This might come as a surprise for some, but the oldest residential area in Kuala Lumpur is actually located in the heart of the modern city itself. We are referring to Kampung Baru, of course.
Founded in 1899, Kampung Baru is still very much a traditional Malay kampung today. Despite the rapid modernisation of the other surrounding neighbourhoods, one can still find heritage buildings in the Malay enclave. It’s also a fantastic foodie destination!
There used to be a free guided walk offered by by Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau. Unfortunately, that walk has been cancelled. But fret not, curious travellers may still do a self-guided tour by downloading the informative map of the walk on Visit KL’s website.
Why you should go
There are very few places in KL where one can see a traditional kampung home against the backdrop of the Petronas Twin Towers. The juxtaposition of old against new makes Kampung Baru a unique attraction in itself.
Or if you live for food, there’s no shortage of delectable Malay cuisines in the vicinity. From piping hot nasi lemak to sweet tapai (fermented rice dessert), one definitely won’t go hungry here.
What to do
Start your tour from Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, a place that’s steeped in political history. Then make your way to Master Mat’s House. The small blue house, built in 1921, used to be the home of the late Ahmad Mohamed, a well-respected headmaster of an English school in Setapak, KL.
Another traditional home to check out is Rumah Limas. A much loved teacher resided here in the past and it used to be a popular hangout venue for youths.
Go in the evening and you’ll find that the narrow Jalan Raja Alang is transformed into a busy fruit and vegetable street market at dusk. Nearby are also two important places of worship – Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru and the Gurdwara Tatt Khalsa temple.
For foodies, Jalan Raja Muda Musa – the famous food stretch in Kampung Baru – is the place to be to sample some of the most wonderful Malay food in the city. Don’t leave without having some fragrant nasi lemak from the famous Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa stall.
Who will like it
Those who would like to experience vibrant Malay culture in a cosmopolitan setting should certainly visit. It is a splendid showcase of tradition and heritage.
Kampung Baru still retains a strong sense of community. It’s an experience catching children running around in their kain pelikat and women selling ulam at the market.
All these of course, can be captured beautifully by avid photographers.
Located off Jalan Tun Razak, Kampung Baru is easily accessible from the Kampung Baru LRT Station (KJ11) along the RapidKL Rail Kelana Jaya Line. Alternatively, you could get a Grab or taxi and ask to be dropped off at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman.
Address: Kampung Baru, 50300, Kuala Lumpur
Recommended visitation time: 4.30pm to 7pm