There are more than 350 shopping malls in Malaysia at present; with well over 120 malls in greater Kuala Lumpur itself, many of them concentrated in the Bukit Bintang area, some of these malls attract over 3 million visitors a month – proof that apart from eating, Malaysians love to shop.

Malaysians are in for a retail overdrive with the opening of new malls in and around Malaysia beginning with quill city mall which opened in October 2014 and IOI City Mall in Putrajaya in November this year.
Quill City Mall is a 7-storey lifestyle mall encompassing a net of 770,000 Sq.Ft. of retail space located along Jalan Sultan Ismail, it has more than 320 trendy lifestyle stores, an exciting entertainment hub and an exclusive kid zone spread across its spacious area. The best feature of the mall comes in the form of its sky alfresco dining, the first of its kind in Kuala Lumpur. The dining area has an organically shaped roof consisting of multi-coloured glass and opaque that all for maximum daylight and fantastic views of the surrounding area.
IOI city mall is a brand new lifestyle and entertainment mall located in Putrajaya. It consists of four levels of retail space, encompassing 1.4 million Sq. Ft. of net lettable are. Once opened, IOI city mall will have over 350 specialty stores, restaurants and eateries. Its anchor tenants include Golden Screen Cinema, Parkson and Homepro. The best feature of the mall is the Olympic size skating ring and indoor entertainment park called “district 21”.

There are several malls set to open in the first quarter of 2015. i.e. Sunway Putra mall and Sunway Velocity in Kuala Lumpur. Sunway Putra mall is a part of an integrated development comprising Sunway Putra Tower (office), Sunway Putra hotel and serviced apartments. Located opposite the Putra World Trade Center, the mall comprises 580,00 Sq. Ft. of retail space providing shoppers, especially those living around Taman Duta and Kenny hills, with six levels of shopping and dining experience.

Sunway Velocity is located near Jalan Cochrane and not unlike its sister mall, the Sunway Putra mall, will also consist of offices and hotel components. The feature concept of the mall would be a thematic retail area of Asian avenue offering South Korean, Japanese and other Asian goods and services. Both Sunway Putra mall and Sunway Velocity Shopping mall will not have an anchor departmental store but instead, have eight to ten mini’anchor tenants including a supermarket, a cosmetics hall, a home improvement store, a food court and a Cineplex.

Expected too, in the next two years are three self-contained mixed developments of hotels, offices, residential and retail areas i.e. empire city in Damansara, Mytown and KL gateway in Banagar south area. Shoppers can expect every one of these development to offer the best mix in retails, dining and leisure to hit Kuala Lumpur’s ever growing shopping landscape.

So what’s year end festivities without a spot of shopping that too, in Asia’s latest shopping hub of Kuala Lumpur? I list here the malls which will satiate your yearn for shopping, dining, entertainment and total experience.
Malls. Malls & More Malls…
1. Avenue K
2. Berjaya Times Square
3. Central Market
4. Fahrenheit 88
5. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
6. Sogo KL
7. Sungei Wang Plaza
8. Suria KLCC
9. The Gardens Mall
10. Viva Mall
11. Utama Shopping Centre
12. Sunway Pyramid
13. 1st Avenue

What’s on offer?

Exclusive promotions & privileges for tourists: iKiosk interactive games, Holiday Shopping Spree, Santarina & ELF Walkabout, Christmas special performance, largest Christmas tree replica, talents dressed in traditional Malaysian attire will be parading 1Malaysia Year End Sale shopping bags at KLs’ popular shopping spots. Hands on activities like batik painting, henna drawing, caricature & mengkuang weaving, colouring & shopping bag designing contest, colourful kids stage performance & more.

Fahrenheit 88 has come up with toys & joys where you spend RM200 & above in max 2 accumulated receipts at any speciality store or RM 300 at brands outlet or UNIQLO, to pick up special gift vouchers.

Pavilion KL too has some exciting line ups where you spend for a chance to experience the best of lifestyle precincts of Pavilion KL like Beauty Hall, Couture Pavilion, Fashion Avenue, Tokyo Street etc.
You can celebrate Christmas with Mr Bean & Friends in Sungei Wang Plaza where you can meet and greet hilarious Mr Bean, his funny girl friend and grumpy landlord.

Suria KLCC has some exciting weekend offer where the first 25 shoppers who spend RM3500 and above on HSBC credit cards in max two receipts will receive a Christmas gift. Also colourful performances to hype up the Christmas season will be held at the centre court.

1MYES 2014 launched with much fan fare!

