A stopover in Kuala Lumpur is ideal for shopping till you drop, writes Eli Orzessek.
My wife, my 8-year-old son and I are flying from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur on September 8. We are spending all day there, 8am till 7pm - at least 10 hours before we catch our next flight. I want to make the most of my time with sightseeing, visiting a theme park and also bit of shopping, as I've heard shopping is very good there. Even though we love shopping, I still want to make my son happy. My first priority will be to show him the best of Kuala Lumpur. Can you advise us which theme park I should take him to and the best places to shop, particularly clothing stores?

Tushar Patel

I haven't been to KL yet myself, but I have certainly heard it's great for shopping - clothes shopping in particular - and I'm sure I'll do a bit of it there myself.

I've been doing some research, but in the meantime I asked my contact Alex Hema at House of Travel for some tips, as she visited recently.

She recommended venturing to Perdana Botanical Gardens to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and experience the beauty of nature in the middle of a big city.

Within you'll find the Orchid Park and Hibiscus Gardens, as well as the Butterfly Park - home to 6000 amazing species.


Or check out the Bird Park. This sprawling, walk-in aviary is said to be the largest of its kind in the world.

After communing with nature, you could always treat yourself to lunch at Rebung restaurant in the Gardens - Alex said Chef Ismail's cooking demonstration is awesome.

Nearby, the KL City Gallery boasts a 40ft by 50ft model of the city.

It's an incredible ongoing project, with more than 5000 buildings represented. Make sure you see the special light show to learn about the history and future developments of KL.

Unfortunately KL's waterparks are outside of the city, so a bit harder to visit when you've only got a day.

However, for a fantastic shopping experience with bonus fun times, there's Berjaya Times Square - a theme park inside a shopping mall.

It's the largest indoor theme park in Malaysia, spread over two floors with some awesome rollercoasters.

As far as clothes shopping goes, I also consulted an article by Megan Singleton previously published in Travel, on KL's best malls. She said while Berjaya is great for local boutiques and unknown brands, if you're looking for a more high-end experience try Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

Apparently you can even get a very ticklish fish foot massage and pedicure there at Kenko on the fifth floor.

Her first stop, however, is always Sungei Wang Plaza and BB Plaza - "if you're looking for cheap shoes, gadgets, costume jewellery and clothing from local designers, start here with 500 stores and kiosks".

These options are all close to the city centre, so you're sure to stumble on other interesting shops along the way.

And of course, no trip to KL would be complete without visiting the Petronas Towers - the tallest twin towers in the world. There's a luxury shopping mall there too, the Suria KLCC, which has more than 400 stores.

If you want to walk across the Skybridge between the buildings, get there early, as only a limited number of tickets are sold each day on a first-come, first-served basis. The view from the top is outstanding.

I hope these tips help and you enjoy your time in Kuala Lumpur.

On September 11 I shall be travelling from Vancouve,r Canada to Manchester, New Hampshire via Chicago. I arrive in Chicago at 15.37 and my flight to Manchester departs at 17.30 which leaves me less that two hours to get through security and customs and catch my flight to Manchester. Both flights are with United Airlines arriving at Terminal 1 and departing from Terminal 2. I am a bit concerned about missing my connection and being stranded. My travel travel agent has said things should be okay.

Would it be a good idea contacting United Airline in Vancouver and voicing my concerns?

Alexander Davies

Depsite the horror stories of endless security lines this American summer, it seems like things are improving, as the TSA have reorganised and employed extra staff to cope with demand. If you're concerned, it would definitely be worth contacting United to see what conditions are like before you leave and to find out what might happen if you were to miss your flight.

However, since summer is over in the US, I imagine you'll be fine. There's even an app which collects traveller reports to calculate wait time at airports around the US. I also found a website which shows the wait times at Chicago O'Hare Airport - which was one of the busiest over the summer - and at around the same time your flights would be, none of the lines appeared to have a wait longer than 20 minutes. It seems like the worst has passed.

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