This one is for all the only children out there.
Being an only child comes with a specific set of skills which children with siblings cannot even dream of. Some of these skills include strategic negotiation, emotional blackmail, and an extreme skill in the art of getting lost when trouble strikes.
The first two skills are something that I will talk about some other day but the utter beauty of the art of getting lost is seen when a certain only child is left in a new country and her mum’s gone off to work and the only thing that’s left to do is get out of the hotel room and….
In a surprising chain of events, my mum let me accompany her on a work trip to Kuala Lumpur and with my wanderlust at an all time high, I took the city like a shot on what I like to call my first ever solo tour.
In this post, Imma take you to one of the most beautiful parts of KL City aka Dataran Merdeka or the Independence Square. So, without further ado, let’s get lost in KL:)
Dataran Merdeka or Independence Square is an area in central Kuala Lumpur which marks the dawn of independence for Malaysia. On 31st August, 1957, the Malay flag was hoisted at this square and ever since then, the place is the hotspot for the country’s Independence Day celebrations. I first came across this place while dropping off my mum at work and I loved the vintage look of the area. Also, I wanted to explore each and every lane cause it seemed to lead into magical places and I wasn’t mistaken. 🙂
This is Masjid Jemak, en route the Independence Square. Now, KL is a city that is well connected by Tube and I was travelling to Independence Square from KLCC which involved taking the Tube from the KLCC station to the Masjid Jemak Station which is the nearest one from Independence Square. The walk from the station to the square is a beautiful one along the River Klang and this mosque is the first landmark that you see on this walk.
I absolutely love the white and brown schemes and the slight salt-pepper look on the domes adds to the vintage look of the place. Besides, the sun and the sky make for beautiful lighting and the green from the palms contrast beautifully to make this a snack of a picture. I simply had to stop and take the sight in for a while cause it was just so peaceful and pretty.
Honestly, I did not think I would run into British architecture in Malaysia but the Sultan Abdul Samad Building here made me feel right at home with the colonial era vibes. Hehe.
The sun truly never set on the British Empire….
This building is a 19th century marvel built by the British architect R.A.J Bidwell. It used to be known as Government Offices when the Brits ruled the country and now, it houses the Ministries of Information, Communication and Culture of Malaysia. The building overlooks the Independence Square and the Royal Selangor Cricket Club which we will be seeing shortly. However, I got this picture from the riverfront so this is a more nature-nestled view of the place.
Here’s a panoramic view of the entire walk along the Klang river. The Malaysian government has started an initiative called ‘River of Life’ which is aimed at cleaning the waterways and rivers of the country and beautifying the areas around it. The Klang river is one that has greatly benefitted from this project and it is truly one of the most beautiful places in KL. This picture is an example of why Kuala Lumpur is called the City of Contrasts. On one side, we have a nice tree-lined walk and on the other, we’ve got a building with some lovely graffiti that showcases modern art and in the midst of it all, there’s the river and the vintage Masjid Jamek all on a cloudy day in Malaysia.
I was rather lucky to be able to explore this all on a weekday as the place was devoid of humanity and it was a photographer’s delight. In fact, I decided to make the most out of this tranquility by sitting under a tree and taking in the view but an ant that resembled a tarantula made me get up and keep walking.
I’m pretty sure that ant sneered at me struggling to catch up on my cardio.
The River of Life is well protected by Agent Ali and his partner Alicia Kheng:) This sculpture was a random but cute addition to my walk along the Klang. I had to look up which cartoon it was and I found that these characters are from a series called Ejen Ali (Agent Ali). The show doesn’t stream in India but from the Wiki-how description, it seemed rather interesting. The characters give me Ben-10 vibes for some reason, hehe.
This is the City Gallery Building inside the Independence Square. When you’ve walked along the Klang river, a path towards the right leads you to the Independence Square(pictured at the beginning of this post) and when you cross the street and go into the Independence Square, you enter a vintage wonderland and this ‘I♥KL’ statue is the beginning of that vintage wonderland. I was so glad I could get an empty picture of this sign as wherever I’ve gone, such signs are always thronged by people and it’s really hard to get a decent picture.
