Best Handicraft Buys in Malaysia

Picture captured by Joanne Lane.

Like so many travelers I love getting myself a souvenir or two to remember a place by. Personally, it’s the locally-made handicraft item that appeals to me the most; the rest, I believe, is made in China.

It’s tricky where you purchase your handicraft from. For example, if you buy it from the airport’s Duty Free shop or from a big mall, chances are these items will be over-priced. It’s always a good idea to buy from the artisans themselves; you’ll get the same thing at a much lower price and, more importantly, you’re helping the artisan by paying the money directly to him or her.

There’s a nice article written by Joanne Lane about the best arsenal buys in Malaysia. The first thing on her list is batik, drawing or printing of pattern on fabric by wax. The Malaysian government is actively promoting the development of batik patterns and promoting it as a national dress. She suggests buying batik from Malaysia’s eastern coast in Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu but you can also find it in Penang.

Another good souvenir items are silver work—everything from tea sets to brooches and bracelets—which can be bought directly from the silvercraft factory at Kampung Sireh, Kota Bharu. When in Semporna you’ll find designs of lepa boats, a traditional wooden-hulled single-mast boat beautifully created by skilled carvers, the Kenyah and Kayan peoples of Malaysian Borneo. So there is always something for everyone when it comes to handicraft shopping in Malaysia.

Do you buy souvenirs? What do you usually purchase?

If you would like to find out more about shopping in and traveling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia website.


  1. We always buy a magnet from every city to put on the fridge. We also began a collection of little tower models. And I always get my mom a mug or teacup from every country. Sometimes I’ll send my brother a postcard. Other than that my only souvenirs are pictures!
    I don’t like to shop when travelling but I’m excited to see everything and admire it all 🙂
    Very excited about Malaysia as well…going to be spending a few days in KL and leaving tomorrow inshallah!

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