10 Historical Malls That Still Exist In Klang Valley And What Made Them So Happening
There's a reason why they're still around.
1. Campbell Shopping Complex, KL opened in 1973
It was the first high-rise shopping complex in Malaysia and is among some of the oldest shopping spots that still exist in KL.
In April 1976, the complex suffered a major fire disaster caused by an electrical short circuit. The 20-storey building was destroyed but thankfully, had not collapsed from the heat. It was kept under repair after the blaze and reopened in 1979.
During the '70s and '80s, Campbell Shopping Complex was labelled the "grande dame" of KL shopping before modern shopping malls took over.
Named after the road its on, Campbell road, the complex is said to be the only building left that still has the road's original name.
60-year-old visitor, Paul Ratnam, who used to visit Campbell complex growing up, told SAYS that the main appeal of the mall were the cheap products that were sold there. "They had all kinds of things like clothes, accessories, and cameras. It was also a meeting point and happening place for younger people back then."
The place currently has many bundle shops selling vintage clothing, jewellery, leather products, shoes, and electrical appliances.
2. Sungei Wang opened in 1977
Sungei Wang is known as Bukit Bintang's oldest mall. It was popular for its events and promotions during the '90s, and was home to numerous famous international and local artistes, fashion shows, countdown concerts, festive season stage showcases and, corporate social responsibility programmes.
The mall even won the 'Best Shopping Complex' award several times in 1996 and 1997.
Sungei Wang, which means "River of Gold" was and still is an iconic spot to get good bargains, from very affordable clothes and accessories to footwear, electronic items, home décor, and various miscellaneous items.
In spite of newer competing malls like, Pavilion KL, Starhill Gallery, and Berjaya Timesquare, opening up in the vicinity, Sungei Wang has managed to still attract heaps of customers, especially on weekends.
3. Subang Parade, Subang Jaya opened in 1988
With its signature corridors that crossed different levels, Subang Parade was considered the longest mall in South East Asia and was also, the first mall to ever open in Subang Jaya in 1988.
Some of the more popular shops that used to be/are currently in the mall are Dome, Nando's, McDonalds, Dave's Deli, and Dorothy Perkins.
Subang Jaya resident, Gowri Chitra, shared with SAYS that going to the arcade was the highlight of her week. "I was obsessed with a fishing game, Jurassic Park game, and a motorcycle racing game.
"I also used to sit in MPH reading for hours while my parents ran their errands. Being a member, I had special access to the book store's lounge and would stay there reading books all day until my parents would come to get me."
Another reviewer recalls fond memories growing up in the mall saying that, "Being an 80s baby, I have to admit that Subang Parade was my childhood playground as we did not have as many malls back in those days."
Throughout the years, the long-standing mall started to become rundown. However, in 2016, new management took over and Subang Parade got that much-needed revamp for it to survive.
This reviewer shared that, "This place still and will always be thermostat famous and a well recognised mall in Selangor as many have come here and had their memories placed within these walls."
4. Lot 10, KL opened in 1989
Back in the '90s, Lot 10 was considered an equivalent to luxury department store Harrods in UK because of its high-class shops that catered to wealthy individuals.
YTL's managing director Tan Sri Dato' Francis Yeoh Sock Ping bought the building in 1999. In an effort to preserve age-old recipes, Francis managed to convince owners of the most famous hawker stalls around KL to open a second stall in the underground section of his mall.
The food court, now called Lot 10 Hutong, was finally opened in 2009 and still exists with over 30 stalls serving some of the best street food in KL.
One reviewer remembered the mall to have looked old and dusty back in the '90s but it has been revamped several times since then and is now located on one of the busiest junctions in KL.
5. SOGO, KL opened in 1994
According to this post, Sogo is known to be the largest single department store in Kuala Lumpur. It was founded in Japan as a small shop, but has now grown into a major international chain.