The building behind it is a textile museum and the one with the dome is a library. I don’t think the museum was open the day I visited else this blog would have turned into a live show of me raving about the museum instead of exploring the Independence Square.
Honestly, if anyone ever wants to kidnap me, just tell me you’re taking me to a museum and I will be drawn like a moth to a flame. I might even help with a Museum Heist.
Disclaimer: The writer of this blog does not promote or support kidnapping. Or stealing.
The more I explored Independence Square, the more I felt like Dora the Explorer minus her fringes.
Remember that episode on Dora where she talks about how she got her backpack? I remember she had to go to the library to return 8 books and the Backpack helps her carry them. And the route to the Library was like ‘Bridge, Rock and Library.’
So while exploring Dataran Merdeka, I crossed a bridge to get across the River Klang, I’m going to assume the I♥KL sign was the Rock and that led me here, to the National Library. And that is my Dora the Explorer moment:)
Honestly, the library looks palatial and there is a small domed sculpture at its door that resembles the Earth. I like the reference of the Earth with a library as books are a gateway to the world and they also have the power to change the world.
Welcome to my Ted Talk.
This is the Royal Selangor Cricket Club that sits on a sprawling lawn overlooking the KL Skyline and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. When I first saw these roofed buildings, I thought they were some sorts of hunting lodges but while I was strolling around the lawn, I found out that it is actually a cricket club. The Brits love their cricket and every country colonised by them seems to have a cricket craze but Malaysia is quite an exception. I mean in India, the population literally breathes cricket but I didn’t see any signs of cricket craze in KL.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of cricket, I’m more of a tennis lover but seeing a cricket lawn empty made me feel odd as where I’m from, a lawn like this would be hosting a premier league for the local teams in no time, hehe. However, the emptiness made for some mind-blowing scenes.
And here is the KL Skyline seen from the Royal Selangor Cricket Club. Kuala Lumpur has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world and it was so thrilling for me to see it all in front of me. I was literally holding my breath and getting goose pimples because I did not know that this was the view and I simply turned my head and boom! There’s KL in front of my eyes. Again, I love the contrast between the vintage Abdul Samad and the modernity of the Menara Kuala Lumpur with its disc-like top and the Merdeka 118 i.e the blue building in the right corner.
The Merdeka 118 is touted to be the second tallest building in the world after the Burj Khalifa. The scraper’s still under construction and it’s got a very leviathan feel to it. It looks so futuristic and yet so serene and I really cannot wait to see it completed and towering in its full glory.
Here’s a selfie I took with the Twin Towers peaking from the background:)
I love how the Twin Towers are shorter than most of the buildings when you look at it in the skyline but it is so iconic and pretty that one cannot help but love it immensely.
Btw, travelling solo really takes your selfie game to a new level, hehe.
Here we have the Malaysian Flag fluttering proudly in the somewhat humid air. The fact that the Merdeka 118 is peaking in from the corner is so cute, like it’s a big, giant puppy who just wants to be in the picture:)
Here’s a close up of the City Gallery. I love the coloured glass tiles on the windows, it is so chic.
While returning from the Independence Square, I took a bit of a detour towards the far end of the riverside walkway. The place has some really interesting pieces of modern art that contrast beautifully with the vintage surroundings. I love the blue building lining the left side. It’s like I always say, pastels are great everywhere!
Here’s a modern art installation along the riverside called ‘The Brain Project’. It is a hand woven installation made by Macrame Fibres and each thread represents a neurone and the whole think represents the intricacy of the brain. The installation is interactive which means people can actually crawl into it and explore it but I didn’t go in cause I get claustrophobic and getting tangled in a net is not my idea of fun. However, if you’re here and you like net exploring the offline way, go ahead and explore the brain, it is a very interesting concept.
Finally, here’s a bit of graffiti to end the post in a colourful way.
The reason I started my KL blogs with the Independence Square is because we in India celebrate our Independence Day tomorrow and I felt a landmark that represents freedom would be an apt way to celebrate through a blog.
Travelling abroad after a three year hiatus was so thrilling and the best part is that my last travel abroad, before Covid got us was to KL and now as the world’s opened up again, I’m back in KL so this trip was a destined calling:)
And that is a wrap,
Until Next Time,