Explore KL's colonial past with a DIY walking tour around Dataran Merdeka


The Sultan Abdul Samad Building, with its clock tower, has probably been on many postcards of the country thanks to its timeless design.

Before it was cancelled sometime in mid-2018, the free Dataran Merdeka Walk was popular among tourists and locals looking for something to do in Kuala Lumpur.

Organised three times a week by the KL City Hall and the KL Tourism Bureau, the two-and-a-half-hour casual walking tour took visitors along the historic patch of field in the middle of the city and the 10 heritage buildings surrounding it.

But just because it is no longer available, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do a tour of your own around the area that’s steeped in colonial history.

A map of the trail can still be found on Visit KL’s website so do check it out before you go on the trail.

Begin your tour at the KL City Gallery. The gallery, a beautiful neo-Renaissance-inspired building, was once used to accommodate the printing needs of the British administration.

Another colonial building to look out for in the vicinity is the Music Museum. Before its current incarnation, the three-storey building was the Chartered Bank and then the National History Museum.

Be sure to stop by the National Textile Museum (formerly known as the Federated Malay States Railway Station and later, the Selangor Works Department). Its alternating red bricks is an Instagram-worthy backdrop for a photo or two.

One of the city’s most iconic landmarks – the Sultan Abdul Samad Building – is nearby. Built by architects A.C. Norman and R.A.J. Bidwell, its striking clock tower is easily recognisable.

The other landmarks around include the Victorian Fountain and the former High Court building.

For foreigners, the trail will unearth bits and pieces of the country’s colonial past. As for Malaysians, you will definitely feel a sense of pride when you see the Jalur Gemilang flying high at Dataran Merdeka.

Getting there

Dataran Merdeka is located along Jalan Raja. The place is well connected by several transportation options. There’s the Go KL City Bus (Red Line), LRT (stop at Masjid Jamek station) and Rapid KL bus.

If you have no qualms about braving KL’s notorious traffic, you can park your car at the Dataran Merdeka underground parking.

KL Heritage Trail

Dataran Merdeka

Jalan Raja, 50050,

Kuala Lumpur

Website: https://bit.ly/3gQ8XYz

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