Free Dataran Merdeka Heritage Guided Walk

As a Malaysian, we are always proud with our historical buildings in Dataran Merdaka, but how much do you know about the stories of the historical buildings over Merdeka Square? So here come the chance, one day when I was doing my survey on the free walking tour in Europe for my upcoming trip, I found there is a free walking tour available in Kuala Lumpur also. How should I miss it out as a Malaysian? 

so let's have a free walk in Kuala Lumpur!

So I called up the hotline available and made a reservation for myself to join the FREE DATARAN MERDEKA HERITAGE GUIDED WALK on Saturday morning. Let’s make the morning something meaningful! 

A “BATIK” logo right in front of the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery,  which can represent Malaysia proudly in the international podium. We will have more talk about Batik when we had the tour to the National Textile Museum. 

So I spotted a KL hop on and hop off bus, which is a tourist friendly mode of transportation. One of the stop is right in front of Dataran Merdeka, in front of Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Check their website for the route available and the price ( which I think it is not cheap for me haha) 

Next to the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, is the Music Museum, built in year 1919, this is a three-storey symmetrical building with a protruding porch and arches on the ground level expresses Moghul architecture eloquently. Im in love with this kind of European style buildings!! Do you know that Beach Street in Penang do have all these kind of beautiful architecture as well? 

So thanks to Mr Chang my boyfie for fetching me, I reached Kuala Lumpur City Gallery around 8.50am in the morning, which I still had some time to grab a quick breakfast over the 7-11 nearby. Wonder where is the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery? It is the place where “ I love KL” sculpture is  spotted, just next to the field. 

this is the gathering point for the tour. 
I registered myself over the counter in front of the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, and I received a warm welcome by Kak Jasmin, our tour guide of the day. And I met a few foreigners as well!! Okay in fact in the group of 17 people, only 3 of us are Malaysian. I bet most of the local did not know the existence of such a great tour. 

So sharp at 9am, we gathered around in the Kuala Lumpur City Hall. We were given a short briefing about the walk, and we needed to paste the sticker on us, so Kak Jasmin could recognize us easily throughout the tour. There is some information about this walking tour: 

Free Dataran Merdeka Heritage Guided Walk is a free walking tour, which allows participants to discover 11 historical sites around Dataran Merdaka/ Merdeka Square within 2 hours and 30 minutes. This tour started since year 2012, and since then this tour has welcomed participants for 30 countries, with around 10,000 people. Throughout the journey, there will be 2 toilet stops and 1 water stop. The starting point and ending point is Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, ad it is available on every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, from 9am to 11.45am. Kak Jasmin is a very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, so we had an enjoyable trip together on that day!!

our first stop is the history exhibition of Kuala Lumpur in the city gallery. Instead of wall exhibition, the history was recorded on the ceiling, such a creative way isnt it? 
So Kak Jasmin just explained to us the brief history of Kuala Lumpur development, which included some familiar names I got from my Sejarah  text book like Raja Abdullah, Sir Frank Swettenham and Kapitan Yap Ah Loy. kind of nostalgic haha

So can you imagine this is the view of Kuala Lumpur around 100 years ago? which was underdevelopment? the Field in the middle of the pic is the place for the Merdeka Square, and the city gallery was once a small vegetable farm for the local.. 

and something that should not be missed during the visit: 
The largest masterpiece of the Kuala Lumpur City Model 
which is one of the biggest highlight in the city gallery, measuring a mega 40ft x 50ft!!

we enjoyed a 7 minutes short film about the past, present and future developments of Kuala Lumpur, which I just got updated on a few skyscrapers project in Malaysia, one of it is the Menara Warisan Merdeka, estimated to be 644 metre, to take over KLCC tower as the tallest building in Malaysia in 2024. 
I strongly hope that there will be a skywalk available on the top of the tower just like how Macau Tower and Queensland did!!

The miniature model of Kuala Lumpur city
lets us preserve this beautiful city~ 

another amazing miniature model of Dataran Square~
can you spot the I love Kl sculpture here? hehe

The 'sifu' behind the scene, I am lucky enough to get the chance to witness the process of making a miniature model, well it is not easy job at all. 

our 2nd station is the Victorian Fountain, but I did not take any photo of the fountain becoz the beautiful view was spoiled by some event banners around...... I hate it so much when there is something like Bazaar make the things so messy around. 

