The most creatively designed mall in the city with themed districts and Malaysia’s OG skating rink.
Is there a mall in KL that looks cooler than Sunway Pyramid Mall? An imposing sphinx guards the titular pyramid, while pharaohs and hieroglyphs decorate the inner atrium. This could almost be a theme park extension of Sunway Lagoon next door. After a colossal transformation, Sunway Pyramid Mall is now a premier retail destination with a bevy of awards to its name.
Sunway Pyramid’s floor plan is vaguely square-shaped with less retail space as you ascend the levels. There is a branching wing at the bottom that makes the shape look sort of like a profile of a lion, much like the one standing sentry at the front of the mall. If that was intentional… *chef’s kiss*
The shops only occupy four out of the seven floors that you’ll see on the maps, from LG2 to F. The basement and CP2 house services and parking, while CP3 at the very top is the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre. The retail floors will have four atriums at each corner for you to keep track of where you are. They are the Blue Atrium, Orange Atrium, Main Atrium and the skating rink. Even with this, I was constantly confused as to where I was. Sunway Pyramid Mall has themed districts that make it easy to forget where you are, and two of the atriums (main atrium and the skating rink) will have three branching paths coming off them.
One themed district is neat, but Sunway Pyramid Mall has four. The Marrakesh neighbourhood on LG2 is the loveliest. The Moorish design elements, coloured fairy lights and fake blue sky didn’t feel very much like Morocco, but more like I was in The Venetian in Las Vegas. The outlets located in Marrakesh are a bit of a mishmash and don’t particularly match the theme. Yes, the one middle eastern restaurant was here, but I also passed by a Dubuyo and Gong Cha while walking through. Asian Avenue is the only district to get a directory listing on the Sunway Pyramid website. It is on level F and its boundaries are marked with eye-catching signage. It is a mix of fashion and food in this quarter, and this time, the outlets are more Asian inspired. The Marrakesh and Asian Avenue areas are both located in the long corridor between the Blue Atrium and the skating rink. Oasis Boulevard is on floor G and is only accessible if you exit the mall from the main atrium and turn right, or walk through the Parkson. This is a small district that is only populated with sit down restaurants, I’m pretty sure. The final neighbourhood is called Fashion Central, but I have no idea what this is. I didn’t notice any other areas that had a different design concept that could’ve been this zone.
It seems like one of the goals behind Sunway Pyramid Mall was to acknowledge those selective shoppers who are looking for one particular item that are often neglected by other malls. Small, forgotten categories like backpacks and eyeglasses have twelve stores each to choose from. One thing I like about the website’s mall directory is how everything is categorized so specifically. Other malls will commonly lump things together to make incredibly broad groups like “Optical, Timepieces & Jewelry” or “Books, Gifts, Toys & Hobbies.” When you’re scanning directories like this, you will be deceived into thinking you have more options than you actually have because a bunch of other crap you don’t need is listed under the same category. On the Sunway Pyramid website, you can search the subcategory for the exact thing you’re looking for and see how many stores you truly have at your disposal.
Sunway Pyramid Mall has much more independent clothing boutiques than I expected. Some of these boutiques don’t have a location anywhere else in the city – like COMO Studio (colourful men’s streetwear), SHOPLOOOH (classic ladies fashion) and Giuji (hats) – so you can pick up a unique piece. Usually, these kinds of shops are crammed into the poorly trafficked upper levels, but at this mall, they got fair representation next to megabrands like Uniqlo and Levi’s. Surprisingly, some mall fashion standby’s like Nichii, F.O.S and Kitschen do not have a presence at Sunway Pyramid. Personally, the latter two shops are my staples so I felt limited in the number of trusted stores that are my style.
In terms of spread, Sunway Pyramid Mall has a very good selection of clothing for both sexes assuming they don’t have any special requirements. Men, it’s nice to see, have a decent variety to suit most styles, from fashionably casual (Sacoor One), preppy (Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club), to office appropriate (Dockers). Women of course have lots of options, but many of the shops appear to lean in favour of a younger clientele: bright prints, short skirts, and off the shoulder blouses. Even underwear has over twenty stores in the category. Yes, it’s overwhelmingly lingerie, but men do have one dedicated store, The Under Shop.
Those needing Muslimah or maternity clothes, however, are out of luck. There was not a single pure Muslimah outlet that I saw, except for one kiosk selling hijabs. In the “Maternity” category on the website, there are only two shops (not including H&M) but looking at the store pictures, they seem to sell mostly baby clothes, not maternity wear.
