Royal Museum


in Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

You can tour the first two floors of this grand mansion, originally built as a family home in 1928 by Chinese tin tycoon Chan Wing. From 1957 it served as the official KL residence of Malaysia's head of state, until the opening of the new National Palace in the city's north in 2011. The museum's exterior, with its eclectic European style, looks much the same as it did in Chan Wing's day.

During KL's WWII occupation, the building was used as the Japanese military's officers' mess. Later the interior was obviously altered to suit both royal Malay tastes and 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.