The 1MYES 2014 was officially launched on November 15 at the National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, by the Deputy Chairman of Tourism Malaysia Dato’ Mazlan Mazlan. Present at the launching ceremony were invited guests comprising tourism industry players, retailers, local media and we as Mega FAM participants. This evening turned out to be one of the best evenings…read on to know why.
During the launching ceremony, there was an arts & crafts showcase organized by Karyaneka with demonstrations on Songket-making, Batik-making using the Canting technique, and Tekat-making (traditional Malay embroidery), as well as traditional henna tattooing and lmalaysian caricatures. There were also performances by local artistes and designers’ showcased in conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur fashion weekend 2014.

The KL fashion weekend was held at the National Visual Arts Gallery from 12 to 16 November. Highlights of the event included the Malaysian Batik Canting with the famous touch of renowned fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes. It was in collaboration with Karyaaneka, which marked its first cooperation with an international designer. Karyaneka aims to bring Malaysian products to the international stage and at the same time attract visitors to the KL Fashion Weekend 2014, and also bring them to the 1MYES.
The 1 MYEs is one of the three major sale campaigns in Malaysia, besides the 1malaysia grand prix sale in March and the 1Mlaysia Mega Sale carnival from June to September. These campaigns have helped boost tourist expenditure in the country and bring numerous benefits to local retailers.

This year-end shopping fiesta is also a prelude to the upcoming Malaysia year of festivals (MyFEST) 2015. As the curtain closes on visit Malaysia year 2014, the country is all geared up for a year of endless celebrations under a new campaign.
MyFEST is expected to help Malaysia to achieve its target of 29.4 million tourist and RM89 billion in tourist receipts for 2015 along with visit Malaysia year 2014. These tourism campaigns are the key drivers towards achieving the country’s target of 36 million arrivals with RM169 billion in tourist receipts by 2020, based on the Malaysia Tourism transformation plan.

Fast Facts:
• Tourist arrivals to Malaysia in 2013 were 25.7 million – an increase of 2.7% compared to 25 million tourists in 2012
• Tourist receipts for 2013 were RM65.4 billion 0 an increase of 8.1% compared to RM60.6 billion in 2012
• Shopping is the second biggest share of tourist expenditure after accommodation.
• The retail sector constituted 30.2% of the total tourist expenditure in 2013 against 30.7% in 2012
• In 2013, tourist expenditure on shopping was RM19.8 billion 0 an increase of 6.3% compared to RM18.6 billion in 2012.
• Kuala Lumpur was ranked as the 2nd best shopping destination in asia pacific by global shopper index in 2012 and the world’s 4th best shopping city (after New York, Tokyo and London) by global news network CNN for two consecutive years.

Photos by Bienu Verma Vaghela


YES Malaysia has opened its doors for Shopaholics across the world with its year end mega end sales starting from November 15, 2014 – January 4, 2015. So now you can have a ball of a time with some cool bargains, hot merchandise, deep discounts, cash-backs, exquisite cuisines, top brands & street fashions from Europe – YES…YES has it all for you on its platter. Come and savour all this and more. You can make most of your Christmas holidays by being in Malaysia. This is a confession of a “Shopaholic” like me who was in Malaysia for the inaugural ceremony for YEAR END SALE 2014 which was done with much fanfare on November 15. More on that later…

The topping of this year’s 1MYES is the nationwide sale, offering in-store surprises, redemption’s and gifts, deals and discounts, and year-end school holiday special for the entire family, as well as Christmas and New Year sales. Besides that, it is also the best time to enjoy Malaysian food – from local street fares to Malaysia truly Asia’s melting pot of delicacies and east-meets-west gastronomic delights.
Malaysia Tourism took big initiative and great pains to work out this trip to the last detail for us to us visit Malls and Markets, Concerts, Sight-seeing destinations and relish some of the exquisite international cuisines. I shall cherish the memories of this trip for a life time as I was a nine-day princess in Malaysia. Could not have asked for more. We were put up in Hotel Renaissance which is my favourite hotel as I had stayed several times in Renaissance, Hong Kong. Renaissance is strategically located as I could see my favourite PETRONAS Towers from my room window. I saw it in the morning, in the afternoon and in the night. Wanted to bring it home with me…alas!


