KUALA LUMPUR -- From its modest beginnings as a small settlement at
the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia's capital, has evolved into a bustling metropolis and is
the country's top tourist destination.
The city boasts a fascinating skyline of old and new buildings,
yet retains the ambience of a garden city with its attractive
landscaping, lush green spaces and public parks.
The best way to gain an insight into the city's past and present
is to take a walking tour, beginning at its most famous landmark,
the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which overlooks the Dataran
Merdeka, or Merdeka Square.
The Dataran Merdeka is a significant historical site unto
itself, as it was here the British Union Jack was lowered for the
last time when Malaysia gained its independence on Aug. 31,
A 300-foot-high flagpole, one of the tallest in the world, marks
the historic spot.
The following sites and attractions are well worth a visit.The Sultan Abdul Samad Building was constructed in 1897 to
house the various administrative departments of the British
government. The Moorish-style building houses the Supreme and High
courts and Infokraf, a center for Malaysian handicrafts.Enabling visitors to discover the wealth of Malaysia's
historical heritage is the National Museum of History, which is
situated in a former commercial bank building dating back to
Exhibits include an eight-sided coin dating to the 15th century,
a 520 million-year-old metamorphic sandstone and a 40,000-year-old
human skull.Even if you don't have to hop a train, the Kuala Lumpur Railway
Station is worth a visit. Built in 1910, the Moorish-influenced
building was restored to its original grandeur in 1986. The
building houses the Heritage Hotel, which recreates the ambience of
pre-independence Malaysia.The Textile Museum showcases the rich heritage of Malaysia's
arts and crafts. It is located at the junction of Jalan Sultan
Hishamuddin and Lebuh Pasar Besar, a short walk from the Dataran
Among the exhibits are those on the art of batik making and
textiles of historical significance.Located along Jalan Tun HS Lee, the Sri Mahamariaman Temple is
one of the most elaborate Hindu temples in the country, with
hundreds of intricate carvings of Hindu deities.
Built in 1873, Italian and Spanish tile cover the walls of the
interior. Lucky visitors might catch a glimpse of a traditional
Hindu wedding or pooja (prayer ritual).Created in the 1880s, the Taman Tasik Perdana, or the Lake
Gardens, is the city's most popular park.
It features a children's playground, jogging trails, exercise
stations and rowing. The Panggung Anniversari, set in a secluded
valley within the park, is the venue for musical and cultural
performances.Located at the fringe of the Taman Tasik Perdana along Jalan
Travers is the National Museum.
Designed to resemble a Malay palace, the building's facade
features two large murals, each reflecting a scene of Malaysian
history and crafts.
The museum houses several galleries containing collections of
paintings, crafts, weapons, local fauna and flora, and old
currencies. Outdoor exhibits include vintage locomotives and
replicas of ancient Malay palaces.The Thean Hou Temple, located on a hill overlooking Jalan Syed
Putra, is considered one of the largest Chinese temples outside
The temple has interesting architecture composed of celestial
dragons and other mythical creatures.