MENARA KUALA LUMPUR
The Menara Kuala Lumpur, which soars at 421m above sea-level, is the tallest telecommunications tower in Asia, and the city skyline, the Menara Kuala Lumpur, or KL Tower as it is sometimes called, affords a breath-taking panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur from its observation deck at the base of the bulbous portion at the tower’s top.
The foyer has the expected souvenir shop as well as a money-changer, a post-office counter, a fast-food restaurant and a video-room screening an informative film on the construction of the KL Tower.
Above the observation deck is Seri Angkasa, a revolving restaurant which must surely qualify as one of the city’s most striking venues for dining. However, entry is by prior booking arrangements only.
SRI MAHA MARIAMMAN TEMPLE
Located in the heart of Chinatown between two Buddhist temples, is Kuala Lumpur’s principal Hindu shrine, the Sri Maha Mariamman temple.
Originally constructed in 1873 by Tamil immigrants and named after the Hindu deity, Mariamman, believed to provide protection against sickness and unholy incidents, the temple was significantly renovated in the 1960s. Sculptors from India were commissioned to adorn the five tiers of the now magnificent gate-tower with idols and gold embellishment, precious stones and exquisite tiles.
This ornate, South-Indian Hindu shrine is an arresting sight, all the more for its incongruent setting in the heart of this Chinese enclave.
The most recent pride of the national is Putrajaya, a meticulously planned and futuristic city intended to be Malaysia’s paperless seat of government. Situated just 25km outside Kuala Lumpur within the Multimedia Super Corridor, Putrajaya was designed to be a high-tech township in line with former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir’s vision of the new Malaysia.
Also known as Malaysia’s Garden City Intelligent City’, this former oil palm plantation is surrounded by lush, breathtaking greenery, botanical gardens and parks, and magnificent lakes and wetlands amidst glorious avant-garde architecture.
From the uniquely shaped street lamps that line the wide roads to the majestic Putra Mosque, the imposing Perdana Putra Complex which houses the Prime Minister’s Office, the unique twin-decked Putra Bridge, the spherical Putrajaya Convention Centre and Dataran Putra ( Putra Square ), Putrajaya is a glorious sight to behold.
Its grandiose union of ultra-modern technology and outstanding natural beauty cannot be clearly reflected in mere words or pictures. To fully grasp the wonder that is Putrajaya, a visit to the benchmark of Malaysian technology and progress is in order.
KUALA LUMPUR BIRD PARK
Home to more than 3000 birds from over 160 different species, the Kuala Lumpur Birds Park is the world’s largest covered aviary. Modeled after Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park, most of the birds are free-flying except for raptors and certain species which are housed in confined display areas.
One of the highlights of the Bird Park is the hornbill section, where one is treated to 10 different species of these large black and white winged creatures with prominent beaks and glorious tails unique to East Malaysia.
The Deer Park will appeal especially to children. The highlight of the park is the mousedeer, the smallest species of deer in the world, which is the size of an average cat. It is an extremely timid creature so one would have to be on a keen lookout to steal a glance of it amidst the shrubbery.
The Butterfly Park houses more than 6000 butterflies from over 120 different species in their natural habitat. As part of the attraction, there is also a museum that contains thousands of preserved Malaysian insects, reptiles and amphibians.
HIBISCUS AND ORCHID GARDEN
Flowers are a national treasure in Malaysia. Blessed with a consistent tropical climate throughout the year, Malaysia possesses the ideal conditions for flora and flourish. The Hibiscus and Orchid Gardens, which lie in the heart of the Lake Gardens and are, a celebration of the glory of tropical flora found in Malaysia.
The Hibiscus ( Bunga Raya ) is the national flower of Malaysia and appears on the back of Malaysian coin. The Hibiscus garden forest several species of the ruby red bloom.
The Orchid Garden treasures over 800 varieties of orchids from around the world. While the gardens may not be grand, the plants in themselves are picture of majesty.
SULTAN ABDUL SAMAD BUILDING
Overlooking the Merdeka Square is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Constructed in 1897 to house the British administration’s government offices, this Moorish-style building with its 40m high clock tower, curved colonnades, copper cupolas and fairy light (at night) is now the Malaysia High Court. Unfortunately, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is NOT open to public, although it can be used as a picturesque backdrop for a personal portrait.