We landed Kuala Lumpur in the morning of November 14 where a representative – Jeevan of Malaysia Tourism welcomed us with his friendly smile. The ball was set rolling…as we sat in the van – Jeevan said, “Puan Puan & Tuan Tuan…Salamat Datang” (Ladies & Gentlemen – Namaste). Weather was bright and sunny but as we stepped out for our “Malling” sojourn, it started raining and it became quite pleasant. Our first destination was Bukit Bintang which is house to many malls; here Pavilion mall was our first destination which was dressed in complete Christmas splendour. A very big Santa caught my fancy, the child inside me came to the fore and I could not resist clicking pictures. Here, I could spot people from all over the world like Indonesia, Philippines, China, India, UK, The US, and Europe who were having great time with their families. No wonder Malaysia is known as a “Complete Family Destination”!

From here we hopped to Sungei Wang Mall across the road which needs a special mention here for its value propositions and particularly friendly and bargains granting shop owners. I could spot many attractively priced merchandise, accessories, shoes, bags, stoles, watches…what not. This is where I decided to take RM 500 challenge! It was about doing value shopping for my fashionista daughter Tanya from Malaysia &&&& it turned out to be most exciting and challenging assignment for me. So what all I could shop? You can check my Malaysian Shopping Bag on her blog

Now I wanted to do unlimited shopping on limited RM 500. The quest began. But one thought which constantly itched my mind was “has On-line shopping eaten into the pie of Off – line shopping” .In India…YES but Malaysia told a different story. Here brick & mortar shopping is quite happening…courtesy Malaysia Tourism which has positioned it as “Complete Experience” which has something for everyone whether you are a value shopper or brand connoisseur. Here malls are quite spacious, properly planned, well – equipped with food courts, rest rooms, family rooms, money changers, attractive in-store displays and most importantly welcoming Malay men & women. You can exchange your US dollar or Indian rupee with great ease as it is the most tourist friendly country one can think of.
Our next destination was CENTRAL MARKET which made me feel as if I was in Egypt’s market or back home Janpath in New Delhi which housed many shops selling traditional handicrafts like Silverware, cane work, batik, sarongs, pariahs, shirts, skirts…here I could shop for some exquisite designer dresses, shirts, sarongs, stoles, wallets…one bag which caught my fancy was “Owl Bag” which I regret not buying. May be next time…Here things were available at reasonable prices but shop-owners were in no mood to bargain. It was like being in mini Malaysia. Central Market is currently running Batik Reward Program where shoppers can savour, indulge and experience. Here if you spend RM 150 on batik products, you can redeem RM 20 meal vouchers at all participating outlets. Here you can watch talents dressed in traditional Malaysian attire parading during YES.

SURIA KLCC in PETRONAS Towers takes the cake for its plush interiors, spacious walk-ways, creative displays, exquisite cuisines, top brands, latest collections, I was completely bowled over…it was like icing on the cake on my “mall” experience. Particularly I loved the walkway between SURIA KLCC and Bukit Bintang.

We could see FAHRENHEIT 88 mall across the road which is also running some interesting offers like spend RM 200 and above in max. 2 accumulated receipts at any speciality store or RM 300 at brands outlets or UNIQLO and you can pick up special gift vouchers.
While in Kuala Lumpur you should visit other malls like SOGO KL, AVENUE K, BERJAYA TIMES SQUARE, THE GARDENS MALL, VIVA MALL, QUILL CITY MALL, UTAMA SHOPPING CENTRE AND SUNWAY PYRAMID as every mall is a unique shopping experience.
You can certainly plan your trip between November 15 – January 4, 2015, if you are a shopaholic; your senses will be satiated completely whether you are a budget shopper or a lavish shopper. Malaysia has it all for you. You can contact Malaysia Tourism Mumbai.

Special thanks to Mr. Manoharan Periasamy, Director General Malaysia Tourism for offering me this opportunity.

Must mention Deepa Venugopal and Jane D’Cruz of Beehive Communications for their initiative in planning out every detail smeticulously.

Last but not the least, our guide Jeevan for his impeccable knowledge, untiring support and smiling demeanour.

Photos by Bienu Verma Vaghela

“The one who tells the stories rules the world.” Native American proverb

With Kids Hut series, I could not help going back to the memories of my late father who was a master story teller and indeed ruled my world, the world full of fairies, toys, gardens, toffees, and frocks and of course dreams. Watching stories like “Fox and the Sour grapes” and The goose that laid the golden eggs brought back the vivid memories of my childhood in mid sixties when world was nowhere close what it is today particularly for children. Innocence and ignorance held the key and curiosity ruled the roost. There were so many questions which remained unanswered but there was a quest to seek more and more. Our world was limited to our parents, grandparents, school, friends, neighbours…life was so limited but simply beautiful like Tofu and Tia.


As 3-4 years old, we will keenly await for the bed-time stories by our father after finishing our home work and back-packing for next morning. Papa was ready with new stories everyday which composed of fables, stories, mythology, adventure, Ramayana, Mahabharata…Panchtantra ki Kahaniyan…what not!

