With the 2011 opening of the RM800-million new Istana Negara (National Palace; official residence of Malaysia's head of state) in the city's north, the former palace became the Royal Museum. You can tour the first two floors of the mansion, originally built as a family home in 1928 by Chinese tin tycoon Chan Wing. The palace exterior, with its eclectic European style, looks much the same as it did in Chan Wing's day. To get here, take a taxi from Tun Sambanthan.
Used as the Japanese military's officers' mess during KL's WWII occupation, in 1957 it became the National Palace, the residence of the king and queen of Malaysia. The interior was obviously altered to suit both royal tastes and royal needs. There are major and minor waiting rooms, a small throne room (for royal events), an office for the king, a family room (including KTV), and a dozen or so bedrooms for guests and family alike. Floral wallpaper, upholstered furniture, thick carpets, crystal chandeliers and some gaudy posters reveal the Downton Abbey–meets-'70s-suburbia tastes of the royals, though Malay colours and motifs remind you of where you are.