Klang, the royal town of Selangor, is located just about 1 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur but it is so underrated it hardly gets recommended as a day trip destination for those visiting the capital city of Malaysia. This is very unfortunate, if you ask me, as this old town, the first capital of Selangor (before it changed to Kuala Lumpur and subsequently to Shah Alam after Kuala Lumpur was declared a federal territory), has a wealth of treasures to offer to visitors.
My first time visiting the town as a “tourist” was a few years back when I joined Tourism Selangor’s popular #TSDayOut programme - a day-out programme to promote various interesting places in Selangor - to Klang, probably back in 2012. I have since been there again and again with Tourism Selangor during #MySelangorStory programme in 2013 and #TSDayOut Special Edition in 2015. In between, I’ve also played “tourist guide” in Klang, to fellow travel bloggers from outside Malaysia like Edgar of eazytraveler from the Philippines and Talon & Tigger of 1dad1kid from the United States. During each and every single of these visits, I’ve always discovered something new, not literally, but something that I’ve never explored and perhaps knew before each visit.
Klang basically keeps on surprising me every single time I pay the town a visit. Thus, it is not surprising perhaps that the same thing happened when I visited the royal town again recently during the recent #EatTravelWrite programme.
Klang Municipal Council has been offering a free, guided Royal Klang Heritage Walk every weekend for a few years now. It’s something that I’ve been meaning to join (hey, it’s free after all!) but never got around to, until recently. The Heritage Walk initially covered 24 places and landmarks around the town when it first started but this was subsequently reduced to just 12, to allow for a more relaxing pace and better appreciation of the heritage during the 2.5-hour walk. If you’re keen for access to and inside stories behind each of these places, the free Heritage Walk is the way to go as you’d have a professional tour guide with you throughout the walk. If on the other hand, you’d like to take more time at one or the other places/landmarks (for photography, for example), you can easily tailor a DIY walk and incorporate more than the 12 places covered in the official Royal Klang Heritage Walk.
This blog post would cover the official Royal Klang Heritage Walk, with tips and suggestions for other places and landmarks which are not covered during the Heritage Walk too. These places and landmarks would be denoted as such in the list below. The post therefore should still help if you’d like to explore more and are thinking of doing a DIY Heritage Walk in Klang.
Galeri Diraja Sultan Abdul Aziz (Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery)
The Royal Klang Heritage Walk starts at Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery, where participants gather to register and listen to a short briefing by a professional tour guide. After the briefing, participants are brought inside the Royal Gallery that has been dedicated to the works and life of the late HRH Sultan Abdul Aziz, the previous Sultan of Selangor and father of the current one. The beautiful early 20th century building in which the Royal Gallery is housed in was actually built as the British colonial administrative office by AB Hubback, the guy behind the many iconic heritage buildings in Kuala Lumpur, including Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Jamek Mosque and the old KL Railway Station. This stately building no doubt has seen a colourful history over the years before it was turned into a Royal Gallery, but the exhibits on display inside perhaps even more so.
One of them, which I probably like the most, is the skull of a crocodile captured about 3 months after the coronation of the late Sultan back in 1961. As the story goes, it is said that the crocodile surrendered itself as a mark of respect for the then newly crowned Sultan.
Location Address: 3, Jalan Stesen, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Old Chartered Bank Building (Today’s Chennai Silk Store)
Located just across the road next to the Royal Gallery is Chennai Silk Store, housed in another stately building that was built in the second half of 19th century. This neo-classical building used to be the office of Chartered Bank, the oldest bank in Klang. Going inside the Store, visitors would note the grand staircase inside that leads up to the second floor of the building where the bank’s service counters used to be.
These days, the building is filled with colourful sarees, of which some are very exclusive (and not to forget, expensive!), it’s not a bad idea to explore the Store and see them for yourself. If you’re lucky, you might be able to see a staff working on some silk threads the traditional way.
Location Address: No. 1, Jalan Istana, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Kelab Diraja Klang (Klang Royal Club)
Going out of the Old Chartered Bank Building and walking up the slope along Jalan Istana, you’d arrive at Kelab Diraja Klang (Royal Klang Club), a social & recreational club established at the turn of the20th century for the British folks in the then Malaya. The “Royal” status of the Club however was granted much later.
