Palaces represent the foundation, history, and culture of a nation, but the two Malay palaces I saw were a little different. I think it’s because people generally associate the Petronas Towers as a symbol of Malaysia and in Melaka, you can’t miss the historic sites and architecture reminding you of the former British and Portuguese presence. It’s very easy to forget about Malay culture in both KL and in Melaka.
I find that things like royal palaces, castles, government buildings, etc. represent a country’s history and identity much better than landmarks like the Petronas Towers. When it comes to Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, I found that the National Palace (in KL) and the Melaka Sultanate Palace did the trick because they represent Malay cultural roots.
Kuala Lumpur’s National Palace
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go inside the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, but I had to swing by to see it. It gave me another I’m really in Malaysia moment. Unless you take a taxi or if you’re in a tour group, you can only reach it by taking the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus.
Most people were more interested in the guards. There were two different types. ↓
Melaka Sultanate Palace
It’s an incredible window into the culture of the kingdom that existed before it was conquered and of course, the Malay view of life afterwards. The museum has over 1,300 items on display including, art, weapons, musical instruments, clothing, you name it.
The building itself is in excellent condition since it’s a reconstruction of the palace based on Malay accounts of Sultan Mansur Shah’s palace. He ruled Melaka before from 1456-1477, before the Portuguese conquest in 1511. Although I prefer to see original structures, I love seeing replicas because it gives you the best idea of how it looked in its prime hundreds of years ago. Construction was completed in 1984, and it opened in 1986.
Access: when you are finished at the foot of St. Paul’s Hill (facing it), go right and you won’t be able to miss the palace. Don’t go on a Monday – that’s the only day of the week that it’s closed. Otherwise, you can go from 9-6 for only 2 ringgit. 😀
Your view of the Melaka Sultanate Palace as you approach it from the foot of St. Paul’s Hill.
Oh, the Forbidden Garden (right across from the Sultanate Palace) is FREE! Hardly anyone was there; almost everyone just left after the museum closed as if the garden wasn’t even there.
According to the information plaque, there is no record that a garden actually existed at the palace, so it’s an interpretation – if such a garden existed for the royal princesses to enjoy, this is how it would have looked. ↓
Do you find that seeing things like royal palaces make you really feel like you’re not in Kansas anymore?
Would seeing either the Royal Palace in Kuala Lumpur or the Melaka Sultanate Palace give you that I’m really in Malaysia feeling?