Gaze at art work in a world class gallery
While you’re at the twin towers, visit Galeri Petronas, a free art gallery open to the public showcasing mainly Malaysian artists’ work in ever-changing exhibitions. Petronas set up the gallery to promote the development and preservation of art in Malaysia and to encourage the Malaysian public’s appreciation of visual arts.
Located on the 3rd floor of KLCC, the gallery is open Tues- Sun 10am – 8pm, closed on Mondays. Personally, I stop by Galeri Petronas every time I visit KL to marvel at the latest exhibition. The gallery also has a store and an arts resource center with art books, journals and audio-visual material.
Engage in some international people watching
KLCC shopping mall and the KLCC Park just outside are the very best places in K.L. to engage in some seriously international multi-ethnic multi-lifestyle people watching.
You’ll observe people from all walks of life and from countries all over the world. You’ll see everyone from top business execs in designer suits to fashionable Malaysian ladies in brightly patterned floor-length silk ensembles to young Malaysian teens and western international-school students to families to traveling backpackers.
To avoid feeling like a bum when visiting KLCC, you might want to snaz up your attire for the day. However, casual backpacker style is just as acceptable, too, so don’t sweat it. You will want to avoid bikini tops, scruffy micro-mini- shorts and attire suited only to far-flung beaches though.
Meet Malaysian artists and watch them make batik, carvings & painting
The little-known K.L. Craft Complex on Conley Rd is a hidden gem just around the corner from Petronas Twin Towers and bustling Bukit Bintang. The main building, a beautiful traditional Malay wooden structure, houses a modest museum, retail shops and a restaurant. Out back, the artists’ workshops consist of cute wood bungalows set around a lush tropical garden.
Take a historical walking tour of colonial British buildings
Merdeka Square, just 5 minutes’ walk from Chinatown and Pasar Seni, is lined with magnificent stone buildings from the British colonial era pf the late 1800s. These buildings creatively combine colonial and Moorish architectural elements including graceful arched doorways, columned hallways, layered red and white stones, a clock tower and miniarets to produce some very unique architecture.
These beautiful buildings line the square itself, which is simply a big rectangular grassy field originally used for cricket. Nowadays the square is the venue for national ceremonies and events.
Just one block behind the buildings, the lovely mosque Masjid Jamek is nestled under palm trees, tucked behind Masjid Jamed overhead rail station. Wander around to gaze at these beautiful buildings.
Sip imported Chinese teas in traditional tea shops in Chinatown
Step into a Chinese tea shop where you’ll find traditional Chinese furniture, tea utensils, paintings and decor. Browse the astounding variety of imported teas and you’ll soon be invited to sample some!
The staff will sit at the tea table, prepare a tiny cup of tea and offer it to you. The whole process is really intriguing and you’ll get to sample delicious tea direct from China. No obligation to buy, of course.
Check out Pasar Seni, KL’s original Central Market
Also located beside Chinatown, Pasar Seni is a historical art deco style blue building housing a huge variety of Malaysian clothing, arts, handicrafts, souvenirs, restaurants and a food court. Gone upscale in recent years, most of the merchandise is fairly expensive but window shopping is free. Gaze at the beautiful traditional arts and clothing of Malaysia in this ‘refrigerated’ a/c market. Bring long sleeves.
Join temple-goers at Chinese and Indian Temples or Malaysian Mosques
Dotted around the edges of Chinatown are several colorful Chinese and Indian temples. Visitors are very much welcomed to enter, look around, take pictures and observe locals at prayer.
Bright red and gold Chinese Buddhist temples are generally filled with the smoke and aroma of Chinese incense. Temple-goers buy bundles of incense, pray then plunk their bundles into huge brass vessels.
Indian Hindu temples, on the other hand, display hundreds of vibrant images of various Hindu gods in colorful tiered carved roofs. Inside are several small shrine rooms where devotees beg favors of their favorite gods.
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