A sense of mystery envelops this beautiful and incredibly well-preserved palace in the former royal town of Jugra in Selangor. It’s a thought further fuelled by the fact that visitors are advised to watch their words and actions within the grounds. Meanwhile, Muslim visitors are encouraged to give their greetings (salam) at the door before entering the premise.
Who are they greeting exactly? A Tourism Selangor official who accompanied us on the tour wouldn’t say.
Built in 1906 during the reign of Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah, Istana Bandar was once the administrative centre of Selangor. Sultan Alaeddin resided at the palace for 35 years and upon his demise in 1938, the palace was abandoned.
Today, the heritage landmark stands tall as a mark of the Selangor sultanate’s illustrious past.
Why you should go
It’s easy to be enthralled by the beauty of the place once you walk into the grounds of the palace. Istana Bandar is one of the most astonishing palaces in the country. It is also one of the oldest Malay palaces that still retains its original design.
Upon closer inspection of its architecture, one can make out various influences in the design. Moorish Indian elements are found in the roof shape while Chinese and Western styles can be seen on the columns and doors.
All that architectural jazz translates to beautiful photographs and the Instagram-savvy crowd would find plenty of inspiration here. Just make sure your “influencer wannabe” poses are respectful.
What to do
Istana Bandar is known as the palace with 40 rooms. Roam around the various chambers in the two-storey building and check out its interiors for a sense of how the Selangor royalty lived in the past. The fact that Istana Bandar is situated on a 5ha land means that there’s plenty to explore.
The beautiful conservation work here is handled by the Selangor State Malay Custom and Heritage Corporation (PADAT). There’s usually staff around who can give you more information on the palace. If you ask nicely, you might even hear some interesting stories.
Once you’re done exploring the palace grounds, head over to the nearby Sultan Alaeddin Mosque.
Who will like it
Heritage lovers will have plenty to marvel at here. If anything, PADAT has done a remarkable job in preserving the majestic beauty of the palace. Apart from that, the grounds here provide plenty of subjects for photography. The buildings will imbue those shots with a timeless romantic quality.
The best way to get to Jugra would be to drive there. If you’re coming from anywhere in the Klang Valley, take the Federal or Kesas Highway towards Klang. Then, just follow the signs heading towards Banting.
Jalan Istana Lama
42700, Banting, Selangor
Tel: 011-1951 1502
Opening hours: 9.30am to 5.30pm
Note: Those interested in visiting Istana Bandar would need to contact PADAT officer Hazita at the number and email specified above.