Enjoying Istana Negara (National Royal Palace) in Malaysia

If you have been the kind of tourists to have visited almost everything in Kuala Lumpur and is tired of strolling around the same shopping mall, the Old Istana Negara should be your next destination in Kuala Lumpur.

Closed to the public for decades, the double-storey mansion was built in 1928 in neo-classical style by a local Chinese tycoon Chan Wing. Used as the official residence of the Japanese governor during the occupation of Malaya by Japan in WWII, the mansion became after Malaysia independence the new residence for the newly created function of King of Malaysia (Yang di-Pertuan Agong). Renovated extensively in the following years until the 1980s, the residence perched on a hill, retained its royal function until 2011 when the Istana Negara was moved to a new palace.

After hosting for almost a year an exhibition about royal regalia, the Istana finally was turned in 2013 into a Museum by Malaysia’s Ministry of Culture. The royal museum is open to the public for a minimal fee of RM5 for Malaysians and RM10 for non-Malaysians. Visitors will be able to stroll around the official state rooms including the audience hall and the dining room but also along the private rooms of the Royal family. It includes then the bedroom of both the King and Queen.

The Istana is now the perfect place to learn about the tradition of Royal sultans in Malaysia. And at the same time to give some nostalgic feeling about a Malaysia that was still proud of century-old traditions. The Royal Museum is now part of Malaysia Department of Museums. Some 120,000 visitors are coming every year.
A park surrounds the palace. Within its 11.34-hectare compound, the palace garden contains a great variety of plants and flowers, as well as the former swimming pool and indoor badminton hall. The museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm.