Architecture Walk, Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur (Self Guided)

The architecture of Kuala Lumpur is well known among tourists. A stunning mixture of the old and the new, the architecture of the metropolis is luxurious and magnificent. The city's skyline reveals an excellent combination of Asian, Malay, Islamic and modern architecture. Take the tour below and don't miss the chance to visit some of the most popular architectural sights in Kuala Lumpur.
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Architecture Walk, Kuala Lumpur Map

Guide Name: Architecture Walk, Kuala Lumpur
Guide Location: Malaysia » Kuala Lumpur (See other walking tours in Kuala Lumpur)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Author: valery
Royal Selangor Club

1) Royal Selangor Club

Another heritage venue located around the Dataran Merdeka or the Independence Square is the Royal Selangor Club (RSC). Occupying the northern fringe of the square, this social & sports club opposing the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is another monumental structure that is a reflection of the city’s opulence, culture and history.

Founded in 1884, the RSC was initially a tiny wooden building that was strictly used as a social club, where high ranked officials and the elite of the society gathered for an evening of rendezvous, drink and merry. It was in 1890 that the humble edifice of the building underwent an extreme makeover. Taking inspiration from the Tudor style of architecture, the renovated building had more space and an extra floor. The building underwent reconstruction again in 1910 under the leadership of Arthur Benison Hubback, the man behind the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.

Since its inception, the RSC has been organizing sports activities and other field and track events. It is currently a 'members only' club so you have to be signed in by a member to gain access.
Coliseum Theater

2) Coliseum Theater

Watching a movie in a regular cinema hall is something one can do anywhere, but what if you have the opportunity to watch your favorite movie in the first theatre that was built in the country? Such an experience would be truly exciting, and it awaits you at the Coliseum Theatre in Kuala Lumpur. Built in 1921, the Theatre, like many of the city’s other heritage sites, was the pioneer in the country.

The Coliseum Theatre may not look like the coliseum from the outside, but definitely has the amphitheater vibe on the insides. Launched by a rich and hardworking Chinese immigrant, Chua Cheng Bok, who earned his riches by working in the tin mines of Kuala Lumpur, the Coliseum is still a proud property of the family. Till today, the Theatre is run by the same family.

Although the Coliseum Theatre has been labeled as a heritage site, you can watch your favorite movies at the Coliseum. Functioning ever since the early 20th century, the Theatre has been showing movies nonstop for almost a century, except when the Japanese invaded Malaysia during the Second World War.

All in all a must visit site on your heritage tour of the city.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building

3) Sultan Abdul Samad Building (must see)

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is undoubtedly one of the grandest structures in the skyline of Kuala Lumpur. Standing proudly at the Jalan Raja, the building emanates authority, heritage and elegance. Strategically located opposite the Dataran Merdeka of the Independence Square, and the Royal Selangor Club, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is one of the city's most treasured landmarks.

Built during the British occupation, the structure took shape in 1897. The chief architect responsible for its regal construction was A.C Norman along with chief engineer C.E Spooner. The building was named after the fourth Sultan of Selangor under whose reign the building was constructed, and boasts an excellent blend of architecture, which is a concoction of Indo-Islamic and Neo-Gothic styles. History has it that Norman, in fact, visited India and from the visit drew inspiration for many of his designs.

One of the oldest structures in Kuala Lumpur, the Sultan Abdul Building has ever since its inception been used by the government and presently houses the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture of Malaysia. The structure is truly spectacular and definitely worth the visit.

Why You Should Visit:
As majestic as it is in the morning, when it is lit up at night, the building looks simply magical.
You can walk around it to take photos and also to take a break on one of the benches on the riverside.

This and the neighboring row of buildings house a couple of free small cultural spaces which are worth the few minutes/hours required to visit them. Make sure you visit this area of KL, and if it is raining use the little galleries and museums to shelter in for an introduction to various aspect of Malaysian culture.
Don't miss the recently renovated backyard of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, either. Facing the river, it forms a peaceful garden with tiled fountains and wrought iron benches to relax on. White marble, yellow tiles, and the freshly planted greenery create a harmonious background for the Abdul Samad mosque.
Kompleks Dayabumi

4) Kompleks Dayabumi

On your architectural hike around Kuala Lumpur, one building that will surely attract your attention is the Kompleks Dayabumi. The building stands modestly near the National Mosque and strikes as nothing more than an ordinary structure in the vast expanse of the Kuala Lumpur urban sky line. Although nothing may seem extraordinary at first glance, a closer look at the history of the building will surely reinstate the structure’s status in the onlooker’s eyes.

