Although the tenant list is deceptively small, Paradigm Mall has many useful stores and some underrated gems. The Escape Challenge Park is one of the nicest outdoor obstacle parks as well.
Paradigm Mall delicately balances a “stylish mall” vibe with economical stores. Let’s be honest, anywhere that a Lotus crops up, the sophistication of the area is dragged down. Even with the grocery supergiant lurking in its basement, Paradigm Mall doesn’t feel like a “cheap” mall.
Boasting over 300 tenants, the customary retail chains are here to make everyone feel comfortable but some quality underrated local brands also take up residence. After an epic shopping spree when we came here two weekends in a row because there were simply too many stores we wanted to shop at, this unassuming little place became “our” mall.
The main atrium is at the north end of the UG level. It is usually filled with a special event or seasonal decor with pop-up shops. If there is a performance happening, there’s lots of space to get a great view from the two floors above. The escalators at Paradigm Mall are more or less located at either end of the mall, with some levels having an additional set in the middle.
Paradigm Mall is a vaguely rectangular shape, but what’s going on inside is far from making sense. As Mark puts it, it’s “chaotic.” There are weird little alcoves, outcroppings and openings on every single level that do not match the weird alcoves, outcroppings and openings of the level below it. The guardrails bend and swerve like a drunk person and there is barely a straight one among them.
The shops on the lower levels are all over the place. On the concourse and ground, several doors can be easily overlooked because they seem to lead outside. In actuality, there are some hidden shops and restaurants in a semi-outdoor area out here. At level UG and above, the layout is more structured with a ring of stores around the periphery and an occasional kiosk in the middle. Looking at the floor maps for each level, there are tons of empty, blocky cavities in the floor space that probably should have been filled with a bigger retail tenant. It’s like the shops just set up where ever they pleased, no matter their size, and if it resulted in a random gap in the floor plan, meh.
That being said, it’s easier to get turned around and confused about where you’ve already been in Paradigm Mall. You can completely miss certain stores because you didn’t venture down a specific hallway. This isn’t the kind of mall where you can see every store without needing to do some backtracking.
The fashion selection at Paradigm Mall is admittedly smaller than other medium-sized malls with only about 25 tenants. Many of the stores are fast fashion mall staples. All the greatest hits are here: H&M, Uniqlo, F.O.S and more. However, there are no niche stores for formalwear, maternity or Muslimah garments. If you’re a basic bitch like me, you’ll be satisfied with the Padini and Brands Outlet. Men get a single store to call their own (HLA Menswear), but otherwise, they will have to make do with the unisex retailers. I wouldn’t recommend coming here for fashion if you’re looking for something specific.
One of the big reasons why I like Paradigm Mall are the decent fashion outlets that are otherwise inconveniently located. XES Shoes are always located in some dumpy plaza far away from me, but they have an outlet at Paradigm. XES has the most comfortable shoes ever, and the prices are amazing with the ongoing multi deals. I almost always buy a couple pairs when I visit this mall.
Health & Beauty has a surprising presence here at Paradigm Mall. In addition to all the hair and nail salons, there are quite a few speciality spas. I’m not sure what assumptions to make about the nearby denizens considering that there are at least three spas specialising in slimming treatments. For those of us who are not looking to get our fat zapped or skin whitened, we have The Face Shop, Laneige and Innisfree for skincare, and Sephora for ridiculously expensive cosmetics.
Shoppers are spoiled for choice when browsing for a new telco provider at Paradigm Mall. There’s Celcom, Digi, Umobile and Maxis, and even smaller service providers like Yes, TuneTalk and XOX Mobile are available also. For hardware, there’s Samsung, OPPO and Huawei selling their latest models. If you’re looking to upgrade your home internet, there is also a TM Broadband Station set up here. All of these are on level 1 for easy comparison shopping. Although there is so much to do with mobiles, there is only one gadget shop.
You definitely won’t find any furniture worth buying at Paradigm Mall. When it comes to housewares though, you can expect a pretty good variety in small-scale items like kitchenware and decor. Home’s Harmony, Daiso and Kaison are always great for basics without having to spend too much, not to mention anything you find in the Lotus. Dekko, D’Home and the Good2U Concept Store offer their wares at a slightly lower price but with some concessions. For example, D’Home is, quite possibly, the ugliest shop ever, and I’m sure Dekko and Good2U sometimes sell slightly defective items. I’ve still bought things like mugs from these stores as these defects can be imperceptible. Just make sure to check for little bubbles in the paint job or warped workmanship before you buy.
While it doesn’t count as “shopping,” a category where Paradigm Mall excels at is entertainment for your little ones. On level 1 at the far end is a total haven for kids, complete with playspaces, claw arcades, video arcades, go-karts… and a big Toys R Us store to top off your child’s excitement overload. The centrepiece is the Milky Way PlaySpace, a six and a half metre tall obstacle course with wall climbing, suspended bridges and a twisty slide. Any child who loves active play will go crazy over this. It’s like a kid-friendly version of the more dangerous activities at the Escape Challenge Park.
Oddly for a mall this size, there is no department store at Paradigm Mall. The Marks & Spencer is only one floor and specialises largely in clothes. Despite having 300 outlets, the directory seems surprisingly short in all of the categories except food. It does look like the mall is fully occupied and everything has its place. Even though there are seven floors at Paradigm Mall, there was never any part of the mall that felt empty, like at MyTOWN Shopping Centre. There were none of those “sad” levels that you usually find on the upper floors of malls where they’re full of shop lots waiting to be leased.
