Weak ringgit makes Malaysia a paradise for tourists

Looking for a good deal: Shoppers checking out some gold jewellery items. — William Gary/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: With the year-end holiday season in full swing, tourists from other Asian countries have found Malaysia to be their ideal travel and shopping destination due to the weak ringgit.

Alice Ai, a 32-year-old from Beijing, China, was surprised by how affordable it was to stay in the heart of the Kuala Lumpur city centre area.

She also expressed surprise at the lower prices of certain luxury brand goods in Malaysia compared with those sold in her home country.

“Some of the luxury goods are far cheaper here than back home, which is the main reason why I decided to travel here in the first place,” said Ai, who works as a vape seller in China.

She and her boyfriend are staying four days in Kuala Lumpur.

“We are paying only RM200 a night for a hotel room beside Suria KLCC.

“In Beijing, a hotel room can go up to 8,000 yuan (RM5,218) for a four-day stay during the peak tourism season,” she added.

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Meanwhile, Vietnamese foodies Eric Nguyen, 30, and Liam Nguyen, 28, were eager to spend money sampling Malaysia’s delicacies.

The duo, who live and work in Australia as seafood factory workers, said they had been planning this trip for a long time after getting their first taste of Malaysian food in Australia.

“We fell in love with Malaysian food after that first taste, but couldn’t afford to eat it every day as it is far too expensive in Australia.

“We then started planning this trip a while ago and decided now would be the best time to come ‘food hunting’ in Malaysia as the weaker currency means we can try more food at a lower cost,” said Eric.

The two also came to Malaysia in search of luxury brand perfumes, which they had heard were cheaper than back in Australia.

Indian tourist Nandiani Pramod Tellgote, 49, was keen on fulfilling her shopping needs in Malaysia, buying gold and clothes while the prices were lower than normal.

“I love collecting gold jewellery, and it just so happens that our family’s planned trip to Malaysia is taking place while the ringgit is weak.

“I am also thinking about getting new clothes, so I plan to spend the next few days searching for the cheapest deals at malls around here,” she said.

Nandiani, who is a civil servant in India, added that she was also looking forward to souvenir shopping for her friends and colleagues back home.

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