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Shoppers Paradise – 8 Awesome Shopping Destinations in Southeast Asia

If you’ve ever thought about why so many people from all over the world flock to Southeast Asia, wonder no more! Apart from the cheap drinks, exotic locales, friendly people and rich history, Southeast Asia has one other huge thing going for it: Shopping!

The exotic lands of Southeast Asia offer colorful open-air markets, vibrant street stalls, gleaming shopping malls and quaint streets with multitudes of shops selling unique stuff that is bound to excite both locals and tourists alike! And the best part is: the exchange rate is always in your favor!

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Ion Orchard, Singapore

Ion Orchard, Singapore

So if you’re a tourist with a love for retail therapy, it’s time to add some of the prime Southeast Asia shopping destinations to your list. Let’s take a look at the top eight shopping meccas of Southeast Asia!

Bangkok, Thailand

There’s just no place like Bangkok for serious shopaholics! From open-air markets such as the Chatuchak weekend market (the world’s largest market) to gleaming malls offering different types of products such as MBK or Siam Paragon Mall, you’re bound to be in shopper’s heaven! Bangkok is the one place in the world where you can literally get ‘anything under the sun’!

Siam Paragon Mall, Bangkok

Siam Paragon Mall, Bangkok

So whether you’re looking to shop in luxury at the air-conditioned megaplexes or enjoy the bargaining experience at the bustling shopping streets: Bangkok is where you need to go! For the ultimate Bangkok Shopping experience however, don’t miss its famous Floating Markets.

For recommended places to stay in Bangkok, check out our lists below:

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

One of the premier shopping destinations in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur is home to a vast variety of shopping complexes, street-side stalls, departmental stores and bazaars. A trip to Kuala Lumpur is not complete without bringing some of Malaysia’s specialties: Pewter and silver filigree jewelry!

One of the best times to visit Kuala Lumpur for shopping is during the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, usually held between August and September. Places you might want to check out include the Surya KLCC shopping complex, the Central Market, China Town, Little India and Bukit Bintang. Also, don’t forget to check out the ‘Pasar Malam’ night market in your neighborhood! You can find more interesting things about Kuala Lumpur here!

Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

We have put together the following lists of hotels in Kuala Lumpur:

Manila, Philippines

One of the cheapest shopping destinations in Southeast Asia, Manila is a big draw for tourists from all over the world! If you’re looking for great bargains, then Manila is a must-stop for you. Not only is it home to three of the biggest malls in the world, it is also a key attraction for its frenzied shopping culture. Malls are always crowded, and sell at unbelievable prices. When in Manila, visit the SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM City North EDSA, Robinsons, Glorietta, Greenbelt and Trinoma! For the flea-market experience, check out Divisoria and 168!

SM Megamall

SM Megamall

Jakarta, Indonesia

How many times have you come across the label ‘Made in Indonesia’? If you’re anything like me (a shopaholic), your answer’s bound to be: ‘Too many’! And guess what: they’re ALL sold in Jakarta! If you’re a shopaholic in Jakarta, you’ll never want to go home! Jakarta’s shopping culture is so attractive, so pervasive that most tourists blow their entire visa shopping! Jakarta offers handicrafts, electronics, branded clothes, batiks and antiques at amazing prices. Some places to check out are: Ciputra Shopping Mall, Plaza Indonesia, Plaza Senayan, Batik Keris, Jalan Surabaya and Jalan Kebon Sirih Timur!

An important shopping venue in Jakarta is the Grand Indonesia, a multi-use complex including a shopping mall and Hotel Indonesia, one of the oldest and best known luxury hotels in Jakarta. Grand Indonesia is one of the largest shopping centers in Southeast Asia, with over 130,000 m2 (1,400,000 sq ft) of high end retail space.

Ciputra Shopping Mall, Jakarta, Indonesia

Ciputra Shopping Mall, Jakarta, Indonesia

Singapore

A city that is deemed to be just ‘one big shopping mall’, Singapore is truly a shopper’s Mecca. In Singapore, you can shop till you drop without ever seeing the sun shine, since most malls are interconnected by the underground train (How awesome is that?)! Start your foray from Orchard Road for the pricey stuff and move on to a more quaint shopping experience at China Town, Arab Street and Clarke Quay by the river. Also, don’t forget to visit Suntec City Mall and Bugis Village!

Orchard Road, Singapore

Orchard Road, Singapore

You can find various top lists of hotels in Singapore below:

Hanoi, Vietnam

The best part about shopping in Hanoi is that it’s quite cheap and relatively undiscovered! Now, emerging as a prime shopping destination in Southeast Asia, Hanoi is home to some colorfully vivid markets that are bound to thrill and impress you. If you’re the type of person who likes a taste of the exotic, then Hanoi is where you need to be. If you’re trying to get silver or lacquer ware (what Vietnam is known for), it’s best to buy from authentic shops. For all else, try the exclusive shopping experience of the Old Quarter. Other markets are: Dong Xuan Market, Cho Hang Da, Cho 19-12, Cho Hom and Central Market.

Hanoi, Old Quarter

Hanoi, Old Quarter

Vientiane, Laos

If you’re looking for exquisite silks, elaborate handicrafts, exotic filigree jewelry and pieces of art for your home, Vientiane in Laos is ideal destination for you! Also providing a general shopping experience, Vientiane is home to a variety of markets such as the Morning Market, Talat Khua Din and Talat Thong Khan Kham. For arts, textiles and handicrafts, some of the places to visit are: Saoban Village Handcrafts, Oot Ni Gallery, Nokeo Khunman Street, Samsethai Street, Panggkam Street and Settathirat Street!

Canework Shop, Vientiane

Canework Shop, Vientiane

Bali

Bali, paradise on Earth, is visited by millions of tourists every year! And guess what: more than half are there to shop till they drop! Bali is truly a treasure trove of all things irresistible such as handicrafts, antique furniture, delicately designed jewelry, exotic textiles and art pieces such as wood masks and stone carvings! Here are some places to shop at in Bali: Monkey Forest Road in Ubud, Kuta Square and Kuta Art Market in Kuta, Celuk Village, Sukawati Art Market, Jenggala and Tegallalang Handicrafts Village, to mention a few!

Handicrafts from Bali

Handicrafts from Bali

Shopping Tips

  1. In Southeast Asia, haggle! It’s fun to haggle, and remember to always, always have a smile on your face as you go about it! The decorum is to start with half the price quoted and move upwards from there. Always bargain banter-style! Also, if you’re going to bargain the price down, you have to buy the product.
  2. Dress Appropriately. If you’re going to shop for a longer period, make sure you’re wearing comfy clothes and shoes. Any discomfort on your end will portray itself to the seller and put you in a weaker bargaining position.

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