Although there are two department stores at Sunway Pyramid Mall, Home & Living could be better. Many of the shops in the category focus on big-ticket specialised items, leaving only Kaison, Mr. DIY, Home’s Harmony and Muji to hopefully stock whatever general housewares you need. Head to MyTown Shopping Centre to have a better chance of finding what you need for your home.
Sunway Pyramid Mall’s beauty selection might be the first time that I’ve seen such an even split of cosmetics, skincare and services. Can’t decide if you need a new lipstick, cleanser or your bikini line cleaned up? Come to Sunway Pyramid! The brands for skincare and cosmetics are largely western (such as Dior, Kiehl’s, and Lush) so K-beauty fanatics will have to go to Pyramid’s sister mall Sunway Velocity to restock their supplies.
What makeup is to ladies, Digital Lifestyle is to men. There are over fifty outlets in the category and they are again split up into gadgets, mobile accessories, and telco. Not all the telcos have a presence here, just the big four (Digi, Celcom, Maxis and Umobile) and XOX Mobile. Not all the big smartphone brands have their own exclusive store either, but yet Samsung has four different locations. There are better places to go for gadgets in my opinion, but Sunway Pyramid has a couple of cool niche stores like the Go Pro shop and DJI, the leading drone brand.
If you have any children, Sunway Pyramid will probably be their favourite mall for many reasons beyond the cool lion at the front. Not only is there a plethora of toy, collectable and video game shops, but the entertainment options that the whole family can enjoy are top-notch. There’s Galactic Laser (laser tag), Mission Q (escape room), Sunway Mega Lanes (bowling), and of course, the skating rink.
The convenience store situation at Sunway Pyramid is so aggravating. Try not to need a bottle of water or chocolate bar while shopping at this mall, because you will have to walk ridiculously far just to get to a convenience store. There are only four in this giant mall, and they are located as far apart from each other as architecturally possible. The two MyNews are on opposite sides of the pyramid, vertically (LG2 and CP2). The 7-Eleven and FamilyMart require you to exit the mall as they are located in the external wings, and you’ll have to go through the hassle of checking in again when you need to re-enter the mall.
Sunway Pyramid is unique in that it does not have a food arcade, like every other mall we’ve been to. Guests will have to be content with the wide variety of chain restaurants that are spread out over four of the levels. LG2 is where you’ll find most fast food favourites like McDonald’s, Stuff’d and 4 Fingers. Snacks, drink kiosks and sit-down restaurants will be evenly distributed on LG1, G, and F1. The dine-in restaurants are overwhelmingly Chinese food, with Japanese food coming in a close second in terms of quantity. Those craving a Western restaurant have about a dozen options, but most other cuisine types will have just one or two places.
Shoppers should think about browsing the restaurants on the mall website beforehand because there are a large number of them that are hidden and can only be accessed from outside of the mall. K-Fry, T.G.I. Fridays and Hotpot Kitchen are just some of the eateries that you would never notice when wandering around the mall.
Asian Avenue: 1st Floor
Within the Asian Avenue shopping district are more casual Asian food outlets. It’s a mix of nationwide chains like Old Nanyang Coffee, Porridge Time and Yi Poh, to indie shops that exist exclusively at Sunway Pyramid such as Formosa (Taiwan street snacks), Han Bun Sik (Korean Ramyun) and Johor Mini Steamboat. Most of the restaurants are set up in a lane where you’ll pass by other diners when walking through. This makes it easy to compare menus but offers no privacy once you decide to sit down. If you decide to get something here, the best seats are next to the big windows overlooking the Sunway Lagoon water park down below.
ABC One Cafeteria: Basement Level 1
Buried in the basement like a shameful little secret is the ABC One Cafeteria, a utilitarian cafe serving local specialities like fried noodles and nasi kandar. This restaurant is only accessible by a set of elevators in the Marrakesh district, near the Sushi Jiro and MyNews on LG2. The cafe is outfitted with metal furniture and exposed pipes, illuminated in a horrendous white light without a hint of a window anywhere. The car park is a stone’s throw away, so the smell of the food competes heartily with the stale underground fumes. Nobody can deny the awful ambience, and even the restaurant grudgingly admits it on their store directory page: “ABC One Cafeteria prides itself in providing a down-to-earth, affordable meal that is devoid of the usual drapperies of fancy eatings.” They hope that diners will look past the unfortunate appearance and focus instead on their low prices. A cheap and tasty meal is dandy, but there are other places in Sunway Pyramid to get one without having to sit alone in a sad basement. Every moment I spent down here looking at ABC One Cafeteria just made me more depressed. I honestly don’t know who would want to eat here aside from mall staff who just need a cheap plate of food.