The National Mosque, known as Masjid Negara, is set 5ha of landscaped gardens opposite Jalan Hishamuddin, north of the old train station. One of Southeast Asia’s largest mosque, the National Mosque was completed in 1965 and has since become the central pillar of the Muslim faith in Malaysia.
An imposing presence of white, rectangular marble bisected by pools of water with a 73m high minaret of geometric lattice-work surging upwards from the centre of the pool, crowned by a majesty dome adorned with 18 points signifying the 5 pillars of Islam and the 13 states of Malaysia, the National Mosque is truly a magnificent sight to behold.
The Istana has a 6-hole golf course, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a lake in the far end of the grounds. The garden has many rare species of Malaysian orchids. The V.I.P. entrance is at West Wing and leads to the audience chamber called “Bilek Mengadap”. In this green carpeted room, the Rulers, the Prime Minister and V.I.P.’s are received in audiences by His Majesty.
The Throne Room is also in the West Wing on the first floor and is used on very formal occasions such as the Mengadap Ceremony on His Majesty’s Birthday or when foreign ambassadors present their credentials. This room also serves as a Prayer Room during the Puasa month. Their Majesties’ private quarters adjoins the Throne Room.
The Blue is in the East Wing also on the first floor. This is another audience chamber where His Majesty receives Heads of States, Ambassadors and V.I.P.’s. In the Palace grounds there is a Guard House for a squad of Household Troops. The Changing of the Guard is often witnessed by visitors every Tuesday. The Istana is also used for the Rulers’ Conference, various Federal ceremonies, investitures and banquets.
NATIONAL MONUMENT ( war monument )
Erected in remembrance of those who died for the cause of peace and freedom. There are 7 bronze figures made in 3½ times life size and total weigh of the group is 14½ tons.
The two dead figures are terrorists and the rest, Malaysian Security Forces in uniform. The soldier holding a Malaysian flag is not armed and he symbolized leadership, unity and strength. The soldier helping his comrade shows humanity, and the other two with weapons symbolize vigilance and gallantry.
The flowers in the fountain are pewter water lilies. In the crescent-shaped pavilion is a plinth on which rests a Book of Remembrance. The cenotaph is erected with names of those who were killed during the two world wars and the terrorist insurgency in Malaysia. The whole Monument represents the triumph of the force for democracy over the force of evil.
Building is designed similar to the architectural style of an old Malay house – Minangkabau architecture. The 2 giant murals cost $135,000 and were donated by the late Dr. Lee Kong Chian, former Chancellor of the University of Singapore. Each measures 115 feet long – one depicts the sequence of historical episodes and the other, a selection of Malaysian crafts.
There are 4 galleries – Culture, Natural History, Malaysian Industries, and History and Aborigines. Cameras are to be placed at the counter. Permission must be obtained for picture taking
STADIUM MERDEKA ( Independence Square )
Meaning “Independence Stadium”, it is of historic importance because the declaration of the Independence of Malaya on 31st August 1957 and the Proclamation of Malaysia on 16th September 1963 was held here. For outdoor games eg. Soccer, athletics, hockey etc. It is the venue of many national and international sporting events such as the SEA Games and Annual Merdeka Soccer Tournament. This is also a ceremonial parade ground for official foundations. It also has been the venue for the International Koren Reading competitions held annually with Muslim participants from other countries. Seating capacity 40,000. in 1974 extensions were made to increase the seating capacity to 55,000.
An indoor stadium built with a 2-tiered saucer-shaped suspension roof, has a seating capacity of 10,200. The 2 murals at the entrance depict the cultural dances of the various races and the main industries in Malaysia. It has been the venue for many international sports competitions – for indoor games, such as badminton, table tennis and basketball and also for staging many concerts and variety shows. The built-in facilities are suitable for conventions, seminars, and other meetings. It is also ideal for exhibitions.
One of the city‘s most well-known natural landmarks. Recreation facilities such as boating on the lake, Tasik Perdana , are available. Boats may be rented, from 2pm till 6.30 pm. During weekdays and throughout the day during weekend and holidays.
China Town in Petaling Street where one can get anything and everything Chinese from Food to Crocker. China Town takes on a grand spectacle just before important Chinese Festivals such as the Chinese New Year and the Moon Cake Festival.