Access to the Club is for members only – membership is opened to everybody nowadays, not just for the Brits - but through Royal Klang Heritage Walk, participants get to have a sneak preview of what’s inside the unassuming main building of the Club. Want to know what it is like inside? No, I’m not going to share it here. You’d have to join Royal Klang Heritage Walk for that. 😉
Location Address: Jalan Istana, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Istana Alam Shah (Alam Shah Palace)
From Kelab Diraja Klang, a further slight uphill walk would bring you to Istana Alam Shah, the official palace for Selangor’s royal ceremonies and investitures. Built in the mid-20th century, this Palace is open to the public twice a week for a visit, which includes a guided tour of some rooms and halls in the Palace building, Muzium Bolasepak (Football Museum) Istana Alam Shah and a tour of the Royal Automobile Gallery. The Palace tour however is not covered during Royal Klang Heritage Walk. You’d just have to make do with taking photos of the Palace from the outside, and also maybe with the guards at the main gate.
Tip: Groups interested in the Istana Alam Shah tour may contact the Office of HRH Sultan of Selangor directly for the arrangement:
Tel: +60333713411 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Address: Jalan Istana, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Tugu Keris (Kris Monument)
From the main gate of the Palace, we crossed the road and had a “walk in a park”, literally. At one end of the park is Tugu Keris, a monument in the form of a traditional Malay dagger called keris.
Location Address: Corner of Jalan Istana/ Jalan Tengku Kelana, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Kwan Imm Temple (DIY Klang Heritage Walk)
If you’re on a DIY heritage walk, cross the road and head over to Persiaran Kota for Kwan Imm Temple, a popular Buddhist temple with a very interesting architecture, for a photo stop before retracing your steps back to Jalan Tengku Kelana for the next stop.
Location Address: 30, Jalan Raya Barat, Kawasan 6, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes
Just across the road and not far from Tugu Keris, you’d find a mini Notre Dame of Paris. This Gothic architecture however is known as Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, a Catholic church built in the early 20th century initially to cater for the Indian Catholic community who have settled down in the area. Right next to the church is a school building that is home to 3 different convent schools: Klang Convent (1) Primary School, Klang Convent (2) Primary School and Klang Convent Secondary School, established just a few years after the church was built.
Location Address: No. 114, Jalan Tengku Kelana, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
A short straight walk along Jalan Tengku Kelana from the church and the convent schools would bring you to Klang’s Little India. Once you’re here, all your senses are guaranteed to be working overtime. Your eyes would feast on the colourful billboards, striking coloured sarees, gold & jewelleries, spices, Indian desserts, snacks and what not; your nose would be hit by the smells of spices, flowers from the garlands, and perhaps curries from the many restaurants that occupy either side of the street; and your ears would be bombarded with the booming sound of popular Bollywood songs as well as the voices of traders (on loud speaker) enticing passers-by with their latest discounts and promotions. In the days leading up to Deepavali (Indian Festival of Lights), this Little India would easily turn into one of the busiest and most festive shopping avenues in the country.
On a side note, what is perhaps an interesting trivia is that this Little India, which is Malaysia’s largest, actually grew out of an old Chinese settlement.
Tip: If you’re here on your own DIY heritage walk, Little India is the best place to try Indian traditional banana leaf rice and any of the sweet Indian desserts. If you need some recommendations for the desserts, my personal favourites are gulab jamun & laddu. (I’m drooling just thinking about them!)
Location Address: Jalan Tengku Kelana, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Masjid Tengku Kelana (Indian Muslim Mosque)
Located at the main junction of Little India is a mosque – Masjid Tengku Kelana - that is more commonly known as Masjid India Klang or Klang Indian Mosque. Originally established in the early 20th century for the Indian Muslim community in the area, the mosque has undergone several stages of transformation before turning into the grand building and one of the major landmarks of Klang that it is today.
Location Address: Jalan Tengku Kelana, Kawasan 1, 41200 Klang, Selangor | Map
Sri Nagara Thendayuthapani Hindu Temple
Not far from the Indian Mosque is the oldest, and richest, Hindu temple in Klang. Sri Nagara Thendayuthapani Temple was built in 1925 for the Indian Hindu community. This Hindu temple and the Indian Muslim Mosque are neighbours with a Christian chapel/ complex building, and they actually share the same open space car park that is located right in between the three of them - something that some might find interesting and unique, apart from the landmarks themselves.
