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 with 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 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 world, it's the exterior architecture that stands out.
Its design is a cross between Western construction ideas mixed with Malaysian and Islamic styles.
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, 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 sit in the gardens surrounding the mosque.
The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, which is not housed in a historic building, is 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 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 side of the street as the flagpole is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, a famous landmark in Kuala Lumpur.
The building, Moorish in design, was formerly the high court of Malaysia; It now houses several 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.
There you can go shopping and further explore or jump on the metro to get back to a different part of town.
Taking a relaxing historical walk through Kuala Lumpur is an excellent addition to any visit!
Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the U.S. for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow-paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @migrationology.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.
Sunday 10th of April 2016
One of my favorite country to visit. Really Rich in culture and historic places are maintained. Thanks for sharing this article..
Thursday 21st of March 2013
I haven't been to Kuala Lumpur, but its definitely on my bucket list to go. Beautiful photos!
Tuesday 12th of March 2013
I always thought of Kuala Lumpur as a real modern city, but it's good to hear that there is some historical stuff to check out as well. I'm looking forward to exploring the city later this year.
Dariece - Goats On The Road
Monday 11th of March 2013
Kuala Lumpur is one of our favourite cities! There's so much to see and do there...and you're right, often people overlook the old parts of KL and just get enthralled by the Petronas Towers and other modern buildings. Look closer, there's so much to see!