Built in 1980s this enormous building was the first skyscraper to rise towards the city skies. It was this very building that set the architectural trend of the high raised buildings with breath taking view, in the city of Kuala Lumpur. Apart from pioneering this trend, the Dayabumi was also the most expensive construction that the city had ventured into during those times.

Along with being the first skyscraper, the building was also the first to portray a unique blend of the traditional designs with the more modern touch. Built with regard to the Islamic style of architecture, the building is constructed with the pattern of the 8 pointed star with typical Islamic arches that adorn the top and bottom of the building. Used mainly as a commercial center, the Kompleks Dayabumi is a must visit in the city.
Central Market

5) Central Market (must see)

Founded in 1888, by the British, the Central Market is one of the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Not only is it one of the prime locations to shop in the city, it is also the best place to enjoy the fruits of a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment. Because Kuala Lumpur has a rich blend of diverse cultures and people hailing from different parts of the globe, each have their unique set of handicrafts along with a unique blend that is very Malaysian. The market is one of the most visited sights in the city and quite a popular destination for buying souvenirs and mementoes from your vacation.

With the addition of the cemented structure in 1937, the market got the status of a Heritage site. With constant renovations and refurbishment, the market soon had distinct stalls and zones for different races to display and promote their items. In the earlier days the Central market was nick named the “wet market” because the floors were constantly wet. The market was visited mainly by tin miners of the region and sold meat, vegetables and the catch of the day! The market is easily accessible and conveniently located close to multiple public transport facilities.
Menara Maybank

6) Menara Maybank

Till the construction of the Petronas Twin Towers, the Menara Maybank or the Maybank Tower dominated the skyline of Kuala Lumpur. Located near the Puduraya, the Tower is a must visit on your architectural tour of the city. Built in 1988, the Maybank Tower was till 1995, the tallest structure in Kuala Lumpur. Soaring at a height of 244m or 801 ft. (about 50 floors) the Tower was the one of the key attractions for tourists and those who loved to get a hawk eye view of the city.

Even though the Maybank Tower has long lost its position of being the tallest building in the city, it still manages to intrigue, amaze and inspire architects, both professional and amateur. Brilliantly designed by local architects Hijjas Kasturi Associates, the Menara Maybank has since its inception bagged many taglines that are in context to its unusual structure. At first glance the building may not stand out as conspicuous; however on a closer look one can appreciate the delicate nature of the design. Fashioned in a way that makes both the ends of the building stand out at very peculiar angles, the tension almost creates a visual of both the sides in a strong embrace or performing an intense tango.
St John's Institution

7) St John's Institution

Another pit stop on the architectural trek around the city of Kuala Lumpur is the St. John’s Institution located in Jalan Bukit Nanas. A secondary school for boys, the St. John’s Institute is one of the oldest schools in Kuala Lumpur, where heritage, education and architecture meet.

Serving the city with its top class education, the St. John’s Institution has a history of providing knowledge and wisdom for over a century. Not only does it have a reputation of being one of the best schools around in the Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia, it was also declared a heritage site in 2010. Representing the Institute is an overshadowing building in brick red and white that has personified education in Kuala Lumpur since 1906. The excellent Grecian-Spanish architecture not only makes a bold and tough statement but also makes the building worthy of notice. Located in the heart of the city, just adjacent to the Bukit Nanas forest reserve, the school is surrounded by lush greenery and nature giving it a perfect ambiance. Just a stone throw away from another breath taking landmark and one of the oldest buildings in the Kuala Lumpur, the St. John’s Cathedral, this institute is a must visit.

Walking Tours in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Create Your Own Walk in Kuala Lumpur

Create Your Own Walk in Kuala Lumpur

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kuala Lumpur is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Daily Life

Daily Life

If you want to broaden your perception of daily life in Malaysia then there is nothing better than to take the tour below. It will take you through places that are frequented by the locals and will help you appreciate the rhythm and the substance of the daily life of the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Nightlife Walking Tour in Kuala Lumpur

Nightlife Walking Tour in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has an active and exciting night life. Even though Malaysia is a Muslim country, there are bars and clubs where alcohol is served without restraint. The city has something to suit every kind of taste and you can easily find clubs that host live music and shows. Take the tour below to find some of the most popular nightclubs in Kuala Lumpur.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Museums and Galleries in Kuala Lumpur

Museums and Galleries in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is an impressive town famous for its museums and galleries. These museums and galleries manifest both the rich cultural heritage of the nation and its spirit of innovation. Find below a list of museums that you must visit when in Kuala Lumpur.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 km
Lake Gardens Park Walk

Lake Gardens Park Walk

The finest thing about Kuala Lumpur is that it has preserved a balance between exhilarating urban architecture and its natural environment. Indeed, there is an abundance of greenery in Kuala Lumpur. Lake Gardens, known officially as Perdana Botanical Gardens, is Kuala Lumpur's first large-scale recreational park. It contains large manicured gardens and a host of attractions. Take this walk to...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Top Shopping Places in Kuala Lumpur

Top Shopping Places in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a city with a lot of famous shopping centers and street markets. For those with a moderate shopping budget, Petaling Street or Bukit Bintang is the right place to go to. KLCC is an upmarket shopping spot, famous for the Petronas Twin Towers. This is an exciting shopping center of Kuala Lumpur. Check out the top shopping places that you might like to visit on the tour below.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city in Malaysia, and also its cultural and economic center. The city represents a mix of different architectural styles making it both interesting and beautiful. Kuala Lumpur has created a range of extraordinary and exclusive attractions that combine Eastern and Western elements and also showcase local handicrafts. Chief among these are Sultan Abdul...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Malaysian Things to Buy as Souvenirs in Kuala Lumpur

16 Malaysian Things to Buy as Souvenirs in Kuala Lumpur

"Malaysia, Truly Asia" is what you hear en route to Malaysia. Indeed, there's practically every bit of Asia to be found here, as the country's population is made up primarily of three groups: Malay, Chinese and Indians. Quite expectedly, the diversity of Malaysian handcrafts is...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Kuala Lumpur for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Kuala Lumpur has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Kuala Lumpur's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the KL PASS or Kuala Lumpur Backpackers Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Kuala Lumpur's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Kuala Lumpur hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Impiana KLCC Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Kuala Lumpur, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Kuala Lumpur typically costs between around US$10 and US$100 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Kuala Lumpur in the comfort of a bus listening in the headsets to the commentary in English, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route. The ticket is valid for one (24 hrs) or two days (48 hrs).

- No visit to Malaysia is complete without savoring local cuisine – the alloy of spicy Indian, complex Chinese, and zesty Malay flavors. Embark on a culinary walking tour of Kuala Lumpur for a generous dollop of delectable Malay delicacies at some truly unique locations: hidden streets, alleyways and suburbs only the locals know about.

- Pedal your way around Kuala Lumpur on a 4-hour bike tour to appreciate the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the Malay capital from an informative group leader.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise сould have done by walking.

- Come to appreciate Kuala Lumpur in its nighttime ambiance as the city gets ablaze with multi-colored illumination after dusk. Explore Chinatown in the cool of the night, stroll through the popular night markets, and experience KL's nightlife in its richness.

- Give yourself in to the unique charm of Kuala Lumpur on a 3-hour morning tour to explore the city's diverse architectural setting, learn about its history and more.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Kuala Lumpur, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Malacca, Kuala Selangor, or Batu Caves. For as little as US$60+ to US$170+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of great historical and cultural importance (iconic caves, royal burial ground, ancient fort, etc.), get closer to the Malaysian nature by riding a boat in the evening through mangrove forests to encounter thousands of twinkling fireflies or by going for a relaxed drive through countryside to visit elephant conservation center and take some photos with amiable silvered leaf monkeys, plus to enjoy a typical Malaysian seafood meal, and so much more. For any of these tours you will be picked up straight from your hotel in Kuala Lumpur, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle (or boat, wherever applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.