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10 National Treasures of Malaysia

Discover the most beautiful and patriotic sites in Malaysia this Merdeka Day!

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10 National Treasures of Malaysia
Image: foundtheworld.com
Tomorrow we as Malaysians celebrate Merdeka Day – a day every citizen of Malaysia commemorates the feeling of love towards the country and a gratitude for the nation’s freedom enjoyed over the past 59 years. When we take a look around our country today, we see the physical and social development that has rapidly taken place and on this August 31, 2016, as we celebrate our pride and hope for our nation, here are some monuments, locations and structures that make us proud as Malaysians – filled with history, culture and devotion.

As a multi-racial and multi-religious nation, we have these commonalities allowing for to us to grow together. It is definitely a love for our nation that binds people together, therefore as Malaysians we should be proud of what the country has accomplished and upheld this independence day.

A Famosa

Where: Malacca, Malacca City
When it was built: The fort was built in 1511

Image: www.gomelaka.my
Significance:
The ruins of a Portuguese fortress, the oldest surviving European structure in South-East Asia. In 1511, a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque and believed that Malacca would become a significant port linking Portugal to the Spice Route in China. The fort was almost completely demolished but for the timely intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, who was sent on sick leave from Penang to Malacca in 1807. Because of his passion for history, the small gate was spared from demolition.

What to do around the area:
Head to Chef Anthony’s Restaurant which is less than 0.1km away from the fort for seafood and authentic Malaccan Portuguese Food at very reasonable prices. The St. Paul’s Hill and Church is nearby as well and you can get a fantastic view of the town from the top. You can even get a sense of what it must have been like during the period of occupation. Make your way over to the Malacca Heritage Centre which is a private home in the Chua Family for several generations. It is a fascinating insight into the lives of the Baba Nyonya people of old Malacca with a vast array of period items, furniture and clothing.
 

Batu Caves

Where: Selangor
When it was built: It was discovered in 1892

Image: www.kuala-lumpur.ws
Significance:
This is a sacred place for the Hindu’s in Malaysia, consisting of three main caves and a number of smaller ones. Batu Caves attracts thousands of worshippers and tourists, especially during the annual Hindu festival, Thaipusam. Its main attraction is the large statue of the Hindu God at the entrance, besides a steep 272-step climb up to finally view the stunning skyline of the city centre.

What to do around the area:
Alongside the main temple cave, located on the left side when climbing the steps is a separate flight of stairs going to the Dark Cave, which is actually the larger series of caverns and to enter you have to pay for the educational walking tour as the dark cave contains various stalactites, stalagmites and rock formations as well as small water channels. If you are hungry, check out Pan Heong Restaurant nearby which prepares mouthwatering dishes! This legendary eating establishment in the Batu Caves area serves up plenty of good eats including its famous sang har wat dan hor, a great place for comfort food.
 

Kek Lok Si

Where: Penang
When it was built: This ornate building was constructed in 1890 - 1930

Image: cibuka.com
Significance:
It is the largest Buddhist temple in South-East Asia and with millions of glorious images of Buddha and it contains hundreds of beautiful meaningful carvings, sculptures and murals in the interior and exterior of the temple halls, pagodas and archways. Kek Lok Si Temple is not just a center for Chinese culture and Buddha teachings, but also a unique heritage treasures that have Mahayana Buddhism and traditional Chinese rituals blended into a harmonious whole, in temple architecture and daily activities of worshipers.

What to do around the area:
When you get off the Air Itam bus, you will be surrounded by an extensive market with lots of tempting food and Sister’s Curry Mee is definitely one of the delightful must-have meals around Kek Lok Si. The Air Itam Market has an Assam Laksa food stall that draws the crowd and is right at the junction so it’s easy to find. It’s definitely a historical wet market on the Penang island.
 

Petronas Twin Towers

Where: Kuala Lumpur
When it was built: Planning started in January 1992 and it was completed in June 1996 
Image: foundtheworld.com
Significance:
Perhaps as meaningful to Kuala Lumpur as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the towers are unquestionably the symbol of modern Malaysia. It represents Malaysia’s increasing wealth and the nation’s desire to feature more prominently on the international stage. The Twin Towers was built to house the headquarters of Petronas, the national petroleum company in Malaysia and was designed by the Argentine-born American architect Cesar Pelli.

What to do around the area:
Walk over to the well-known Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, a concert hall that plays host to world-renowned acts, orchestra performances and more. With state of the art acoustics, the hall has housed  some of the world’s finest artistes. There is also the famed Lake Symphony in front of Suria and Petronas Towers, which is exquisite to watch at night especially when the coloured lights come on at 7.30pm for a rainbow wave warm-up while the real choreography begins at 8.00pm. The show will last for about 10 minutes on average.
 

Putra Mosque

Where: Putrajaya
When it was built: It was officially completed in 1999 
 
Image: canuckabroad.com
Significance:
It is named after the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and its 116-metre minaret is influenced by the design of the Sheikh Omar mosque in Baghdad. While the basement wall of the mosque resembles that of the King Hassan mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. Putra Mosque is the second oldest mosque in Malaysia is also known as The Pink Mosque because of its rose-tinted granites.

