Kuala Lumpur - Culture & Sightseeing

Date Links: 
Fri 10/06 │ Sat 11/06

Accommodation: Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Badan Warisan Malaysia - 

The Malay version of the UK National Trust, Badan Warisan Malaysia is itself housed in a restored colonial mansion. Trustees are campaigning to save similar historic buildings around Malaysia. One of the trust's big success stories was the Rumah Penghulu, moved to the trust headquarters from Kedah. The Trust also holds exhibitions in the mansion, which has a good shop selling antiques, crafts and books on Malay architecture and history.

Guided tours of the Rumah Penghulu (Malay House) are offered twice daily (11am and 3pm) from Monday to Saturday (with the exception of public holidays); a minimum donation of RM 10 per person is re

quested. Group tours and tours at times other than the regular times can be arranged - 2 Jalan Stonor, Golden Triangle - Telephone: 603-2144-927 - www.badanwarisan.org.my

Chan She Shu Yuen Temple - 

Facing the Bulatan Merdeka roundabout, the Chan She Shu Yuen Temple features a stunning tiled roof withdioramas of celestial scenes and dramatic woodcarvings inside the main shrine. There's also a library with 4000 Chinese books - Jalan Petaling, Chinatown

Guan Yin Temple - 

Also facing the Bulatan Merdeka roundabout, the Guan Yin Temple is less dramatic than the Chan She Shu Yuen Temple but worth seeing for its golden Chinese Buddhist statues - Cnr Jalan Stadium & Jalan Maharajalela, Chinatown

Malayan Railway Administration Building - 

The old KL Train Station is mirrored by the equally handsome Malayan Railway Administration Building across the road. Walking here from Chinatown, the best route to follow is to take the pedestrian bridge across from the Central Market to Kompleks Dayabumi and then head south around the back of the post office to the underpass leading to the Masjid Negara.

Masjid Negara - 

The principal place of worship for KL's Malay Muslim population is the gigantic Masjid Negara. The mosque was inspired by the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Its umbrella-like blue-tile roof has 18 points symbolising the 13 states of Malaysia and the five pillars of Islam. Rising above the mosque, a 74m-high minaret issues the call to prayer that can be heard across Chinatown. Non-Muslims are welcome to visit outside of prayer times but dress appropriately and remove your shoes before entering.

Old KL Train Station - Midway between Chinatown and KL Sentral is another of AB Hubbock's Moorish-inspired fantasies. KL Train Station opened with much pomp and circumstance in 1911 to receive trains from Butterworth and Singapore. This wonderful confection of turrets and towers looks particularly impressive in the golden afternoon sunlight - half close your eyes and you can imagine the old Orient Express steaming in from Singapore.

The soaring domes and arches were skilfully restored in the 1980s, but the station was replaced by the new KL Sentral station in 2001. Today the platforms are only used for KTM Komuter trains to the suburbs. Although it's looking a bit dishevelled these days, it's still worth coming here to imagine the glory days.

Walking here from Chinatown, the best route to follow is to take the pedestrian bridge across from the Central Market to Kompleks Dayabumi and then head south around the back of the post office to the underpass leading to the Masjid Negara - Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, Chinatown

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

The east side of the Merdeka Square is dominated by the domes and clocktower of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, built as the secretariat for the colonial administration in 1897. It was designed by the India-obsessed architect AC Norman - who also created the Jamek Masjid - and it now houses the Malaysian High Court. There are several more AC Norman constructions along the east side of the square, providing a striking counterpoint to the looming Menara KL and Petronas Towers - Jalan Raja, Merdeka Square Area

Wisma Loke - 

A story of heritage under threat, Wisma Loke, the fading former home of tin and rubber mogul Loke Yew, is slowly falling into ruin. Similarly threatened are the wooden Malay houses of Kampung Baru, where permission for development is already being granted. In 2005 the government passed the National Heritage Bill which allows the authorities to protect properties of historic note by declaring them heritage buildings - Jalan Medan Tuanku, Medan Tuanku