The Dataran Merdeka
(formerly the Selangor Club Padang) was once the focal point, and
cricket green, of the British colonial presence in Malaysia. Like the
surviving Dutch buildings in Malacca, the structures edging the Dataran
Merdeka are startling testimony to colonial residents' desire to
recreate the physical environment of their native land. Situated on one
corner of the square is the Selangor Club, which once served as the
social centre for British residents. Although its membership today
reflects Malaysia's remarkable cultural diversity, the building itself
is plucked from the merry old England of the Tudors. Close by is St
Mary's Cathedral, a neo-Gothic church more than a hundred years old.
Appropriately enough, it
was on the Dataran Merdeka that at 12:01 am on August 31, 1957, the
Union Jack was lowered and the Malayan flag hoisted, signaling
Malaysia's independence as a nation. A 100-meter flagpole, one of the
tallest in the world, marks the spot. Beneath the Dataran Merdeka is the
Plaza Putra, an underground food, leisure, and entertainment complex,
which houses the Putra Indoor Golf Centre, the first Par-T-Golf in the
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
gleaming copper domes and 130-meter clock tower of the Sultan Abdul
Samad Building are by far the most impressive architectural feature of
the Dataran Merdeka. This elaborate edifice is a fantastic blend of
Moghul, Moorish, Arab, and British neoclassical architecture, a style
far more expressive of the British colonial imagination than of Malay
culture. Designed by architects Norman and Bidwell, the building took
more than two years to build and was completed in 1897. It served
initially as the center of British colonial administration in Malaysia.
Today, it houses the Judicial Department on one end and Infokraf, a
centre for Malaysian handicrafts, on the other.
Carcosa Seri Negara
Perched on a hilltop overlooking
the Lake Gardens is Carcosa Seri Negara, a pair of nineteenth-century
British colonial mansions. The Carcosa Seri Negara was the residence of
the British Governor and British High Commissioners. Today, it has been
converted into an exclusive hotel.
Standing on elevated ground
commanding a panoramic view of the Lake Gardens is the modern Parliament
House. The main building and its adjoining tower block accommodate the
two houses of Parliament, a banquet hall, library, various offices and
committee rooms. Visitors may view Parliamentary sessions by prior
arrangement with the authorities, who will advise on protocol and dress
The official residence of the
Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (The King), located on a hillock at Jalan Istana.
The palace is surrounded by green lawns, ponds and trees. On ceremonial
occasions, the palace and its grounds are gaily lit-up.
The massive white modern complex
of the famously expensive Dayabumi Complex was designed to blend in with
the pervading Moorish and Byzantine atmosphere of the structures that
surround it. The complex houses a shopping arcade, City Point, offices
and the General Post Office.
Pak Ali's House
Located at the 10 km mark along
Jalan Gombak. Designed in a unique blend of Sumatran and Persk
architecture, the house was built early in this century by Haji Abbas
bin Haji Abu Bakar, a headman of the Gombak village. The house is
divided in to five main sections according to the traditional lifestyle
of village folks. Open daily: 9am-5pm
National Zoo and Aquarium
Thirteen kilometers north-east of
Kuala Lumpur is the National Zoo. It contains hundreds of different
species of animals, birds, and reptiles. The aquarium has an extensive
collection of marine and freshwater species. Both the Zoo and Aquarium
are open daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission: RM5 (Adult), RM2 (Child).
Lumpur Railway Station
Located at Jalan Hishamuddin,
this Moorish-style terminal was designed by architect A.B. Hubbock, who
also designed the Masjid Jam. Built in 1910, it underwent extensive
renovations in 1986. It is equipped with air-conditioned waiting halls,
snack kiosks, money changing booths, souvenir shops, restaurants and a
tourist information counter. Across the street is the Malayan Railway
Administration Building, another fine example of the British colonial
adaptation of Moorish architecture. It is linked to the station by an
Fifty years ago this site was
occupied by a wet market. Today, the art-deco structure of the Central
Market is a centre for the display and development of Malaysian culture,
arts and crafts. There are many performances, demonstrations, and
activities offered here, including batik painting, fortune telling,
shadow puppet plays, glass blowing, dance classes, art classes, and many
others. The building won the Coronation Architecture Design Award in
Located at Jalan Tun Razak. The
blue-roofed building was inspired by a tengkolok, the traditional Malay
headgear, and songtet, a richly-designed brocade fabric. The library is
a very recent addition to Kuala Lumpur, having opened only in 1992. The
extensive holdings include a collection of publications on Malaysia by
Malaysian authors as well as ancient Malay manuscripts. Open: 1Oam-5pm
(Sat-Sun), Closed on Monday.
of Kuala Lumpur's original Chinatown. Petaling Street maintains much of
its traditional atmosphere, particularly at night when vendors spread
their wares out on the street. While it is possible to purchase anything
from gems and incense to toys and t-shirts here, enjoying the night
market is really a matter of just wandering about and enjoying its
sights, sounds, and energy.
