5 places to buy authentic local handicrafts in Malaysia

Also known as Pasar Seni, this popular tourist hub in KL showcases Malaysian culture, arts and crafts under one roof. - ONG SOON HIN/The Star

If you’re looking for something fun to do over the weekend, consider learning more about the country’s many unique handicrafts. There are several venues that provide shopping and learning opportunities.

There are also craft makers and artisans that offer private workshops and tutorials for a fee. These days, the Internet is a great marketplace to check out some of these crafts and workshops.

Sites such as Lokalocal and Airbnb offer the opportunity to learn traditional crafts from local craftsmen. In view of the pandemic, many of these classes are now offered online.

But if you would rather not take another virtual call or class, head out to these sites to learn more about the local handicraft scene.

Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex, KL

This building in the heart of the city is instantly recognisable by its Terengganu Malay architecture that juxtaposes the concrete jungle surroundings. The one-stop craft centre is often visited by bus-loads of international tourists and for very good reasons.

The complex markets and educates on traditional handicraft. This is one of the few places in KL where one can find authentic crafts from various states in the country.

Langkawi Craft Complex, Kedah

Another government-operated craft complex worth a visit is the one located in Langkawi that has been operating since 1996. Located in the district of Bohor, the place houses various crafts, some of which are made by locals in the island.

Visitors will also find the Heritage Museum and the Customs & Wedding Museum within the Langkawi Craft Complex. The latter offers learning opportunities on wedding customs in the country as well as handicraft that are used during the ceremonies.

Central Market, KL

Also known as Pasar Seni, this popular tourist hub in KL showcases Malaysian culture, arts and crafts under one roof. The stunning art deco structure itself is worth visiting due to its historical value (the building started as a wet market in 1888).

Stepping inside, visitors will find an array of boutiques, handicraft and souvenir stalls. Over the years, the venue has been transformed into a hub to foster the city’s artistic community.

There are several activities here that provide visitors with a hands-on take on the handicraft scene. Batik painting and Chinese seal carving are just some of the many unique experiences to try here.

Siti Khadijah Market, Kelantan

Housed in an octagonal building, this market is one of the most iconic landmarks in Kelantan. If you’re looking to get a glimpse of local life, Siti Khadijah Market is the place to be with its cacophony sounds from activities in the daytime.

It’s also a great place to shop for traditional Kelantanese handicrafts. If you’re looking for a decorative wau for your home, it’s very likely that you can find one here at a good price.

Handicraft Market, Sabah

Located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu city, this place is a favourite stop for tourists and locals. Also known as the Filipino Market, many traditional souvenirs that are associated with the state can be found here.

There are indeed a lot of handicrafts – as well as snacks – that are available for purchase here. Some are more typical such as sarung and beaded necklaces, while nifty bargain hunters have returned home with more eye-catching items. Think: a Murut headhunter’s blowpipe, handbags made from coconuts, and sompoton, a traditional wind instrument.

Shop local handcrafted items and use Shopee Voucher for extra discounts

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