We love to take pictures. Pictures that capture moments of everyday life. It is these moments of colour and light, of the extraordinary as well as the common which remind us of the immense beauty we live in. Some pictures were taken at our guesthouse. Others in our neighbourhood or somewhere around Kuala Lumpur. We hope you like them and feel inspired to discover Malaysia on your own. If you feel like having more picturesque moments in life, just follow us on Instagram (orangepekoeguesthouse). See you there! Cheers!
Finally we made good on a promise that we had given ourselves a long time ago and went to visit the Islamic Arts Museum or IAMM. Yours truly are not shying away from places of culture – on the contrary – it’s just that sometimes everyday life takes over. And we all know what that means. So it took a few attempts before we finally made it to IAMM on a sunny November morning.
We knew that we would love this place and were not disappointed. Moderate RM 12 (around US-$ 4) buy you access to some 30,000 square metres of exhibition space. The museum has a number of permanent galleries as well as temporary exhibitions.
Even though Islamic art comprises a huge field that reaches from architecture to jewellery and that stretches geographically from China to the Middle East and northern Africa, the IAMM curators refrained from over-loading the space with artifacts which is a good thing. So the 4 levels of the museum never feel over-whelming or even unmanageable. And even two short hours at the IAMM will be a rewarding experience for any visitor.
We particularly loved the collection of old Qur’ans with their beautifully gilded and painted pages. Interesting also the various models of mosques that represent the different types of mosque architecture all over the world. Another highlight is the Ottoman Room – the reconstructed interior of a traditional Ottoman house from today’s Syria.
At the end of our tour we stopped by at the museum shop which offers a nice collection of books, replicas and handicraft. For those who go hungry, the IAMM also has a restaurant (which we did not try) with local cuisine.
To sum up things: the IAMM is one of KL’s best (if not THE best) museums that is definitely worth a visit. If you have to limit yourself to one museum in KL, that’s the place to go. Don’t miss it while you stay with us at The Nest. We will be happy to advise you on special events and to assist you with organizing transportation from the guesthouse to the museum.
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Jalan Lembah Perdana
(behind the National Mosque)
Opening Hours: daily from 10am-6pm
Tip: combine your IAMM visit with a visit to the Botanical Gardens (Lake Gardens) or KL’s Bird Park. We recommend that you take a taxi to the Botanical Gardens/Bird Park from where you can walk down to the museum. At the museum you will easily find a cab that takes you back to the guesthouse.
Where to hang out. Once again, take a deep breath and shift into a lower gear. It’s all about relaxing and letting go. One place that we found particularly suitable for this exercise is The Baboon House (No. 89 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock). Run by artists, The Baboon House is all in one – a cafe/restaurant, a gallery, a studio and a home. Here is where young artists from near and afar hang out and exhibit their works. Everybody is super friendly. So it’s easy to mingle and to make new friends. But of course nobody will mind if you go there with your favorite book for an hour of me-time. Other places that we recommend are Limau-Limau Cafe on Jalan Hang Lekiu, Calanthe Artcafe (Jalan Hang Kasturi) and of course Geographer for drinks at night. If you are mobile and want to do it like the locals, you should also go for a Klebang Coconut Shake (on Jalan Klebang). This place has become an institution and is hugely popular. There are many more choices and its fun to discover these places.
Thanks to our host we also got an introduction to the Baba-Nyonya who used to play an important role in the old days. The term Baba-Nyonya (also Peranakan Chinese) refers to descendants of early Chinese immigrants (15./16. century) who mixed with locals and eventually formed an influential “cast” that had its own language, culture and cuisine. We already mentioned the Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. Excellent, authentic Nyonya food is prepared by aunty Amy at “Amy Heritage Nyonya Cuisine” (75 Jalan Melaka Raya 24). Check it out 🙂
How to get to Melaka. Coming from Kuala Lumpur it takes about 2 hours to reach Melaka. If you don’t have you own car, taking a coach might be the best option. Buses leaving from the southern bus terminal charge around RM 13 for a one-way ticket. If you like to depart from KL city center, you may want to opt for Nice ++ whose buses leave from the old railway station (tickets are RM 22 per adult). When you stay with us at The Nest, we will be happy to help you plan your onward trip to Melaka.
Tip: Melaka gets very busy on weekends. If you want to experience a more quiet, intimate place, visit during the week.
What to do. Many tourists go to Melaka just for a day trip. We believe that is a mistake because this town is all about affording the luxury of switching into a lower gear. Hang out, chill, read a good book, have a good conversation, meet interesting people from all over the world – these are all things we would associate with Melaka in addition to sightseeing in the traditional way. Of course Melaka with its long history offers plenty of things worth a visit. You will certainly end up on Jonker Street (night market on weekends) at some point, you will go for a stroll along the river and you will climb St. Paul’s Hill. You may also visit the Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum (more on the Baba-Nyonya later), the replica of the Sultan’s Palace and the Flora del Mar (taking pictures of this old vessel from the outside is enough as the inside has little to offer). Further options are the Stadthuys (now a museum, in colonial times seat of the Dutch administration), the Red (or Dutch) Square or e.g. the old Kampung Kling Mosque in Chinese architecture. We recommend all these places but we believe that it’s equally important to spend time chilling out in some of Melaka’s popular hangouts.
Even hard-core urbanites need the occasional break from busy city life. Problem is – where to go if time is limited and if you do not dispose of your own means of transportation? Here is the good news: Kuala Lumpur is blessed with a green oasis of more than 90ha that is commonly known as the Lake Gardens. Lake Gardens whose official name is “Perdana Botanical Garden” since it was revamped and upgraded not long time ago, is located close to the city centre and can easily be reached by taxi. KL’s “Central Park” which was first designed by the British is built around an artificial lake. Lush, tropical greenery, water falls, flowers, plants and differently themed sections of the park are a true feast for the eye. A deer park and a large playground make Lake Gardens also a great destination for families with children. On weekends Lake Gardens tends to get busy with locals. So if you want to have the park for yourself, go there during the week. Entrance is free.
Tip: We recommend Lake Gardens for a breakfast picnic. Get there around 8am, bring some food and coffee and enjoy a serene morning before you dive back into the hustle and bustle of downtown KL. A great way to start your day if you visit KL! You can also combine your picnic with a visit of KL’s Bird Park which is just next door.
One of the ways of experiencing traditional Kuala Lumpur is by paying a visit to its wet markets. Imbi Market is one of them and located only a few minutes away from Bukit Bintang. The market’s original name, “Pasar Bukit Bintang”, stems from a time when it was still located in the area of today’s Lot 10 shopping mall. While the location of the market has changed, its nature is still the same. Locals go there to buy everything from vegetables to flowers, seafood and meat. Even clothes, magazines and toys are for sale. Some patrons don’t come here for their groceries though, they just stop by to have breakfast or their mid-morning break. Imbi Market is also a popular destination for KL visitors who like to explore KL beyond its malls and 5-star hotels.
By 11am the market is slowly closing down. So it is best to make Imbi Market your breakfast destination one day during your stay in KL. If you like hawker food, you won’t be disappointed. Everything is fresh and “home-made” – from delicious “Kueh” (bite-sized desserts, mainly made of rice) to noodles and “Crispy Popiah” (a sort of spring roll with a filling of roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, dried shrimps and other goodies). Oh yes – and don’t forget to order a cup of Hainanese coffee. If you are not sure what to choose, just do it like the locals – you can’t go wrong with this.