Lumpur Lake Gardens
Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana) dates to the 1880s and is the city's
most popular park. Built around an artificial lake, it encompasses 91.6
hectares of undulating greenery interspersed with flowering shrubs,
shady trees, exceptional botanical gardens, and other notable features.
The Panggung Anniversary, set in a secluded valley, is a regular venue
for musical and cultural performances. There is a children's playground,
jogging tracks, exercise stations, and rowing boats. Among the notable
gardens and places of interest in the Gardens are the following:
The Orchid Garden
more thousands of international varieties of the most beautiful flower
in the world. The garden contains over 800 species from Malaysia alone.
Orchids are for sale on weekends (10am-6pm).
The Hibiscus Garden
A small terraced garden
which provides a strikingly colourful panorama of countless varieties of
Park houses some 6,000 butterflies of over 120 species. The park is an
imitation of the butterfly's natural habitat. It includes more than
15,000 plants from 100 species that have been used to recreate a
Malaysian rainforest atmosphere. There is a nursery and breeding area
for the butterflies. Visiting hours are from 9am to 5 pm on weekdays.
Admission fees are RM4 for adults and RM2 for children.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park,
the largest bird park in South-East Asia, holds thousands of birds
representing nearly every major species of this part of the world. Open
from 9am - 6pm daily except public holidays.
within the Lake Gardens, one of the world's largest freestanding bronze
sculptures. The monument commemorates those who died in Malaysia's
struggle against Communist insurgency in the 1950s. Beside the National
Monument are the ASEAN Gardens and the Memorial Tun Razak, which houses
memorabilia of Malaysia's second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul
The Deer Park
Located in the
undulating slopes and sprawling valley of the Lake Gardens. Close to the
bubbling stream at the edge of the valley are several mousedeer. The
mousedeer is the world's smallest hoofed animal and a popular figure in
local folklore due to its legendary wit. Open: 9am-5pm (Daily) Admission
Institute of Malaysia (FRIM).
An area once used for
mining is now a sprawling forest science park. FRIM contains several
experimental plant arboreta as well as extensive reforested areas, which
have reverted to the semblance of natural forest conditions. Located in
Kepong, km north-west of Kuala Lumpur, the Institute includes jungle
trails, waterfalls, a herbarium, a library and a museum. Since it is not
a public park, all visitors should forward advanced written application
Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM)
Locked Bag 210, Jalan FRI Kepong, 52109 Kepong, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-6342633 / Fax: 03-6367753
Tourist Information Complex (MATIC)
A good place to begin any visit
to Kuala Lumpur is the one-stop information centre, which provides a
general picture of what the city and Malaysia have to offer.
Audio-visual equipment provides background information on each state in
the country. You can book a tour, arrange to go on a trishaw ride in the
city, change your money, and book air or bus tickets to various
destinations in Malaysia. International calls, facsimile and telex
services are also offered. For your first taste of Malaysian cuisine,
there is a restaurant in the right wing of the building. Cultural
performances are held daily. Admission Fee: RM2.00 (Adult) RMl.00
The National Museum, located atop
a hill at Jalan Travers, provides an interesting introduction to the
history and culture of Malaysia. Built in the style of a Malay palace,
its impressive facade of two large murals depicts scenes of the
country's colourful past. The museum houses various galleries, each with
its own theme. The Historical Gallery traces the different periods in
the history of Peninsular Malaysia. The Cultural Gallery is a collection
of various aspects of the Malaysian culture, from common everyday
pastimes to important ceremonial customs. Included in the exhibits are a
Malay wedding scene, a royal circumcision ceremony, and an presentation
on the heritage of the Straits-born Chinese. The Metalwork and Musical
Instruments Gallery showcases various objects and utensils from
kitchenware and ceremonial ornaments to weapons and traditional
instruments of Malaysian music. Other galleries include the National
Sports Gallery and the Natural History Gallery. The National Museum also
holds regular thematic exhibitions. Visiting hours are from 9am-6pm
daily.The entrance fee is RM1.
Natural Rubber Museum
Located at the Rubber Research
Institute's Experimental Station in Sungai Buloh, the Rubber Research
Museum traces the history and development of the rubber industry in
Malaysia. Visitors get to see what a rubber estate looks like and how it
National Art Gallery
Located at Jalan Sultan
Hishamuddin (opposite The Kuala Lumpur Railway Station), the National
Art Gallery is housed in a 1932 building which is conserved under the
National Heritage Trust. The building was formerly the Majestic Hotel.
The art gallery showcases a the works of contemporary artists, and a
permanent collection of works of local and foreign origin are also
displayed. The National Art Gallery is open from 10am to 6pm daily
(closed on Friday from 12:45-2.45 pm) Admission is free.
