowers are popular purchases too. Batik and handicrafts can be found in Kuantan while further south in Mersing, dried seafood products are the main things to look for.

These states are home to some of the best handicrafts and artwork in the country. Fine ‘batik’ and ‘songket’ in textile and apparel forms, graceful ‘wau’ or giant kites, delicate silver, brass, graceful woodcraft and a whole lot of exotic foods like the famous ‘belacan’, ‘budu’ and ‘keropok lekor’ can be found here.

Sabah is a treasure trove of unique crafts and souvenirs. Harvested from the surrounding seas and farms, pearls are an absolute must-buy. They can be purchased loose or in pre-set jewellery forms. Other great buys are beadwork, hand-woven baskets, the ‘Kain Dastar’ material, jewellery and Sabah tea. Check out the stretch of handicraft shops in Wawasan Plaza in Kota Kinabalu; for fantastic bargains head over to the Handicraft Market located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.

The land of the Hornbill offers souvenirs like pottery, beadwork, textiles (Pua Kumbu), bamboo, rattan and wood work, reed baskets as well as other exotic stuff like salted ‘terubuk’ fish, layer cakes and the famed Sarawak pepper and pineapples. Most of these items can be bought at sidewalk stores or bazaars in Kuching, Sibu and Miri.

Labuan is another duty-free island offering a selection of goods ranging from electrical items to pans, watches, perfumeries and chocolates. Textiles are of special interest here and along Jalan OKK Awang Besar, shoppers can find Chinese jade and ceramic ware, furniture and embroidered material.

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