Location Address: No. 2, Jalan Bukit Jawa, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Kota Raja Mahadi (Raja Mahadi Fort) (DIY Klang Heritage Walk)
If you’re on a DIY heritage tour, instead of turning right for Klang Fire Station, take Jalan Raya Barat to get to Kota Raja Mahadi (Raja Mahadi Fort) and Jambatan Kota (Kota Bridge).
To get to do this, you’d need to walk pass underneath Jambatan Kota (the motor vehicle bridge part) and take the road that’s located on the left right after the bridge, which would bring you to the (upper deck of the) bridge.
Before you get to the upper deck of the bridge however, there is the historical Kota Raja Mahadi (Raja Mahadi Fort) located right on your right hand side as you walk along the steep short road up the small “hill”.
The Fort was built in 1866 by Raja Mahadi ibn Almarhum Raja Sulaiman during his power struggle against Raja Abdullah for the control of Klang district, which used to be under his late father’s control. The civil war ended only about a year later when Raja Abdullah went into retreat. In 1868 however, after 6 months of some bloody battles during the second civil war, the Fort fell into the hands of Tengku Kudin, who was avenging him on behalf of the Sultan of Selangor for failing to pay his debts to the Sultan. It then became the residence of Tengku Kudin for the next 30 years.
The Fort however is closed to the public at the moment.
Location Address: 60, Jalan Raya Barat, Kawasan 1, 41100 Klang, Selangor | Map
Masjid Bandar Diraja Klang (Klang Royal Town Mosque) (DIY Klang Heritage Walk)
The upper deck of Jambatan Kota is perfect if you’d like to take some photos of Masjid Bandar Diraja Klang (Klang Royal Town Mosque), with its yellow-coloured domes, located on the bank across Klang River. On a good day, the reflection of the mosque in Klang River waters is enough to make for a good photo but personally, I’d recommend going there, if possible and weather permitting, at around sunset time.
Location Address: Jalan Pasar, Kawasan 18, 41300 Klang, Selangor | Map
Jambatan Kota (Kota Bridge) (DIY Klang Heritage Walk)
Jambatan Kota (Kota Bridge) is a double-decked pedestrian & motor vehicle bridge – the first in Malaysia - that was officially opened in 1961. After capturing some photos of Masjid Bandar Diraja Klang from the upper deck of the bridge, it’s time to take the staircase to the lower deck where you can better appreciate the original part of Jambatan Kota, and perhaps see some monkeys as well.
From here, you can choose to either cross Klang River or retrace your steps back and head directly to Klang Fire Station. If you choose to cross the river, you can turn left at the end of the bridge onto Jalan Pasar and see Masjid Bandar Diraja Klang closer. Just before the mosque, there is Pasar Jawa (Javanese Market), which you might like to explore as well if you have the time.
Tip: Across the road from Pasar Jawa there is a food court called Emporium Makan where you can find a good bowl of lontong that is popular among the locals here, at Lontong Klang stall. However, the timing of your visit here might be a bit off as they serve this only in the morning until around 11 am.
Afterwards, you can either get back on Jambatan Kota or walk straight along Jalan Pasar until you get to Tengku Musaddin Bridge from where you can walk across the bridge towards Klang Fire Station. I’d recommend the latter as you’d be able to see the minarets and the big dome of Indian Muslim Mosque from afar.
Location Address: Klang, Selangor | Map
Klang Fire Station
Klang Fire Station is housed in a small, white & red Victorian building that was built in late 19th century. The colours actually reminded me of the Japanese flag and it crossed my mind that the sun and its rays (as symbolised through the design and colours used on the building) were of the Japanese rising sun, a “memento” following their occupation back in 1940s. However, I found out that they actually epitomise the belief (at the time the Station was built, i.e. late 19th century) that the sun never sets on the British Empire. So nothing Japanese about that, I’m afraid.
