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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Insightful stroll in Selangor‘s royal town

Tourists admiring the different kinds of saree materials sold in Klang‘s Little India. — Photos: SAM THAM and IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

Tourists admiring the different kinds of saree materials sold in Klang‘s Little India. — Photos: SAM THAM and IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

Visitors from near and far can now better appreciate Klang’s rich cultural and historical heritage through the Royal Klang Town Heritage Walk.

The walk offers free guided tours of Klang on weekends but thanks to the many signage, those who prefer to walk around at their own pace can do so too.

Tourism Selangor has put up signboards at key buildings along the heritage route, giving brief descriptions of the buildings and pointing out interesting features.

There is nothing like learning from a local, which is why StarMetro decided to tag along with a group of tourists during their guided tour led by freelance tour guide Alex Raj.

The tour aims to give visitors an insight into the town’s development, the history of Selangor’s royal family as well as key milestones of British rule.

The tour began at 9.15am but because of Malaysia’s hot and humid weather, Tourism Selangor should ideally start the walk by 8am.

Alex explained that the royal town began on the southern bank of Sungai Kelang – an important centre in the production of tin.

The Klang Fire Station is a popular photo opportunity among tourists.
The Klang Fire Station is a popular photo opportunity among tourists.

The walk covered 11 tourist attractions and entry to buildings such as the Royal Klang Club, which was usually off-limits to visitors.

Established in 1901, the Klang Royal Club first hosted informal gatherings of British planters, civil servants and port administrators.

Smugglers Inn, a marine-inspired dining room is a must-see.

Shakespearean plays such as Othello and Midsummer Night’s Dream used to be staged upstairs.

Tourism Selangor general manager Noorul Ashikin Mohd Din said the walk was introduced in 2015 on Saturdays only.

Because of the good response, it is held on Sundays too since July 2016.

Visitors can opt for the guided tours or simply explore the royal town by themselves as there are signboards by Tourism Selangor that give brief descriptions of significant buildings.
Visitors can opt for the guided tours or simply explore the royal town by themselves as there are signboards by Tourism Selangor that give brief descriptions of significant buildings.

“In 2015, 505 visitors registered for the guided tour but last year, the number rose to 721 visitors, she said.

The walk began at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery, built in 1909 and which served as the land and administration office for the British.

Now, the building houses information on the rich history and heritage of the Selangor Sultanate originating in 1766.

Visitors will gain a glimpse into the life of Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah from childhood to his appointment as the 11th Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 2001.

Next, we stopped at the old Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China – Klang’s oldest financial institution.

Designed in the neo-classical style and built in 1874, the wing at the back served as a stable during British times and is linked to the main building by two covered footbridges on the first floor. Now, the renovated building is home to an Indian textile shop.

Istana Alam Shah is generally regarded as the most iconic structure in Klang.

Located on high ground, it was built at the site of Istana Mahkota Puri for the installation of the fifth Sultan of Selangor.

The old Standard Chartered Bank built in 1874 is now a textile shop.
The old Standard Chartered Bank built in 1874 is now a textile shop.

Now, the palace is used for ceremonies such as the royal investiture.

Church of Our Lady of Lourdes was built in 1928 to serve the needs of Catholic Chinese and Indian migrants who settled in Klang for work.

The bronze church bells were contributed by the Standard Chartered Bank manager in December 1928.

The Holy Infant Jesus Sisters from Bukit Nanas in Kuala Lumpur started a school for girls and boys in a small shophouse on Rembau Street in 1924, the previous name of Jalan Tengku Kelana.

Sir William Peel officially opened the Klang Convent School in 1928 in the presence the then Sultan of Selangor Sultan Alauddin Sulaiman Shah.

Little India in Jalan Tengku Kelana was once the main settlement of Chinese tin miners.

This living heritage comprises rows of old, narrow shophouses mostly occupied by Indian traders who sell textile, brassware, gemstones, jewellery, spices, herbs and temple paraphernalia.

The Indian Muslim Mosque in Jalan Tengku Kelana was first built in 1904 to cater to the Indian Muslim community who lived in and around Klang town.

From a small wooden structure, the mosque has undergone several transformations to cater to the growing needs of the community.

One of the structures which has been retained is the five-pointed star window.

The Sri Nagara Thendayuthapani temple was built by the Nattukottai Chettiar merchants.

This ornate Hindu place of worship was the focal point for Indian migrants who came from Tamil Nadu.

The Klang Fire Station was built in 1890 and has maintained its original Victorian-style facade despite undergoing renovations. Today, the building still functions as a fire station.

Gedung Raja Abdullah was built in 1857 on the southern bank of Sungai Kelang as a warehouse to store tin and was also the home of Raja Abdullah, a local chieftain.

This two-storey building is the oldest Malay-built structure in Selangor.

Many government departments such as the police, treasury, post and land office were also housed here.

The walk ended at 1pm and all 15 participants certainly gained a deeper understanding of the rich history of Klang.

Having a knowledgeable local like Alex to lead us was a bonus.

Those interested can register for the walk at the Royal Gallery Sultan Abdul Aziz from 9am.

For details, call 03-5513 2000.

 
 

 

Related story:

Plan to train local authority staff to become tour guides

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , Royal Klang Town , Heritage Walk , tourism

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