By ELIM POON
Want to go on a short break but worried about budget? Not to worry. Often, the incredible, mind-blowing and awe-inspiring experiences can all be found in our backyard. Consider Selangor as an educational holiday destination. The state is home to many historical buildings and sites with important pasts.
Here are five historical attractions to check out, as recommended by Tourism Selangor. These majestic and timeless buildings with rich architectural heritage will transport you back in time, going as far back as the 18th century, and reconnect you with the country’s historical roots.
Begin your journey by visiting the historical wonder that is Bukit Belanda, located north of Bukit Selangor. Fun fact: It was actually the first stronghold of the Dutch in Malaya. Back then, the Dutch – led by Van Brac – in their attempts to defeat Raja Hadi in Teluk Ketapang, had chosen this hill as a stronghold.
Originally, the hill was called Utrecht, the name of the ship steered by Van Brac. It was later changed to its present name.
Kota Raja Mahadi
Swing by Kota Raja Mahadi next, a fort built by Raja Mahadi Ibni Almarhum Raja Sulaiman in 1866. It was well known for its strategic location, specifically the height at which it was located – on top of Bukit Kota in Klang, facing the river.
Kota Raja Mahadi was erected as a defence against Raja Abdullah Ibni Almarhum Raja Jaafar and his men to serve as a point of vigilance (the main reason for its location) for Raja Mahadi in monitoring the enemies’ movement along Sungai Klang.
Rich in historical heritage, the fort or what is left of it, serves as a perpetual reminder of the civil war which took place between the two royals from 1867 and 1874. This was a war that broke out due to the fight for ownership of Sungai Klang, as well as the two riverbanks running alongside it.
The fort is well preserved under the management of the Klang Municipal Council with facilities such as parking and public toilets.
Tan Boon Chia mansion
Make your way to the next bucket-list-worthy place, the Tan Boon Chia mansion. This old and abandoned home used to be owned by Tan Boon Chia, famously known back in the day as one of the founders and pioneers of tin mining in Selangor.
Completed in 1918 with a total of 51 rooms, the impressive structure is located in Ras, Kuala Kubu Baru in Hulu Selangor district. In 1941, during the Japanese invasion, the family fled from the mansion, leaving everything behind.
The sprawling mansion, that sits on roughly 5ha of land, was then seized by the Japanese and used as a place of torture for the Chinese community. The cruel activities only came to a halt after the Japanese had surrendered.
Since then, this evocative building continues to stand as a testament to that dark and bitter point of history. Architectural evidence of that time, like archways engraved with Chinese lettering and plasterwork of floral motifs around pillars, are still very well preserved.
The mansion, now restored to its former glory, in this sense is truly a great instrument for cultivating, in the hearts of the public, the spirit of Merdeka.
Finding it all too bleak and depressing? Head over to Bukit Malawati which is well known for its spectacular and breathtaking views of the coastline of Selangor as well as its remarkable sunset. This is another must-visit tourist spot, near Kuala Selangor.
Here, tourists are able to enjoy the astounding panoramic view of the Straits of Malacca – a wholesome feast for the eyes. On the summit of the mountain lies Kota Malawati, a once-formidable fort built by Sultan Ibrahim in the late 17th century.
However, it was also around that time that the Dutch had conquered Kuala Selangor and captured the fort which was renamed Fort Altingburg. Today, remnants of the fort’s structure (some cannons, a lighthouse, colonial houses, and foundation stones), which are important documentations of the past, still stand.
The walk uphill may be strenuous for some so be sure to wear the right shoes if you wish to make the climb.
Of course, you could also just take a tram to go up. The tram services are available on weekends and public holidays. Visitors can also ride the tram going from one exciting place to another around Bukit Malawati.
Kuala Selangor District Historical Museum
Conclude your trip by making a stop at the Kuala Selangor District Historical Museum, which is within walking distance from Bukit Malawati. This museum is perfect for history buffs as it showcases a lot of intriguing and interesting facts related to the historical chronology of Kuala Selangor. \
One fascinating point to note about the museum: It was originally the official residence of a Kuala Selangor district officer before being transformed into the gallery we know of today.
There are also many precious and eye-opening historical artefacts displayed in the museum, reflecting the illustrious past of Kuala Selangor.