The National Planetarium
Located atop a hill in the Lake
Gardens, this centre for Space Science Studies is indicative of
Malaysia's efforts to create a scientifically and
technologically-inclined society. It is also a fun way to spend an
afternoon. A Space and Sky Movie is screened daily. There is also a
working observatory equipped with a 14-inch telescope. The National
Planetarium is open from Wednesday to Sunday. Admission fees (excluding
Space and Sky Movie fee) are RM3 for adults and RM2 for child under 12.
Museum Of The
Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli
to Short Tour
The department has set up the
museum for Orang Asli which is situated at KM24, Jalan Pahang, Gombak,
Selangor Darul Ehsan. The building was orginally the home of the former
Director to General of the Affairs. In 1995, construction of a new
building for the museum began. It was completed in 1998 and its
was officiated by the King, His Majety, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz
Shah Al Haj, on the 2nd of March, 2000.
To document the past of the Orang Asli as
part of history.
To collect all objects and materials
significant to the culture and life of the Orang Asli from various
tribes in Peninsular Malaysia for future generation.
As a source of research.
Who are the Orang Asli
The orang Asli are considered to be part of
the natives of this country. There are about 116, 119, people
altogether and they are divided into three main tribes which are the Negritoes, Senoi and the Proto Malay. Each tribe is devided into 6
smaller tribes and they speak different dialect, apart from the local
Clothes are materials used to cover the
private parts of both the male and the female. Originally, their clothes
were made of leaves and the outer layer of wood. Technology and
development have existed for a long time in the Orang Asli and this is
evident from the process of making clothes from wood with its very high
Jewelleries are used to attract the males.
Some jewelleries are made of tree roots, beads and flowers which are
then designed to form bracelets, necklace, comb and others.
Music forms part of their lives. It is
used as a form of entertainment. It is also used in treating
patients to accompany songs or religious rites given by traditional
medicine-man or witch-doctors during treatment. Basically, their
music is produces using instruments that need to be drummed or hit like
the "gong", blown like the "pensol" or violin-like instruments like "kentong-kentong".
The Wedding Ceremony Of The Orang Asli
The Orang Asli have unique wedding rituals
but at the same time, there are certain elements of their wedding
rituals which are similar to the Malay wedding like 'merisik' in which
the groom's representatives inquire about the prospective bride's
availability and willingness for marriage. ' Meminang' in which the
groom's representatives formally ask for the prospective bride's hand in
marriage and the wedding ceremony itself. Some of the unique
wedding rituals that are still being practised by the Mahmeri in Kampung
Tanjung Sepat are rituals to get rid of bed luck, sharpening the teeth,
setting up the mosquito net, colouring the fingernails, the dancing
ceremony and the ritual where they bathe the bride and groom.
Wood Carving and Crafts
Wood carving and crafts are the products of
the Orang Asli creativity based on nature and their beliefs, especially
in weaving of mengkuang and pandan leaves,.bamboo and cane. In wood
carving, all creations depend on imagination and dream that depict good
or evil forces which are related to their believes an lifestyles.
Most of the Orang Asli still believe in the
power of spirits who are said to be their source of help in time of
need. Traditional medicine-men or witch-doctors act as a medium to
communicate with the invisible powers. This communication process
in carried out during rituals on special days such as 'Genggulang' for
the Mahmeri, 'Sewang' for the Semai and Temiar and 'Berjerom' for the
Blow-pipe are the traditional weapon of the
Orang Asli. Usually, they are made of bamboo and wood. The most suitable
kind of bamboo for the body is the 'sewor' because of its structure and
it can be found easily in the Peninsular.
The blow-pipe is actually made-up of two
layers of bamboo. The inside layer had a diameter between 1 to 2
cm. The blowing point can be made of wood or the beak of a
hornbill. Both the blowing point and the body of the blow-pipe are
usually decorated with attractive designs. The 'traditional
bullets' used together with the blow-pipe are soaked in poison extracted
from either the 'Ipoh Tree' or a kind of plat called 'Streyehros Ganus'.
The Orang Asli use many different types of
hunting weapons that are basically made of materials available around
them. The weapons include blow-pipes, spears and traps.
Fishing equipments includes 'bubu', 'lukah', 'tuai' and others. At
present, these tools are still being used especially by the Orang Asli
living in remote areas.
Hunting and fishing are also part of their
economic activities. Hunting is normally carries out only by the men.
The tools that they need for hunting could be found in the forest. They
hunt monkeys, wild boars, birds, squirrels and other small animals as
their source of food. Apart from blow-pipes, they also use traps.
Water transportation used by communities
living in the river edges, and lakes such as bamboo rafts, small boats.
These means of transportation are also used for fishing, hunting and
other necessary transportation usage.
The traditional economy for the Orang Asli
is farming for living as opposed to commercial farming. Among
others, they produce corn, bananas, sweet potatoes and various kinds of
vegetables such as long beans, cucumber and ladies fingers. The
Orang Asli exchange food, services and other products amongs themselves
and this was done based on sharing and the barter system. This
economical system helped to foster a warmer kind of relationship among