KUALA LUMPUR has many museums and exploring them all may take some time. If, like me, you prefer your attractions and museums to be free, you’ll be delighted with Kuala Lumpur, as although a few have a very small admission charge, the rest are free to enter.
Deciding which to visit can be a challenge, however if you miss some on your first visit it just gives you an excuse to return to Kuala Lumpur! Here are some of my favourites.
Jalan Damansara, tel. (03) 2267-1111, open 9am-6pm daily
This is the first place I recommend you visit. It is considered a “must see” in Kuala Lumpur and indeed is the most interesting museum I’ve been to in Malaysia. Surprisingly many people come here just to see the building as it was constructed using traditional Malay style and methods. Before you enter don’t miss the breath-taking murals positioned outside.
Royal Custom Museum. (Pic: Tourism Malaysia)
Once you venture inside you will be blown away with the number of exhibits that take you on a journey through the nation’s history via traditional costumes, jewelry and transportation.
Level 4, Suria KLCC, PETRONAS Twin Towers, tel. +603 2331 8181, open Tues-Fri 9:30am-5:30 pm, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday 9:30am-6:30pm.
You might not normally consider visiting a museum sponsored by an oil company but believe me it’s not boring. Petrosains is a dedicated science centre developed by Malaysia’s National Oil Company as an educational centre for local people – but tourists are very welcome. There are hundreds of exhibits here explaining how petroleum has been produced since the dinosaurs roamed. There is also a detailed display demonstrating what life onboard an oil rig is like.
Bank Negara Money Museum
Central Bank of Malaysia, Jalan Dato’ Onn, tel. +603-9179-2888, open 10am-6pm.
If you’re interested in money, the Bank Negara Money Museum is the place to come. Here there are thousands of different currencies with displays of coins, notes, tokens and commemorative coins you may have never seen. One of the most fascinating displays is the collection of items such as shells, ingots and silver bars that have all been used as money at one time.
Sungai Lembing Museum. (Pic: Tourism Malaysia)
Jalan Lembah Perdana, tel. +603 2274 2020
Within the grounds of the National Museum is the Malay World Gallery that showcases a collection of the finest and most uncommon exhibits associated with Malay history and civilisation. These are sourced from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia.
26 Jalan Delima Off Jalan Imbi, tel. +603-2142-9648
This is my partners’ favorite museum because it’s like entering a treasure trove of jade artefacts and ornaments. In some cultures jade is hailed as ‘the stone of heaven’ and is purported to have mystical and healing powers. This museum displays a collection of antique items and accessories such as brooches, rings, earrings and necklaces. Visitors can also view pieces of raw jade taken from boulders. Gifts and souvenirs, at exceptionally low prices, are available for purchase from the museum shop. Like so many Malaysian museums, admission is free.
National Telecommunications Museum
Jalan Raja Chulan, tel. +603-2031-9966, open Mon-Sun 9am-6pm.
Now this sounds unusual but I do recommend the National Telecommunications Museum (known as the “Telekomuzium”) because there’s a lot to see in such a technologically advanced country. This museum showcases 120 years of telecommunications development, from the earliest days of the Morse Code telegraph to the Internet.
Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum
Jalan Lapangan Terbang Lama, tel. +603-2141 1133, open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Sat 8am-5pm, Sun 10am-5pm.
This place is a great way to spend an afternoon. It contains several different exhibits documenting British occupation and there are plenty of model aircrafts to examine for those into old aircraft. Kids will also love the models.
Royal Malaysian Police Museum
No. 5 Jalan Perdana, tel. 03-2272 5689, open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm.
This free museum gives a fascinating insight into the history of the local police service. The staff are also very happy to talk to you about the exhibits.
Museum Negeri Terenggau. (Pic: Tourism Malaysia)
Jalan Lembah Perdana, tel. +603-2274-2020
I rather suspect you’ll be surprised as I was when you see the sheer scale and size of this museum! The Islamic Arts Museum provides an interesting look at some of the amazing pieces of art which have been produced in the Middle East. The exhibits are diverse and include over seven thousand different artefacts, including Islamic books and pieces of jewelry. There are 12 galleries within this building, all displaying different pieces from several regions.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about travelling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia website