If you’re a second-hand store junkie and love browsing in bazaars, then check out these little nooks in and around Kuala Lumpur the next time you’re in the Malaysian capital. There are various types of these informal flea markets and weekend bazaars – some weekly and others happening once every three months or so. Each has a vibe of its own and makes for an interesting day out.
Amcorp Mall Flea Market
This is the biggest, most celebrated and my personal favourite. It takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm at the Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya, the satellite city of Kuala Lumpur. The entire lower ground concourse and the right wing of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4thfloors are all taken up by temporary stalls offering the widest variety of goods found in any market in the country.
This is one of the few regular bazaars in the country featuring second-hand items alongside the usual street market staples of trinkets, clothes, toys, etc. Pre-loved items may otherwise only be found at ad hoc garage sales and at special events advertised from time to time.
And what a treasure trove this flea market is! Collectibles such as coins, stamps and LPs, second-hand books and CDs, household items not seen since the sixties, vintage clothing, historical documents and all sorts of knick knacks.
You don’t even have to buy anything to have a great time here. The characters that populate this flea market are entertainment enough. Get to know some of them and you’ll find half your day gone, just like that. I love this place!
The Mall itself has a wonderful bohemian vibe and features awesome outlets such as Joe’s M.A.C. (music, art and collectibles), where you can find second-hand musical instruments, CDs and LPs, amongst other treasures, Reissued, which offers slightly outdated imported magazines at half or one-third the original price and BookXcess, featuring new books for as much as 30% the retail price elsewhere. And right next to it on the top floor is a second-hand book store, if you haven’t already stocked up enough from the flea market stalls. There are also various specialty stores and antique shops to browse through, and occasional mini-expos catering to niche markets such as Transformer and Star Wars fans.
Find It: To get to the Mall, jump on the Putra LRT in downtown KL and hop off at the Taman Jaya station in PJ.
ABC Market at Plaza Mont Kiara
Over at Plaza Mont Kiara in Sri Hartamas (a KL suburb 15 minutes from the city centre), the fountain courtyard is taken over every Sunday from 10am to 5pm by the ABC Market. The focus here is more on “Made-in-Asia” arts and crafts, and cultural artifacts, although there are second-hand items on sale as well. You can also find the regular bazaar standards – apparel, accessories, household items – and in addition, car exhibits! This weekend bazaar has a slightly more upmarket feel than the one at Amcorp Mall and prices are accordingly a little higher. You’ll nevertheless enjoy the outdoor carnival atmosphere of this market.
Find It: http://www.plazamontkiara.com.my/portalpmk/ABCMarket/tabid/58/Default.aspx
The Curve Weekend Flea Market
Somewhere between Amcorp Mall and Mont Kiara in terms of upmarket-ness lies the “street market” at The Curve, held every Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 8 pm. The Curve is another Petaling Jaya mall with an open air “alley” known as “The Street” smack in its middle. On weekends a series of marquees are set up along this alley and leased to a variety of vendors offering mainly clothes and accessories, but with a little surprise every now and again, such as original artwork and handmade items sold by the artists and creators themselves.
Find It: http://www.thecurve.com.my/about.php
The Threadszoo is one of several ad hoc bazaars organised from time to time featuring both new and pre-loved items. This is a flea market with a twist – it features DJs and bands, and is held at clubs or cafes – creating a completely different sort of vibe from the usual weekend bazaar held at malls. The vendors are called zookeepers! You just know you’re going to have a blast at a Threadszoo event.
Find It: http://thethreadszoo.blogspot.com/
Or join the group on facebook for timely updates: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=8549861623
I’ll be updating this list as I check out other flea markets and weekend bazaars in and around Kuala Lumpur. Please check back for more or leave a comment if you know of other great venues.