3rd station: National Textile Museum
built in year 1905, formerly known as Federated Malay States Railway Station and S'gor Works Department
this buidling is distinguishable by its design of alternating red bricks and white plaster, which the local used to call it the ' blood and bandage', well to me,,,,, it looks like red velvet cake!! ( yea becoz I just got one a day before the trip haha) 
it is a Islamic Style facade with raised onion-shaped domes, which is one of the so commonly seen in the mosque architecture in Malaysia. 
It now houses the National Textile Museum, showcasing the origins, development and techniques of local textiles and the role in Malaysia's history. 

If you are a fans of Baba Nyonya, you should be familiar with their famous "manik shoes" made from different colours of beads, purely handmade. And next to the shoes is the beautiful beads collar from our Iban ethnicity in Sarawak. 
If you wish to know more stories on the beautiful beads shoes, don forget to visit the Peranakan Museum in Penang!! 

the beautiful traditional costumes from Nyonya, which they need to learn how to made their own dress and shoes  ( all hand made) before they can get married. Lucky me to be born in this modern era, well I had a very bad sewing skill wuwuwu. 

and not to forget the printing BATIK in Malaysia. I prefer the hand-drawn batik, which they had more vivid colour and the texture of the cloth is more comfortable as it is made of silk ( I owned one baju kurung in hand-drawn batik!) 
How i wish to get a chance to join the hand-drawn batik workshop someday hehe. 
there are some difference between batik in Indonesia and Malaysia, if you wish to get more information, join the tour and Kak Jasmin will reveal it to you! 

next stop, we walked by a bridge behind the museum and had a look on the  "River of Life Project" in Kuala Lumpur, which the government plan to clean up the River Klang and turn into a vibrant commercial area in 10 years time. Once upon a time, Klang River was clean and the river was an essential part of tin-mining transportation from Kuala Lumpur to Port Klang. Unfortunately, the river nowadays is full of mud and rubbish, and I doubt is there any sign of life in the river. 
I sincerely hope that we can give a new life to Klang River, just like how Singapore Clarke Quay did. 

The beautiful Masjid Jamek Mosque from the bridge......
I wish a better scene in the future, I hope this wish will be real someday ( but let's hope for the skywalk first!!) 

Then here we came to the 4th station of the day~ Sultan Abdul Samad Building
becoz the name is so lengthy, we just named it as the "old grandmother" 
guess which building is the " new grandmother" in Kuala Lumpur city?? haha

the laneway of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building
does it looks familiar? ya becoz some of the local tv used to take this place to shoot for some court scene before ma

Hello Sultan Abdul Samad Building!! 
One of the most gorgeous building in Malaysia, the most popular icon on Malaysia postcard, it used to house the "Federated Malay States" administration in 1897, then the high court and supreme court in 1972, and it is now occupied by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. 
This elegant symmetrical brick structure features a 41 metre high clock tower, arched colonnades and copper domes. 

the beautiful Moghul architecture, which build by around 4 millions of bricks. There is a lot of interesting stories about this beautiful building from Kak Jasmin, again, join this tour if you wish to know more!

the beautiful clock tower from the far~ which is a symbol for Kuala Lumpur city as well

do you spotted the key shaped door and windows of the building?

just cant get my eyes away from this beautiful 'old grandmother building' 
Ps: those white tents were so annoying to me that day!! 

this is also the place for us to have the national parade on national day!! don miss it if you plan to visit Malaysia on 31 August. 

The 5th station: Former High Court Building
This two storey building has a Moorish exterior with four tower, which looks a bit different from the other building isnt it. 
something special on the design of the windows of the building, time to spot the difference? Xp

The Masjid Jamek building again from the far away

the 6th station: City Theatre- Panggung Bandaraya
It was designed with a different version of Islamic arches and chhatris ( dome-shaped pavilions) on the roof line. Now it is a home to MUD theatre showing the cultural and historical musical celebrating the spirit of Kuala Lumpur city, which happens twice daily at 3pm and 8.30pm. 
visit to their website at www.mudkl.com for more information!

