By Kamila Delart

When a shop flourishes for nearly two decades despite a location away from the busy tourism spots, you can be sure the shopping experience is worth the trip across the island! The 10.000 square feet one-stop handicraft & art gallery lures with sophisticated presentation and an exquisite selection of antiques and handicraft personally sourced by the owners all across Asia. Intrigued? Wait until you hear the stories that surround some of the rare objects you will find in De’ Zone!

Sharing a passion for unique artifacts, aboriginal cultures and adventure, two friends, Albert Ng and Alan Lim, decided many years ago to set out on a journey to Borneo.

With the spirit of Indiana Jones, they followed narrow paths deep into the jungle, encountering on their voyage riverine and hill-dwelling Orang Asli tribes. While their arrival was celebrated in some settlements with welcoming ceremonies and the legendary tuak, a traditional drink made of fermented glutinous rice buried for years in the ground for ultimate flavor, occasionally they found themselves surrounded by a group of half-naked warriors with blowpipes and faces covered in vibrant paint - wondering whether they may have run into the Iban Headhunters known for hanging on central beams of their shacks the skulls of those trespassing their territory as a symbol of their power and social status…

A terrifying experience?! Albert and Alan confess that their trip was spiced up with some rather scary moments and long nights with one of them keeping a watch, anxiously waiting for the first rays of dawn… But to them, adrenalin rush is part of the thrill, and the stunning artifacts they came across during their trip well worth the risk taken! And so, rather than writing off their adventure as a youthful escapade, the two friends decided to make their trips regular and turn their passion into a business.

Embarking on a new adventure four or five times annually, they visited over the years many remote places across the Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Burma and Cambodia, returning each time with truly unique funds and extraordinary memories they are happy to share with their customers.

Enchanted by the tribal masks? While they are sure to add exotic flair to your living room when hanging over the homey sofa, imagine how different you will feel about them when able to picture indigenous people wearing them during a ritual trance-dance. When running your fingers along the elaborately carved totem made of black iron wood, you may still sense the power of the ancestral prayers. And as you put on the ornamental bracelet made of massive silver, worn a century ago during a tribal wedding ceremony, for a brief moment, you may feel the excitement of the young shy bride from Meow Hill tribe in the Golden Triangle.

Curious about the purpose of the jade and stone containers with perforated lids? Fire-proof, they were designed for burning incense, with the tiny holes allowing the fragrant scent to escape into the air. While some of the delicately painted ceramic pieces are antique tea pods, those furnished with a thin tubule tell the story of red poppy fields high in the Cambodian hills and hidden opium dens luring with the promise of euphoria…

If you are looking for truly Malaysian handicraft, make sure you visit the pewter section. Celebrating the heritage of tin mining in Peninsular Malaysia, the decorative objects and collectables made of the world’s fourth most precious metal are in such high regard, only a very few selected shops in the country were granted the governmental trade license.

There are so many stunning artifacts, you can spend hours discovering new and new unique pieces! Ladies are likely to swoon over the exquisite jewelry with diamonds, sapphires and pearls. But also those looking for more affordable souvenirs will be in their element. Whether a batik art, a small wooden sculpture or home accessories with ethnic flair - you are sure to find whatever you are looking for.