Inside the Station, there is a room that has been turned into a small “museum” of some sort, with displays about the fire brigade and the building itself. One interesting exhibit is a British-made locked safe cabinet, which has not been opened in decades since the key to it got lost. Today, no one knows what’s inside the safe that is big enough to fit in an adult human body…
Location Address: Jalan Gedung Raja Abdullah, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
Gedung Raja Abdullah
Just two doors down from Klang Fire Station is one of the oldest Malay buildings that are still standing in Selangor. Built in 1857, it was the residence of Raja Abdullah – the Chief of Klang at the time – with his family. The ground floor however was used as a warehouse (“gedung”, in Malay) for weaponry, ammunitions, tin ore, mining implements and supplies.
Subsequently, Gedung Raja Abdullah had also served as the HQ for the first British Resident, state treasury, as well as survey, land and post office. In fact, this was where the first council meeting of Selangor took place. In 1880, it became a police station and remained so for almost a century. In 1985, about a decade after the police station moved out, the building was turned into a museum but the place however has been closed to the general public for a few years now for restoration work by Malaysia’s National Heritage Department.
Perhaps during this restoration work, the workers involved might stumble into the much talk about rumour of a secret tunnel that connects Gedung Raja Abdullah and Kota Raja Mahadi.
Location Address: Jalan Gedung Raja Abdullah, Kawasan 1, 41200 Klang, Selangor | Map
Klang Railway Station
From Gedung Raja Abdullah, it’s a straight walk along Jalan Besar, the first high street in Klang, which leads to Klang Railway Station, one of the first railway stations in Malaysia.
Tip: If you’re still looking for banana leaf rice, do check out Yap Kee Coffee Shop (map) on Jalan Besar here. It’s a small Chinese coffee shop that has a little Indian stall inside that serves good banana leaf rice. For a refreshing drink, ask for kedondong juice.
Klang Railway Station is where you’d get off at if you’re coming from Kuala Lumpur by train. From here, it’s just a short walk back to Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery, where Royal Klang Heritage Walk starts and ends.
Tip: As you enter Jalan Stesen from the railway station, there’s a popular traditional Chinese kopitiam (coffee shop) called Chong Kok Kopitiam (map) on your left. It’s a perfect stop for a quick breakfast before you head over to the Royal Gallery to start with the Heritage Walk. There are plenty of food and drink to choose from at the Kopitiam, but my recommendation would be two half-boiled eggs on a toast, with either iced black coffee or a cup of hot tea. In my opinion, the prices here are slightly high for a kopitiam (I paid MYR8.50 for the eggs, toast & cup of tea) but you can’t fault the traditional ambience & atmosphere here.
Location Address: Jalan Besar, Kawasan 1, 41200 Klang, Selangor | Map
Pre-War Shop Lots (DIY Klang Heritage Walk)
By now, if you’re still hungry for some more historic buildings and noteworthy architectures, you can proceed to walk northeast along Jalan Raya Timur from the Railway Station where in just a few minutes you’d find some pre-war shop lots. About 20 minutes’ walk from here, you’d find Masjid Diraja Sultan Sulaiman (Sultan Sulaiman Royal Mosque) on Jalan Kota Raja.
Masjid Diraja Sultan Sulaiman (Sultan Sulaiman Royal Mosque) (DIY Klang Heritage Walk)
Masjid Diraja Sultan Sulaiman is a royal mosque – with a direct link with Alam Shah Palace through the “royal stairs” – that was built in 1930s. Its architecture and design were based on a combination of art deco, neo-classical and English architecture as well as Moorish, making it one of the most unique mosques not only in Selangor but also in Malaysia. Currently however, it’s closed to the public as it undergoes some refurbishment work.
Location Address: Jalan Raya Timur, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor | Map
What? Royal Klang Heritage Walk is a free guided walk jointly organised by Tourism Selangor and Klang Municipal Council. The 3 km trail follows footpaths in and around Klang city centre. It is conducted in English and takes about 2.5 hours to complete.
When & Where? The Heritage Walk takes place on weekends, every Saturday and Sunday and starts with a registration at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Royal Gallery at 9.00 am.
Who to Contact? Tourism Selangor +603 5513 2000 | Website
What to Wear:
Comfortable clothes, comfy pair of sneakers or sandals, a hat and sunblock
What to Bring:
Bottled water, small backpack, camera and money for some food & drinks.
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Have you been to Klang, Selangor? What do you think of it? If you haven't, would you consider it if you're in Kuala Lumpur?
Disclosure and a Thank You Note