I was quite amazed with the interior design of the theatre, I never knew that there is such a classic theatre in Malaysia before. 
well we can visit this place for free with the tour!! and have a short rest in this air-conditioned room after being exposed under the hot sun, listen to some scandals from Kak Jasmin. Guess what scandals was??

the look of the theatre. I heard that the MUD show is an interactive theatre with the audience, maybe I should have a try someday too. 

the 7th station~ The Cathedral of St. Mary
This is the first brick church in the Federated Malay State and it is also one of the oldest Anglican Churches in the region, an example of English Gothic style in 19th century. 

Kak Jasmin mentioned many of the ladies fainted during the mass services on Sunday in the church, what had happened? 

the interior view of the cathedral
so from here we can see that this church was quite an enclosed space, well who can withstand the hot weather then? hehe
it looks so different from the cathedral that I visited in Melbourne, the St.Paul Cathedral which is also an Anglican Church. this is a simple and sweet one to me =)) just a nice place for some prayer. 

there is some mysterious stories about St Mary Cathedral, what is it?? get it from Kak Jasmin then hehe

The pipe organ built in 1895 by Henry Willis. there is only 2 pipe organ in Malaysia, one in St Mary Cathedral, and another one in Penang. 
okay as a Penang Lang ( this is how we entitled ourselves whose origin from Penang) I don know where is the hidden pipe organ in Penang!!

and our last station of the day~ Royal Selangor Club
it was established in year 1884, serving as a social and cricket club for the growing expatriate community. Until today, this is still a private club, and we can only enter this club for free together with this walking tour. In the usual days, only members are allowed for entry.....

so we entered the Royal Selangor Club from the side of St Mary Cathedral. 
oh yeah, did I mentioned all the places above are just within walking distance?

here we are!! the mysterious Royal Selangor Club

What a gorgeous view of Sultan Abdul Samad Building from the lounge of the club. 

the cricket field in the Merdeka Square, one of the favorite sports activities in the past. 
how about nowadays? electronic devices...... =..=

One of the rules of the lounge in the Royal Selangor Club~ ladies and children below 18 years are not allowed, and this rules applied until today!
basically this is becoz the guys just want to have a time for their own, free from woman. And there was a funny story about "the spotted dog", as two Dalmatians belonging to the wife of one of the club founders were left to guard the entrance of the club. we could even spotted the photo of the dogs in the lounge!

this is the look of the lounge. although I was not allowed to enter the area but I still can take some photo from the outside, hehe

And here together with Kak Jasmin, the tour guide of the day, thank you so much for the guidance and sharing! she is so knowledgeable and Im pretty sure you will enjoy the tour a lot together with her. 

and don forget the largest flag pole in Malaysia~ right in the corner of Dataran Merdeka. 

then we walked back to Kuala Lumpur City Gallery to have a sip of coffee which is strongly recommended by Kak Jasmin

Free Dataran Merdeka Heritage Guided Walk 
9am-11.45am, every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
starting point: Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
For registration
contact at : 03-26980332
or email at: enquiries@kltourismbureau.com.my

you can grab some souvenirs over here for yourselves too


not to forget some delicious desserts!!
okay they are abit pricey, as a local, I would recommend you to get it somewhere else hehe

after the trip, I had my lunch together with new friends from the tour together, met a lovely couple from USA, 2 cheerful lady from Spain and Ukraine, a couple from Germany ( woops I got some tips from them for my Germany trip soon hehe)  and many more. thank you for making my day!!
so we went to the Restaurant Tajudin just behind the central market, recommended by Soh, another local like me

what I can say is they really serve one of the best Nasi Briyani in the town at affordable price. 
it costs me around RM8 for a plate of rice like this don miss it out to eat like a local

After the lunch, we went to central market to grab some Batik as souvenirs ( not me, but I was playing a role for bargaining for my new friends haha. usually they will offer at a cheaper price when you speak like a local, you definitely need a local accent !) 

the beautiful 'anyaman' 

I love the tiles in the central market so much

the look of the central market

so many beautiful batik in the shoplots
I could say that central market is one of the best place to grab some souvenirs. 

okay here I end my story. 
thanks for the reading ^^ 

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1 comment:

  1. Hye there Celine, nice blog and a very complete informative one bout the dataran merdeka heritage guided tour. I'm gonna go there and try to experience it myself and hoping it's gonna be awesome like what you had. Keep up the good job! More blogs to come.

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