What to do around the area:
Talk a walk around Putrajaya Lake, a manmade lake that is unbelievably picturesque especially at night with its glorious lights. You can take a cruise around the lake or just sit by the lake and have a picnic. Hang around for sunset, complete with the backdrop of the city skyline with the lake, mosque and buildings giving this city a unique charm. For some shopping, head to IOI City Mall, one of the newest shopping malls in Malaysia, and it is also one of the biggest. You would be spoilt for choice with shopping, dining and entertainment.
 

Menara KL Tower

Where: Kuala Lumpur
When it was built: Constructed in 1994 
 
Image: lemeridienkualalumpur.com
Significance:
The tower stands at 421 meters and effortlessly trumps the Petronas Twin Towers with the highest and most spectacular view of the city. It is the seventh tallest telecommunication tower in the world and the tallest in Southeast Asia, standing at 421m and located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Menara KL was originally constructed to improve the quality of telecommunication and broadcasting transmission in the country, but has become a significant landmark and symbol identifying Malaysia as a nation coming of age.

What to do around the area:
The tower actually has other attractions that you would like to consider, one of which is the rotating restaurant which serves delicious international and local food ‘above the clouds’. If you pay RM105, you’ll have access to the Sky Deck, Sky Box and Observation Deck. The Sky Deck is the highest point you can go where there is an outside area called Sky Box that allows you to look through a glass floor to the city. After 5.30pm, you can go to the viewing gallery and wait for the sunset.
 

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Where: In front of Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), Kuala Lumpur
When it was built: Construction started in 1894 and completed in 1897

Image: travelog.me
Significance:
The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is among Kuala Lumpur’s earliest Moorish-style buildings. It is set to the east of Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) and the Royal Selangor Club, across from Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin. The distinguished landmark originally served as the secretariat for the colonial British administration. The historically significant building used to house the superior courts of Malaysia: The Federal Court of Malaysia, the Court of Appeals and the High Court of Malaya.

What to do around the area:
Close by there is Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, a charming and well-designed mini museum where you can learn a bit of history about the city and its culture. You can also take a touristy picture with the ‘I heart KL’ sculpture outside, and upstairs there’s a pretty impressive show that combines colour projection and a scale model of the entire city. 
 

Tugu Negara (National Monument)

Where: Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory
When it was built: It was unveiled in 1966

Image: panoramio.com
Significance:
The National Monument is a sculpture that commemorates those who died in Malaysia’s struggle for freedom, principally against the Japanese occupation during World War II and the Malayan Emergency, which lasted from 1948 until 1960. The sculpture represents a group of soldiers with two slumped at the base and one holding the Malaysian national flag aloft. Each bronze figure symbolizes leadership, suffering, unity, vigilance, strength, courage and sacrifice.

What to do around the area:
Lake Gardens is opposite the National Monument and has a long history since 1888. Because of its lush greenery and jogging tracks, it is a great place to get away from the busy city with two manmade lakes and other gorgeous parks. At the Orchid Garden, visitors may take pictures and they can even buy a few pots of orchids for their home. The other garden is the Hibiscus Garden where our national flower grows in abundance. If you are looking to chow down on something delicious, head to Kari Kepala Ikan Tugu Negara for some spicy goodness.
 

Cheng Hoon Teng ‘Merciful Cloud Temple’

Where: Malacca, Malacca City
When it was built: 1646 
 
Image: youtube.com
Significance:
In 2003, Cheng Hoon Teng received a UNESCO award for its exceptional state of preservation and uniqueness of its architecture, evidence of the passage of the oldest Chinese communities in Malacca and Malaysia. The site is dedicated to the vision of Cheng Hoon Teng’s founders and the determination of its devotees to preserve their unique bastion of culture and heritage. It’s also billed as the oldest Buddhist place of worship in the country.

What to do around the area:
Opposite the temple, is a Chinese opera (the current era contemporeanea) on which are staged traditional Chinese works to the Chinese public of the city. Often, almost always – the shows are free. Jonker Street Night Market is just nearby and it was once renowned for its antique shops in the center of Chinatown. The market sells everything from tasty treats to cheap keepsakes.

 
Langkawi Sky Bridge

Where: Langkawi
When it was built: The bridge was opened in 2005 but was closed in 2012 for maintenance and upgrading. But now the bridge is fully accessible.

Image: orangesmile.com
Significance:
The Langkawi Sky Bridge is located at the ‘end’ of the Cable Car ride. One of the island’s highlights, it is a 410ft-long curved pedestrian bridge above Mount Mat Cinchang. The views from here are stunning and located 2,300ft above sea level, the journey to the top starts at the Oriental Village in the upper northwest of Langkawi island, near Pantai Kok. The bridge is 125 meters long, and 1.8 meters wide with two steel railing as well as steel wire mesh on either sides.

What to do around the area:
At the foot of Mt. Mat Cinchang lies a quaint Oriental Village with over 50 different activity or adventure providers, food and beverages and souvenir stores, as well as luxurious spas. It’s a great little village to spend some time in before or after your trip up the bridge. If you are looking for a place to eat, check out Pahn-Thai Restaurant close by for great seafood overlooking the beautiful ocean. The menu also offers a delicious selection of Thai dishes.
 
 
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