He will start narrating his story but not without asking what happened in the school that day. He would narrate the story with such panache that we would transcend into the world of those characters and times. My favourite story would always be with some moral in the end. As tiny little girl (shortest in the class) I will always look for excuses for not being able to do well in sports. This is when my father narrated me this story of Fox and the Sour grapes which gives me inspiration till today. The story has a fox that finds herself in the grapes orchard and is quite tempted to have them. She makes few attempts to reach the grapes but gives up in the end telling herself that “Grapes are Sour” thus closing all her options of eating grapes. The moral of the story is never give up so easily so that your options are closed. Try, try and you shall succeed.


Another story which inspired me no end was “The goose that laid the golden eggs” which father narrated us quite often and just loved his narration. Being ambitious is good, being greedy is not. The moral of the story is that greed should not overtake you. You should enjoy whatever life has to offer in measures and not have it all in one go. In this story, the man saves the money and buys a goose which laid golden eggs. Man makes big fortune but one day greed struck and he wanted to have it all in one day. He killed the goose to remove all eggs in one day, but that was not to be. Now he had nothing.
All children must chuck their video games, mobiles, play stations to watch above stories which are so delightful and inspirational. I must say watching these stories transcended me to my early childhood memories like Tofu.
I wish my father was alive to narrate these stories to my children and grand children.

These stories are indeed intoxicating, which App can induce sleep in a child or even in an adult? I wish I could reverse the time machine and travel back to those times of innocent, inspirational and intoxicating bed time stories.

This post is a part of Kids Hut activity at

Malaysian Food Fiesta at Sofitel, BKC, Mumbai

Tourism Malaysia is celebrating the authentic cuisines of Malaysia, through an elaborate Food Festival at Hotel Sofitel, in Bandra Kulra Complex from November 7th to November 16th 2015. The festival was instated by Mr.Eldeen Husaini Mohd. Hashim, Consul General of Malaysia in the presence of several dignitaries from the Malaysian Consulate and Tourism Malaysia.

L-R Chef Borhan, Mr. L-R Mr. Biswajit Chakraborty, GM, Sofitel, Mumbai, Chef Haron, Mr.Eldeen Husaini Mohd. Hashim, Consul General of Malaysia, & Mr. Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia, India

The festival offers delectable dishes prepared by Malaysian Chefs Borhan & Haron and their team, which include ‘must try’ preparations like Ikan Goreng Kunyit (Pan Fried Fish). Kerabu Batik (Papaya Salad), Ayam Goreng Berempah (Malay Fried Chicken). The festival also presents a concoction of country’s rich cultural heritage through different traditional art forms performed by the award winning Briged Seni Melaka dance troupe, specially flown down from Malaysia.

L-R Chef Borhan, Mr. L-R Mr. Biswajit Chakraborty, GM, Sofitel, Mumbai, Chef Haron, Mr.Eldeen Husaini Mohd. Hashim, Consul General of Malaysia, & Mr. Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia, India

“Malaysian cuisine is unique as it comprises flavors of three different ethnicities – Malay, Chinese & Indian. The authentic Malaysian food, offers a variety of preparations to choose from and the Malaysian Food Festival is a great opportunity for Indians to get a taste of Malay food,” says Mr. Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia, India.

You can flatter your taste buds at this Malaysian Food Extravaganza

 The details of the event are below:

Date: 7th November – 16th November 2014, Time: 7 p.m. – 11:45 pm

Venue: Pondichery Café, Sofitel, Bandra Kurla Complex

For reservations, you can call:  + 2261175115

Guru Nanak Poornima at Golden Temple, highly spiritual & religious experience!

Today is Guru Nanak Poornima and I fondly remember my visit to the divine Golden Temple while returning from Vaishno Devi Yatra. Tired, down & out we reached Amritsar, which was way back in 1990. The day happened to be auspicious day of Guru Purab and we reached Golden Temple early morning for the holy dip. This was for the first time I had been to any Gurdwara and blessed I am that my first visit was at Golden Temple on this highly auspicious day. After the holy dip we stood in the long queue to enter sacrosanct, highly divine Golden Temple known as Harmandir Saheb, where Sikh Priests were rendering Gur Baani. It was an ultimate musical and soulful rendition. I had never experienced anything of this sort before…
…Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without eating delicious langar (food) prepared by the devotees, served by the devotees and for the devotees. Today I fondly remember my trip to Golden Temple.


