5 Off-The-Beaten Track Destinations in KL to Check Out

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If anything, the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is certainly colourful. This kaleidoscope of colour is found all over the city. Of course, every city is unique in its own special way, but there are several out-of-the-way places that make Kuala Lumpur extra unique. Senses explores a few off-the-beaten track destinations that contribute to the city’s unmistakable character.

1. Village Home

MAL7763 Rumah Penghulu Badan Warisan

As any city evolves, the old invariably makes way for the new so it’s refreshing to visit Rumah Penghulu, a traditional old wooden Malay house situated in the grounds of Badan Warisan (Heritage Trust Malaysia). This old headman’s house originates from Kampung Sungai Kechil in Kedah and was relocated to its present position in 1996 where it was restored for all to admire. Like many traditional homes it is made from timber and raised above the ground to, among other things, keep the interior cool. Carved wooden fanlights above the windows provide additional ventilation. It has old Chinese-styled tiles on the roof, half of which are original. Badan Warisan is located at 2 Jalan Stonor opposite the Royale Chulan Hotel and is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, with tours at 11am and 3pm. Visit the website here.

2. City Forest

MAL6694D couple in Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve

While not especially well known, there is a patch of rainforest in the middle of Kuala Lumpur. Tropical jungle once covered much of the country, but development, especially around the capital has ensured that this little green island is about all that remains in KL’s concrete jungle. Just 9.3ha of Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve (or Taman Eko Rimba KL) remains after Menara KL (KL Tower) was erected next to it in the 1990s. The compact reserve is perfect for those who can’t get into Malaysia’s greater expanse of rainforest, and the well-formed trails make it easy to navigate. Admire towering emergent trees and possibly reptiles, monkeys, squirrels, and birds. The reserve is open daily from 9am to 6pm and accessed via the entrance on Jalan Raja Chulan beneath Menara KL. Visit the website here.

3. Art Bank

MAL7766 Bank Negara Museum & Art Gallery

Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery isn’t yet on the well-established tourism trail, but it should be. Visitors can view selected displays of the bank’s collection of mostly Malaysian prints, paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Gallery themes include coins, Islamic finance, economics, and a special handson children’s gallery where Malaysia’s most-recognised cartoonist is staging an exhibition of his works until April 2016. There is a children’s programme, café, and gift shop, and classes are regularly conducted on looking after artwork. The gallery is located on the third floor of Sasana Kijang at 2 Jalan Dato’ Onn with public transport access via the Bank Negara KTM Station. Visit the website here.

4. Font of Knowledge

MAL7115D fountain Dayabumi Building KL

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building on Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin is one of KL’s most visited sites. The ornately decorated, copper-domed building is as grand as the neighbouring padang (Dataran Merdeka) is expansive. A decorative water fountain is located just near the huge flagpole and while the jury is still out on its history, it’s one of the more incongruous features of the KL urban landscape. One school of historical thought suggests it’s the Queen Victoria Fountain erected for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, while the police military school of history suggests it’s the Cop’s Fountain named after Inspector Steve Harper of the Selangor Military Police. Whatever the story, it’s certainly a grand fountain that wouldn’t look out of place on an English common.

5. King’s Residence

Photo credit: Bertrand Duperrin via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND


The ‘new’ King’s residence is known as Istana Negara and was officially inaugurated in November 2011 when it relocated to its new address on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim (formerly Jalan Duta, but now named after the current King of Malaysia). The grand palace is perched high on a hill and covers almost 100ha with its yellow-domed buildings visible from afar. Only those on official business are allowed to enter, although visitors can view the grand arched entrance and the uniformed cavalry officers on horseback.

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Source: Senses of Malaysia November-December 2015

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