Best destinations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In this neighbourhood of traditional Malay wooden houses, village life unfolds despite the surrounding skyscrapers. Gazetted by the British in 1899, Kampung Baru's low-slung charms are best revealed by simply wandering its streets, ideally with a guide on the city's free Kampung Baru walking tour. Along the way enjoy tasty home-cooked Malay food at unpretentious roadside cafes and stalls.
A stroll in the area could be combined with a visit to Bazaar Baru Chow Kit to the west. Also pause to take a look at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru, founded in the 1880s but recently rebuilt, with its gateway decorated with beautiful glazed tiles. Explore the streets around here at the junction with Jln Daud to find many old wooden houses.
Sin Sze Si Ya Temple
Kuala Lumpur's oldest Chinese temple (1864) was built on the instructions of Kapitan Yap Ah Loy and is dedicated to Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya, two Chinese deities believed instrumental in Yap's ascension to Kapitan status. Several beautiful objects decorate the temple, including two hanging carved panels, but the best feature is the almost frontier-like atmosphere.
Fortune-telling sticks are provided for devotees; just rattle the pot until a stick falls out, then find the paper slip corresponding to the number on the stick. Staff will translate the fortune on the slip for RM1. On your way out, note the two old wooden sedan chairs used to carry the deity statues during religious processions.
Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park
This 173-hectare lush, the landscaped park is also known, and more aptly described, by its colonial-era moniker: the Lake Gardens. This is KL's largest green space, and you can spend hours exploring the rolling terrain. The top sight is the sprawling Bird Park, but there are others worth checking out nearby, including two of KL's best museums – the National Museum and the Islamic Arts Museum – connected by a stroll through flower gardens and alongside the lake. There's also an excellent children's adventure playground.
Islamic Arts Museum
Inhabiting a building every bit as impressive as its collection, this museum showcases Islamic decorative arts from around the globe. Scale models of the world's best Islamic buildings, fabulous textiles, carpets, jewellery and calligraphy-inscribed pottery all vie for attention; the 19th-century recreation Damascus Room is a gold-leaf-decorated delight. Don't forget to gaze up at the building's intricate domes and tile work.
Also on site is a good Middle Eastern restaurant and one of KL's best museum gift shops, with handmade gifts and excellent books on Islamic art.
Titiwangsa Lake Gardens
For a postcard-perfect view of the city skyline, head to Lake Titiwangsa and the relaxing tree-filled park that surrounds it. If you’re feeling energetic, hire a motor boat, go for a jog, hire a bike, play some tennis or even go for a spin in a helicopter. The park is a favourite spot for courting Malaysian couples. It's a 10-minute walk east of the monorail station.
To be continued…
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