Thursday, November 26, 2009

Services not just goods attract Australian shoppers to Malaysia

With the Australian dollar powering through the three to one mark, and no indication of slowing down, it's no wonder that Australians are in the top three countries for tourist spending in Malaysia.

Over the weekend Malaysia's Year End Sale, or better known locally as simply M-YES, officially began, with participating outlets rolling out the discounts.  But amidst the lucrative hauls of goodies, the services market shouldn't be overlooked.

"Australians love to shop! And shopping in Malaysia is so cheap in comparison," said Wendy Lee, Tourism Malaysia Marketing Executive, to e-Travel Blackboard.  "But that's not all you can do here."

"There's spa treatments, facials, massages, manicure and pedicures, hair treatments - and all for much cheaper than Australia."

Wellness, health and beauty travel has been on the rise throughout South-East Asia over the last few years, and Malaysia is also seeing an increase of travellers seeking some rest, relaxation and pampering.

In Bukit Bintang Starhill Plaza is renowned for its upmarket boutiques, but on the top floor travellers can find the "pamper level" which sees several spas and salons all housed in the one area.  Due to this, prices are quite reasonable, for example a two and a half hour scrub, massage and facial at Kanebo will put you back by around AU$90.

For something a little more exotic, a foot massage and a session with the doctor fish can be had at nearby Pavilion.  "Doctor Fish" is the more friendly term for the Garra Rufa breed of fish who happen to enjoy nibbling on dead skins cells (but will leave your healthy bits alone).  A half-hour session with these little beasts can also be joined with a half-hour reflexology treatment at the chain store Kenko for around AU$25. 

Doctor fish can also be found at local markets and other shopping locations for cheaper.  But as the fish are notoriously hard to keep, travellers are advised to do their research on the store.

Salons and hair-dressers can also be found scattered around the city, with your average cut, wash and blow dry ranging between AU$10 and AU$20.  The unique selling point here is that most salons will also include a head, neck and shoulder massage as part of the package.  And of course they will try to up-sell their treatments and products while they have you entrapped in the chair - still the end price will still be significantly less than Australia.

Manicures and pedicures can be had whilst getting your hair done, or can be bought on its own, with your typical French Manicure set to cost you roughly AU$10 to AU$15 depending on the store, with pedicures priced roughly at the same price-point.  Again massages are part of the treatment, and a "mani-and pedi" session will easily take an hour to complete.

While many hotels do already include these services in their in-house spas, those not staying in a property with these offers won't have to miss out, with most shopping malls or megamalls all offering these services.

Source : Travel Blackboard
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