Kuala Lumpur is rated as an alpha world city, a city of global appeal. It is renowned for its landmark buildings, well-developed city planning, arts and culture scene and world-class education system. If this is your first time in Kuala Lumpur, and you don’t want to miss the best gems it has to offer, then we recommend the seven wonders of Kuala Lumpur.
The Old Colonial District of Kuala Lumpur
The Old Colonial District of Kuala Lumpur is in the vicinity of Independence Square (popularly known as Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square). Here, on 31 August 1957, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, lowered the Union Jack and hoisted the Malayan flag to proclaim the country’s independence. The 95 metre-high flagpole was once the tallest in the world prior to 1980. Today, with flags billowing in the wind, it is still a magnificent landmark. Surrounding buildings are designed in Moorish architectural styles with unique Corinthian columns capped with Mughal domes. At Merdeka Square, the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery and the Tourist Information Centre are housed in a heritage building which showcases comprehensive historical facts of the city’s past, and provides updates on its present and future. This tourist hot spot features a quaint gift shop stocked with unique memorabilia and the world-famous Arch’s Made in Malaysia wood veneer gifts. Admission to the gallery is free. Bicycles can also be rented here at a very reasonable rate.
The National Mosque or Masjid Negara
The National Mosque or Masjid Negara is a sacred place for Muslims to perform their prayers. Built in 1965, the building is highly recognizable through its 73 metre-high minaret. The mosque can accommodate up to 15,000 worshippers at one time. The interior is dominated by the high-ceilinged main prayer hall and the large windows which let in natural light. Robes are given to tourists to cover their head and body as a mark of respect during mosque tours.
Batu Caves is one of the more well-known sights of Kuala Lumpur. Batu Caves is a limestone hill with a series of caves located at the top of a hill which lies in the northern portion of Kuala Lumpur. It is also the site for the Hindu temple of Lord Murugan, one of the main deities worshipped by the South Indians. At the site, there is a 42.7 metre-high figure of Lord Murugan, the tallest figure of its kind in the world. Next to it are the 272 flights of stairs that lead to the main caves. As you walk up, herds of monkeys can be seen, seemingly unafraid of humans. Batu Caves is also the final stop for the mystical annual Thaipusam festival where devotees come pierced with huge carriages and sharp impediments in homage for favours granted to them by their God
The National Monument
The National Monument is a towering sculpture of soldiers, one of whom is holding the national flag. The monument was set up to commemorate the dead who fought in World War II and during the Malayan Emergency, a guerrilla war between the Commonwealth armed forces and the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party from 1948 to 1960. The seven bronze figures symbolize leadership, suffering, unity, vigilance, strength, courage and sacrifice. A cenotaph nearby commemorates those who fought in both World Wars and the National Emergency, with their names inscribed on it. The inscription reads: “To Our Glorious Dead (1914–1918), (1939–1945) and the Emergency (1948–1960)”.
Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple is one of the largest Chinese temples in the city. Its eye-catching architecture makes it a veritable attraction. It is advisable to hire a taxi to reach this destination but the gorgeous scenery is worth every penny! Little India in Brickfields is the perfect place to learn about Hindu culture and explore the colourful shops selling all types of goods, textiles and prayer items.
Royal Selangor Visitor Centre
Royal Selangor Visitor Centre is the place to go to gain a wealth of knowledge about pewter craft, origins and processes. The interactive tour provides fascinating information on how pewter (alloy of tin, copper and antimony) is made. Innumerable elaborate pieces are also displayed. You may even have a go at making your own customised pewter collectibles.
The National Palace
The National Palace, also known as Istana Negara, was once the official residence of the King of Malaysia, before the establishment of the current official palace located along Jalan Duta. It is designated as the Royal Museum and contains an enviable collection of royal artefacts and priceless collections. Admission to the museum is absolutely free.
For more information or enquiries, please contact Tourism Info Line at 1 300 88 5050 or log on to www.tourism.gov.my.
Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia
No 2, Tower 1, Jlana P5/6, Precint 5,
Tel: +603-8891 8000