Check Out These 5 Historical Places On Your Malaysia Tour

Adding to the charm of this Southeast Asian gem are the temples, royal towns, and sprawling complexes that house years of ancient history, making for interesting pitstops for history buffs and curious travellers
Kek Lok Si Temple in Georgetown, Penang island
Kek Lok Si Temple in Georgetown, Penang islandShutterstock

People often visit Malaysia with plans to explore the diverse culinary scene or the lush rainforests and splendid beaches. Being a potpourri of individual cultural influences, Malaysia has a colourful history, which can be experienced through its many historical attractions. Adding to the charm of this Southeast Asian gem are the temples, royal towns and sprawling complexes housing years of ancient history and artefacts. Here are some of the historical places to visit on your Malaysia tour.

Bujang Valley

Bujang Valley is believed to have once been the epicentre of an ancient Hindu-Buddhist kingdom
Bujang Valley is believed to have once been the epicentre of an ancient Hindu-Buddhist kingdomShutterstock

Bujang Valley, in the state of Kedah, harbours some of Southeast Asia's most ancient archaeological treasures. This valley is believed to have once been the epicentre of an ancient Hindu-Buddhist kingdom, evidenced by the presence of over 50 ancient temples and archaeological sites. These remnants, dating back to the 4th century AD, offer a captivating glimpse into the region's rich and diverse history. The strategic location of Bujang Valley along the trade routes between the East and the West endowed it with pivotal significance as a bustling port city in the region. Historical records and archaeological discoveries illuminate this area as a vibrant melting pot where cultures, religions, and commerce converged, fostering the exchange of goods and ideas among traders from the Indian subcontinent, China, the Middle East, and Southeast Asian kingdoms.

Address: berhampiran dengan Sungai Batu, Bukit Batu Pahat, 08400 Merbok, Kedah, Malaysia

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm, all days of the week

Stadthuys Malacca

Christ Church, Clock Tower and Stadthuys on Dutch Square in Malacca
Christ Church, Clock Tower and Stadthuys on Dutch Square in MalaccaShutterstock

In Malaysia's Malacca, the enduring legacy of the Dutch is embodied in the iconic red building known as the Stadthuys. Once the seat of successive administrations, it now stands as a revered history museum, preserving the tales of its colonial past. Adjacent to the famous Christ Church, the Stadthuys beckons visitors with its distinctive facade, while across the way lies the bustling Jonker Street, a magnet for tourists. Constructed in 1650 by the Dutch East India Company, nine years after wresting Malacca from Portuguese control, the Stadthuys served as the nerve centre of Dutch governance until the British ascended to power in 1824. Revered by local historians as the region's oldest and most impeccably preserved administrative structure, its significance is underscored by its location on Jalan Laksamana, offering a compelling stop for those exploring Malacca. Accessible by cab and widely recognised as a must-see attraction, locating the Stadthuys is a breeze for visitors eager to immerse themselves in the city's rich heritage.

Address: Banda Hilir, 75000 Malacca, Malaysia

Hours: 9 am to 5:30 pm, Mondays closed

The Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar

The Royal Museum in the Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar
The Royal Museum in the Royal Town of Kuala KangsarShutterstock

The Royal Town of Kangsar is one of the oldest established Malaysian towns. Located 35 km north of Ipoh in the state of Perak, it is home to a plethora of iconic landmarks, such as the majestic Ubudiah Mosque, the opulent Istana Iskandariah Palace, and the graceful Sultan Abdul Jalil Shah Bridge. For history enthusiasts, these sites serve as captivating windows into the town's storied past, making them a must-visit place for them.

Address: A3, Jalan Kangsar, Kampung Penaga, 33000 Kuala Kangsar, Perak, Malaysia

Hours: Open 24 hours all days of the week

Penang Town Hall and City Hall

The iconic Town Hall
The iconic Town HallShutterstock

Two magnificent colonial structures stand in harmony at the scenic waterfront Esplanade in Penang – the Town Hall and City Hall buildings. The Town Hall, inaugurated in 1880, is the oldest municipal edifice in the state. Meanwhile, the City Hall, an early adopter of modern amenities, boasted the installation of electric lights and fans upon its completion in 1903. Initially serving as municipal offices, the Town Hall relinquished its administrative role to the newly established City Hall. Yet, it retained its allure, becoming a favoured venue for theatrical performances, drawing European elites and earning the colloquial moniker "Ang Moh Kong Kuan," loosely translating to "European Club" in Penang Hokkien. Over time, the Town Hall underwent various transformations, even housing a private college until its recent refurbishment in 2004. Today, this historic site has evolved into a vibrant public space, hosting art exhibitions and the annual George Town Festival.

Address: LOT 70, Jalan Padang Kota Lama, SEKSYEN 19, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Town Hall Hours: 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday

City Hall Hours: 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday 

Melaka Sultanate Palace

The majestic Melaka Sultanate Palace
The majestic Melaka Sultanate PalaceShutterstock

At the base of St. Paul's Hill, the Melaka Sultanate Palace stands as a faithful replica of Sultan Mansur Shah's majestic 15th-century residence. Renowned as the Muzium Kebudayaan, or the Cultural Museum, it serves as a beautiful tribute to the rich heritage and history of the Malay Sultanate. Ascending its three stories, visitors can explore eight meticulously curated chambers adorned with a wealth of traditional attire, artistic masterpieces, weaponry, jewellery, and other priceless artefacts. Within its walls, three galleries breathe life into local legends through intricately crafted dioramas. A focal point of the museum's allure is the imposing sculpture of the sultan's headdress, gracing the centre of the museum garden. Emblematic of 15th-century Malaysian architectural brilliance, the Melaka Sultanate Palace was meticulously crafted using traditional techniques, steering clear of the need for a single nail. Supported by sturdy wooden pillars and crowned with a radiant copper roof, it is a testament to the enduring legacy of Malay craftsmanship and ingenuity.

Address: Jln Kota, Banda Hilir, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia

Hours: 9 am to 12:15 pm and 2:45 to 5:30 pm, Mondays closed

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