Discover Old Kuala Lumpur - Kuala Lumpur
If you’ve already explored the bright new side of Kuala Lumpur, it’s time to take a step back in time and see its great roots. Hence, Trip Guru recommends spending a day in and around Merdeka Square, and in particular, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.
A sprawling patch of green, Merdeka Square or Dataran Merdeka is one of the most important public spaces in the Malaysian capital. After all, it is the site where the country’s independence was declared in 1957. Across it is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, built in 1897 and popular for its Moorish-inspired architecture. Today, the building houses the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Culture of Malaysia. Around these two noteworthy sites are a number of other attractions, such as the National Textile Museum, the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, and the National Library; all to the south of the square. Vestiges of Malaysia’s colonial past—the invite-only Royal Selangor Club and St. Mary’s Cathedral, an Anglican church—are just to the west and north of the square. Meanwhile, to the north of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is the Panggung Pandaraya theater, at the corner of Jalan Tun Perak. Here, travelers can get an entertaining backgrounder on Kuala Lumpur’s history by catching MUD: The Musical. And round the corner from the theater is the Jamek Mosque. Built in 1909, it was once the main mosque of the city.
Truly, a walk around the area is a must for anyone interested in history. For example, the area around Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is home to several well-preserved heritage buildings; the last few timeless reminders of Malaysia’s storied past. Travelers are also advised to get a copy of the original KL Walks & Tours Map for free at the Gallery. On the other hand, since the square is quite big, travelers are advised to wear comfortable shoes and a hat to protect them from the sun. Those visiting Jamek Mosque are also advised to wear modest clothing and/or borrow a cover-up from the mosque management.
To reach the area, travelers can simply take the LRT to Masjid Jamek station and walk northwest along Jalan Tun Perak. They will eventually reach Panggung Pandaraya, where they can then turn left to reach Merdeka Square. Best to visit the area early on a weekday morning to avoid the crowds and the harsh sun.