Royal Museum

Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

This grand mansion was 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. It is currently closed to visitors while renovations are done and is expected to reopen in 2025.

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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar attractions

1. Sri Kandaswamy Temple

0.19 MILES

This temple, fronted by an elaborate modern gopura (gateway), was founded by the Sri Lankan community in 1909 as a place to practise Shaiva Siddhanta, a…

2. Sree Veera Hanuman Temple


Honouring Hanuman, this temple has been under reconstruction for years, and should be a striking sight when its gopura (gateway) is revealed: the tower…

3. Kwong Tong Cemetery

0.35 MILES

This sprawling Chinese cemetery is notable not just for its immense size (333 hectares of rolling grassy hills and fragrant frangipani trees) but also for…

4. Church of the Holy Rosary

0.37 MILES

Cut off from the bulk of Brickfields by the highway Jln Damansara, this Catholic church built in 1903 is worth a look for its French Gothic Revival style…

5. Zhongshan Building

0.38 MILES

A variety of interesting businesses, including cool boutiques and a couple of cafes, occupy this repurposed block of interconnected shophouses that once…

6. Sam Kow Tong Temple

0.48 MILES

Established in 1916 by the Heng Hua clan, the 'three teachings' temple has a beautiful Hokkien-style temple roof, with graceful curving ridgelines that…

7. Old KL Train Station

0.51 MILES

One of KL's most distinctive colonial buildings, this grand 1910 train station (replaced as a transit hub by KL Sentral in 2001) was designed by British…

8. Guan Yin Temple

0.53 MILES

Dedicated to the Bodhisattva of compassion, this cement temple was originally built by Hokkien Chinese in the 1890s and served as a place to say prayers…