Finally, the light weakened and evening arrived. We’ve been walking around Kuala Lumpur for the good part of the afternoon waiting for the glow of the sun to wane and the city lights of KL to take over. What we wanted was to simply see the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which fronts the Merdeka Square, in all its illuminated glory.
From our last visit to Kuala Lumpur, we found a ref magnet bearing the facade of a Big Ben-like building. We really don’t do much research during trips, so we weren’t really surprised to find a sector of KL that we haven’t explored yet. The next day, from Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, where we had another cheap but filling lunch, we set out to find that icon.
A few missed turns and we found it along the Merdeka Square.
The area looked really nice, with intact colonial architecture dominating the cityscape. Wandering aimlessly, we spotted the huge I ♥ KL sign where tourists and locals take non-stop selfies on. Besides that, we found something more interesting, a gallery. And entrance is free! Much, much more interesting!
The Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is a small museum that features what else but Kuala Lumpur! It elaborates on the city’s history and explains how it came to what it is now. Like most museums, you have to read through the photo and replica captions to really appreciate it.
We actually found the museum to be quite interesting, but the one that really stuck with us was the huge diaroma of the city, measuring 40 x 50 feet, that marks the culmination of the tour. The Spectacular City Model Show. They do charge 5.00 RM for it now, but during our visit, it was completely free. Well technically, it’s still free since you can redeem your ticket to buy souvenirs from the gift shop or coffee from their café.
Here, one can see not only the skyline of the city that is, but also the city that it would be.
Notice that super tall structure poking out at the upper middle portion of the scale model? That would be the KL118, a building currently in construction which would eclipse the domination of the Petronas Towers over the city’s skyline. It would soar 2,000 feet high and is scheduled to be completed in 2020.
The museum exits to its gift shop, which is quite remarkable in itself. Rather than prohibiting visitors from touching the artworks on display, they encourage it! Cool eh?
While you can snap all you want all throughout the gallery, it’s not allowed at the gift shop though.
It was still full daylight as we went back out to Merdeka Square. We looked around and saw a really tall flag pole bearing the Malaysian flag. Going closer, we found that the 95-meter high pole was where the country’s flag was first raised after the British ceded control over to the Malaysians in 1957.
With nothing to do but kill time, we went for another walk along the nearby Klang River where the Jamek Mosque is situated. Upon arriving at its gate, we found that it was closed for the day though or something to that effect. We were having a hard time communicating with the guard on duty at the time, so no go on that.
Not wanting to take the same route back, we somehow found ourselves in Jalan Masjid India, KL’s Little India. It was such a surprise for us as we didn’t expect to find it on this corner of the city. We bought a few shawls and found a store selling cheap beers with really outrageous alcohol content.
We each bought a can, one with a 16.8% and another with a 7% alcohol content mark, and went back to the square, toting another bag of chips on the other hand.
And we were just in time. The blue hour arrived the same time we did at the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The Brits built this building with Indian mosques as inspiration. It currently houses the Ministry of Heritage, Culture and Arts but it seemed to be closed off to tourists.
Oh well, we have our twilight photos anyway. And oh yeah, we even got a few cans of crazy beers to show off for our efforts too.
Merdeka Square KL
Address: Jalan Raja, City Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
GPS Coordinates: 3°08'51.8"N 101°41'36.3"E
Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
Open Hours: 9:00AM to 6:30PM Daily
Entrance Fee: Free