The Harmandir Sahib (Punjabi: ਹਰਿਮੰਦਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ), also Darbar Sahib (Punjabi: ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ, Punjabi pronunciation: [dəɾbɑɾ sɑhɪb]) and informally referred to as the “Golden Temple”, is a prominent Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It was built by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ramdaas Sahib Ji, in the 16th century. In 1604, Guru Arjun completed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, and installed it in the Gurdwara.


There are four doors to get into the Harmandir Sahib, which symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. The present-day gurdwara was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. In the early nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the gurdwara with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and its English name.

The Harimandir Sahib is considered holy by Sikhs. The holiest text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, is always present inside the gurdwara. Its construction was mainly intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally. Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship. The Harmandir Sahib literally means The Temple of God. The fourth guru of Sikhs, Guru Ram Das, excavated a tank in 1577 CE which subsequently became known as Amritsar (meaning “Pool of the Nectar of Immortality”, giving its name to the city that grew around it. In due course, a Sikh edifice, Sri Harmandir Sahib (meaning “the abode of God”), rose in the middle of this tank and became the supreme centre of Sikhism. Its sanctum came to house the Adi Granth comprising compositions of Sikh Gurus and other saints considered to have Sikh values and philosophies, e.g., Baba Farid and Kabir. The compilation of The Adi Granth was started by the fifth guru of Sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev Ji.

You too can plan your trip to Amritsar this winter which is mostly experienced in the months of December and January when the temperature falls to 5 degrees in the night and around 12 degrees in the morning. Golden Temple is a stunning complex with brilliant architecture and the history of state is still alive in its library and on the lips of some old priests in the temple. Most tourists visit the Golden Temple in the last week of December as they believe it is good omen to begin the New Year in Spiritual place. Another winter fair is the Ram Tirth Fair, which is celebrated at Ram Tirth temple, situated 11 Kms from Amritsar.

Wagah border

Not to miss the trip to Wagah Border for ‘lowering the flags’ ceremony of The Beating Retreat ceremony. Also an evening tour of the Jalianwala Bagh will refresh a lesson in history.

Super Excited to be in the city of Petronas towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Can’t wait to be in Kuala Lumpur next when I will be visiting Malaysia and the excitement is mounting to be in the vicinity of Twin Towers. I heard Petronas Twin Towers look different during the day and the night when these are beautifully lit in all its splendour.
What would a trip to Malaysia’s capital be without gawking at its 88-story Twin Towers, designed to mirror the country’s high-tech ambitions and fuse stainless steel with hints of the Moorish?
Petronas Twin Towers, is a pair of skyscraper office buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that are among the world’s tallest buildings.


The Twin Towers, built to house the headquarters of Petronas, the national petroleum company of Malaysia, were designed by the Argentine-born American architect Cesar Pelli; they were completed in 1998. The plan for each tower is identical: an eight-lobed circular structure that contains 88 stories of occupiable space and a pyramid-shaped pinnacle surmounted by a slender steel spire. Both rise to a height of 1,483 feet (451.9 metres), which includes 242 feet (73.6 metres) for pinnacle and spire. Each building is supported by 16 large columns around its perimeter, which, along with the rest of the frame, are made of high-strength, steel-reinforced concrete rather than of structural steel; the exterior sheathing consists of stainless steel and glass. A skybridge two stories tall links the two towers between the 41st and 42nd stories.


Designers chose a distinctive postmodern style to create a 21st-century icon for Kuala Lumpur. Planning on the Petronas Towers started on 1 January 1992 and included rigorous tests and simulations of wind and structural loads on the design. Seven years of construction followed, beginning on 1 March 1993 with the excavation, which involved moving 500 truckloads of earth every night to dig down 30 metres (98 ft) below the surface.

In 1996, after the spires had been attached to the buildings (and each had thus reached its full height), the Petronas Twin Towers were declared the world’s tallest buildings, eclipsing the former record holder, the 110-story Sears (now Willis) Tower in Chicago. The roof of the Sears Tower was actually more than 200 feet (60 metres) higher than those of the Twin Towers, but the spires on the towers’ pinnacles were regarded as integral parts of the overall architectural structure. The Twin Towers, in turn, lost their preeminent status in 2003 after a spire was put in place atop the Taipei 101 (Taipei Financial Center) building, in Taipei, Taiwan, and that structure reached a height of 1,667 feet (508 metres).

The 88-floor towers are constructed largely of reinforced concrete, with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. Another Islamic influence on the design is that the cross section of the towers is based on a Rub el Hizb, albeit with circular sectors added to meet office space requirements.

Indeed it would be an awesome experience!