An initial look at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and you’ll probably notice huge modern skyscrapers and fancy shopping malls that seem to engulf the entire skyline.
But Kuala Lumpur is a city that’s rich with history, and luckily some of the buildings from its colonial days have been well preserved.
The last time I was there, along taking a trip to the Batu Caves, I decided to get away from the glamour of Kuala Lumpur central and take a wandering stroll around the old section of town.
I started off at the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. This old station was opened in 1910, yet it’s still in use today. Though the inside looks like many other train stations around the wold, it’s the exterior architecture that really stands out. Its design is a cross between Western construction ideas mixed with Malaysian and Islamic style.
Directly across the street from the Railway Station is the Railway administration building, another impressive old building that’s not accessible, but nice to view from the outside.
A short distance from the railroad station and you’ll arrive at Masjid Negara, also known as the National Mosque of Malaysia.
The mosque can accommodate up to 15,000 people, and is famous for its 73 meter tall minaret.
Before entering you’ll have to remove your shoes and deposit them in the available lockers.
If you don’t happen to be wearing long pants and shoulder covering sleeves, you will also be provided with a stylish purple gown, but it’s better if you come pre-dressed in modest attire.
The National Mosque visiting hours schedule is a little complicated, as you can see from the photo above.
However, if you happen to arrive a little early, you can walk around or just take a seat in the gardens that surround the mosque.
The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, which is not housed in a historical building, is instead a modern facility that showcases some magnificent works of Islamic art.
Among the many galleries (which are set up in an open space rather than being sectioned off like most museums), are items from the Indian Mughal empire, Chinese Islamic ceramics and other pieces of Chinese artwork, and a wealth of Islamic art from the Malay peninsula and across the islands of Southeast Asia.
Merdeka Square, translated as Independence Square, is the location where the Malaysian flag was raised for the first time to declare independence. The flagpole is a whopping 95 meters in height and waves a giant Malaysian flag. Stare up at the swaying flag for too long and you’ll surely get a little dizzy!
Towards downtown, and on the opposite site of the street as the flagpole, is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, a famous landmark in Kuala Lumpur. The building, which is Moorish in design, was formerly the high court of Malaysia; It now houses a number of different government ministries.
After a few hours of strolling around the historical area of Kuala Lumpur and admiring the giant flag pole of Merdeka Square, it’s just a short walk back to Central Market where you can go shopping and further explore or jump on the metro to get back to a different area of town.
Taking a relaxing historical walk through Kuala Lumpur is a great addition to any visit!
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