If you’re not sure what you want to eat, the LG level is a good place to start. Most of the casual restaurants and snack kiosks are located here such as Nathan’s Famous, Harum Manis, and Auntie Anne’s. As you progress to the higher levels, the Concourse (CC) and Level 1 will have a greater mix of slightly more upscale eateries scattered all over the place. Don’t forget the restaurants outside the mall on level G next to the Escape Challenge Park, like D’Italiane and Wood & Grill. The food options do not go further than level 2, however. Up here is where you can find super casual chains and fast food like Burger King, Kenny Rogers Roasters and SRK Noodle House. Personally, I don’t look forward to eating at Paradigm Mall. There’s way too much Asian food. If I don’t feel like that kind of food, I basically have five restaurants to choose from that aren’t fast food. I’ve pretty much tried all the non-Asian restaurants in the handful of times we’ve been to this mall.
Food Arcade: Lower Ground
Also in the LG level is Paradigm Mall’s medan selera, the Food Arcade. This food court is not that big, but everything is arranged in an easy to browse open concept. All of the food options are lined up in an L-shape against the wall, while the drink vendor is right in the middle. While other mall’s food courts will often have windows for guests to enjoy a view while they eat, the best view you’re going to get at the Food Arcade is of the mall and its denizens. Good for those who like people watching, but most diners won’t spend more time than necessary at the Food Arcade since it’s not a nice place to hang out.
There is no regular pattern in the location or size of the washrooms at Paradigm Mall. They seem to just be crammed into whatever corner has space for them, so some washrooms will be spacious while others will only have five stalls. Some of the levels only have two washrooms at opposite ends of the mall, while other levels have four spread out at regular intervals. Depending on what level you’re on, be prepared to walk a bit out of your way to get to a toilet.
The washrooms are classy and clean, with the bigger ones having a separate primping space in the women’s. The toilets are sitting style with paper in the stall, and stalls without a water hose will be clearly labelled. The washroom I used had too many stalls for me to check every one, but I’m fairly certain that there is at least one squatter if someone prefers it. There is soap at the sinks, but it is a communal dispenser that is only located at the ends. Despite the large number of stalls, there was only one airblade dryer to dry your hands with. Many (but not all) of the washrooms will have a handicapped washroom next to the regular male and female washrooms.
Escape Challenge Park
The biggest non-retail draw of Paradigm Mall is the Escape Challenge Park, a roofed but outdoor fun zone for all ages. Common patrons are preteen birthday partygoers congregating around the rock climbing wall, children bouncing on the trampoline while their mom takes videos, and groups of fit adults mustering their balance on thin beams high above.
Escape Challenge Park extends all the way down to the opposite end, separated by a small bridge. There is a wide variety of activities available within the park for all athletic and bravery levels. Some are meant to challenge your fitness, such as hanging ropes to test your upper body strength and the aforementioned balance obstacles. Some are for the adrenaline, like ziplining and being launched into the air via bungee. And some are completely frivolous like belly-flopping onto a giant inflatable cushion. There are a couple of restaurants surrounding the park, so whichever you fancy, you will have to be comfortable with your potential fail being someone else’s dinner entertainment.
Escape Challenge Park operates on a flat rate that is valid for the entire day. I’m not sure if it’s possible to leave and re-enter on the same ticket, but if so, this is great value especially if you buy your tickets online at a 30% discount. The online prices are almost identical to the foreigner price at Aquaria KLCC, but Aquaria is only a couple hours of entertainment and single-entry. On a single ticket to the Escape Challenge Park, you could potentially spend all day here, freely leaving for food, coffee or a movie in the mall when you’re tired, and returning later when you’re refreshed.
Shuttle & Aerobus
There used to be a free shuttle bus service to and from Kelana Jaya LRT station, as well as an aerobus to KLIA from the concourse level pickup/dropoff entrance. However, service has been discontinued during the COVID-19 pandemic. Time will tell if this service suspension is temporary or permanent.
The Escape Challenge Park looks very fun and I do hope that I can try it one day. With a group of friends or for a special occasion for your children, a few hours at Escape will be undeniably memorable. I can’t help but come out here to spectate every time I visit this mall, and it’s so satisfying to witness feats of athleticism or a child having the time of their life simply by jumping on a trampoline. More of us need to have physical fun like this, instead of getting all our entertainment from a screen.
When it comes to shopping, Paradigm Mall feels like a jack of all trades but a master of none. There isn’t a store category that dominates, nor is there one that is severely lacking. Since it has most of the customary stores, those looking for commonplace items can probably find it here. Tesco alone is a big draw as there are such a small number of them that are conveniently located inside of a real mall. I’ve found that with some of the lesser-known stores that I like, their other locations will be on the other side of the city. Sometimes, I don’t feel like going to KLCC or a monstrosity like 1Utama just for a specific store. Paradigm Mall is much more manageable and has a good collection of these less prevalent retail chains. For us, Paradigm Mall has many of the shops that we need all in one place.
Paradigm Mall Info
Address: No. 1, Jalan SS 7/26a, SS7, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Daily: 10am – 10pm
Nearest MRT Station: Kelana Jaya Station
Stores and Floors: Over 300 stores over 6 levels (plus a cinema on the top floor)
Shop Types: Entertainment, food & beverage
Anchors: Tesco, Golden Screen Cinemas, Escape Challenge Park