Sogo KL was officially opened on 18 January 1994 and became one of the main shopping centres in the city, along with places like Globe Silk Store and Campbell Complex. It has been said that Sogo KL sold relatively cheaper priced goods compared to other department stores, which is what used to draw its customers in.
Managing director Datuk Andrew Lim Tatt Keong shared how Sogo KL initially focused on selling high-end Malaysian labels, reported The Star in an article in 2013.
As newer, "fancier" malls like Midvalley and Suria KLCC sprouted up, Sogo KL along with other older stores started to lose their shine. However, the complex is still a retail haven, especially for those seeking a good sale.
6. Leisure Mall, Cheras opened in 1994
If you've ever lived in Cheras, you would have definitely been to the once popular landmark known as, Leisure Mall.
Especially for those living during the '80s and '90s, the 24-year-old building is still a prime area for neighbourhood residents to chill and hangout at, with its variety of eateries (although, back then there were limited restaurants compared to now), bakeries, book store, gadget stores, and cinema.
Some residents even recall chilling at Popular book store while waiting for their movie to start.
About 20 years ago, the building was said to be the first multiplex in Malaysia to have an indoor roller coaster ride that zoomed in and out of the mall.
If you're a '90s kid from that area, you may have remembered heading straight to the arcade, Fireworks, after school and riding on their bumper cars or playing air hockey.
Back in the day, it was the spot to hangout at.
7. Amcorp Mall, PJ opened in 1998
Since it opened in 1998, Amcorp mall is said to have been popular for its weekend flea market that had various stalls selling antiques, collectibles, arts and crafts, old CDs and vinyl records, old magazines and books, and other secondhand items.
The flea market started with a handful of pioneering antique enthusiasts but has grown to become one of the longest running flea markets in Klang Valley with over 300 stalls on four floors. Thanks to the flea market, the place still comes alive on weekends.
It is an unconventional shopping spot that attracts a certain group of people who enjoy looking an collectible toys, vintage cameras, antiques, and books.
8. IMBI Plaza, KL became popular in the '80s
It has been said that IMBI Plaza used to be the biggest computer mall in Malaysia. Customers would visit looking for game consoles like PlayStations and Nintendos.
When Low Yat Plaza, now one of the largest IT malls in Malaysia, came into the picture, Imbi plaza started to lose the life it once had and began to slowly faze out.
It is said that though many customers switched to shopping at Low Yat Plaza, some customers still frequent IMBI plaza hunting and bargaining for good deals.
The three-storey mall holds many tiny alleys and lanes with some shops said to sell 'illegal products' such as, fake computer software, mp3 music, pirated Blu-ray movies and DVD's, and games.
9. Low Yat Plaza, KL opened in 1999
Dubbed as Malaysia's largest IT Lifestyle Centre by the Malaysia Book of Records, Low Yat Plaza has been home to many electronic products and gadgets.
The popular IT mall was built on what used to be the open-air car park of legendary BB park in the 1960s. When it entered the shopping scene in 1999, the plaza quickly dethroned IMBI Plaza. Whether you needed a basic throwaway Nokia phone, DSLR camera, or repairs for your laptop, Low Yat Plaza had it all.
The plaza still sells almost every gadget under the sun - from mobile phones, photography, and gaming software, to having computer and repair shops galore.
10. Central Market, KL opened in 1928
Said to have been built by Yap Ah Loy, Kuala Lumpur's founding father, Central Market started off as a wet market back in 1888. By the 1930s, the place had expanded so much that a proper structure was built to house all of the vendors.
In the 1980s, the wet market relocated and the building was almost demolished. However, the Malaysian Heritage Society set up a petition to save the building and Central Market was revamped into a handicrafts outlet.
Fast forward to today, the historical place is now a popular shopping destination for tourists visiting Malaysia.
Central Market showcases the true Malaysian culture and heritage through its sales of local crafts and products. You can currently find more than 300 shops selling local handicrafts, textiles, souvenirs, collectibles, and restaurants.
Do you remember visiting any of these old shopping spots? Share your fave memories with us in the comments section below!