The Sunway Pyramid Mall toilets are very nice and well serviced. Matte grey cubicles are sleek looking and hide any scratches or fingerprints. Soap dispensers are placed at every other sink so you don’t need to awkwardly sidle next to someone to get some soap when washing up. There was toilet paper inside the stall, and most were sitting style toilets except for two squatters at the end in the washroom I visited. The weirdest thing was the random alliterative anti-smoking slogan on the wall that I guess was meant to be décor.
Where the washrooms at Sunway Pyramid Mall lose points is their location. They’re spaced much too far apart for a mall of this size, and sometimes their placement is not consistent from level to level. Where there was a toilet on level G, there will be a shop on level F. You will have to keep your eyes peeled for bathroom signage, and do a personal check if you need one every time you pass by a toilet because the next one might be a ways away.
Sunway Pyramid Ice (accessible via LG2)
Many malls have a skating rink, but the one at Sunway Pyramid Mall is by far the most lively in Kuala Lumpur. Dating back to 1997, it was the very first skating rink in the country and many Malaysians choose this rink out of nostalgia. Newbies might be discouraged by the seemingly large number of show-offs here, but this rink is an Ice Skating Institute Asia (ISIAsia) venue. ISI trains professional figure-skaters at the highest level, so this rink is sometimes used by advanced skaters who are practising their routines. We even witnessed a proper hockey game taking place here. The rink has a massive size of 39 metres by 22.5 metres, but the rink at Sunway Pyramid Mall sees a lot of skaters during the weekends and holidays so even the large expanse of ice can quickly feel crowded. The best time to come to Sunway Pyramid Ice is early on weekend mornings or on the weekdays so you’re not constantly in danger of colliding into someone on the ice. The picture you see above was at Sunday 11:30 am, but the picture earlier in the post is at 6:30 pm and you can see the difference.
The prices at Sunway Pyramid Ice differ on weekdays and weekends. They are RM25 on weekdays and RM30 on weekends per pax. If you plan to skate often, becoming a member will knock RM5 off the price. The admission price includes skate rental, but not any accessories or aides. The rink is open every day from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm with short closures throughout the day to resurface the ice. There are four session blocks throughout the day, and each session is two hours long. It is a good idea to arrive right when a session starts (at 10 am, 12:30 pm, 3 pm, or 5 pm) so that you have the maximum amount of time to skate. When you pay the Sunway Pyramid Ice admission price, it is only valid for one session. That means if you want to skate from 1 pm to 5 pm, you will have to pay RM50 – RM60 for two sessions.
There are a lot of spectators at Sunway Pyramid Ice. Not just parents watching their children, but also everyone on the floors above can watch your ungraceful falls from every angle. If you hope to one day attract attention on the ice for the right reasons, the Sunway Pyramid Ice Skating Academy offers both private and group skating lessons. The lessons are 30-minutes long and require pre-booking. You have your choice of being instructed by coaches at a variety of skill levels. I’m not sure what “Foreign Coach” means… maybe Sunway Pyramid Ice has managed to secure the skating expertise of a Canadian, Finnish, or another cold-weather denizen.
Sunway Shuttle Bus
Those who live in the Sunway bubble can take the free shuttle bus that runs all day every day at 25-minute intervals. There are only 11 stops on the route so it’s not a large area serviced, but it’s open to anyone if you happen to be in the area and want a free way to pop over to the mall. From Monday to Saturday, service begins at 7:00 am with the last bus leaving the mall at 10:15 pm. On Sundays, service begins later at 9:00 am with the same 10:15 pm finish time. There is a Sunway Shuttle Bus Tracker app on the Google Play store, but it looks to be highly unreliable and inaccurate. More details about the shuttle can be found on the Sunway Pyramid website, just scroll down and expand the “By Sunway Shuttle Bus” heading.
The shop selection isn’t quite to my taste and I didn’t particularly need anything, so I came away with only one thing purchased on this day. However, I realised during our visit that this is a good mall to hang out in. Not just for active people willing to spend money on the entertainment venues, but also for those looking for a more laid back day. There are so many nice places to enjoy a meal or a coffee in this mall, especially the Costa Coffee in the main atrium. The various atriums and resting areas at Sunway Pyramid are excellent people-watching spots. Unlike many other malls, Sunway Pyramid actually has lots of benches and places to sit at regular intervals! This is the mall I’d want to go to if I didn’t need to buy anything but just wanted to spend an afternoon somewhere comfortable. The only thing stopping me from coming to Sunway Pyramid Mall more often is that it is a bit far from me.
Address: No. 3, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
Nearest MRT Station: Sunway Lagoon
Stores and Floors: Approximately 1000 over 5 floors
Shop Types: Restaurants, entertainment, and a mix of fashion chains and small boutiques
Anchors: AEON, Parkson, TGV Cinemas