Don’t judge an art gallery by its cover
Published/Last edited or updated: 19th December, 2017
If you’re looking for insight into the local art scene, you could do worse than start your quest at Kuala Lumpur’s National Gallery—and best of all, admission is free.
Unfortunately the National Gallery is quite poorly located from a public transport point of view. You can take the monorail or the Sri Petaling LRT line to Titiwangsa but from there it is a solid and decidedly pedestrian unfriendly 30 minute hike to the gallery. The things people do for their art huh.
As with the “Palace of Culture”, the Istana Budaya, which you’ll hike past on your way here, the architecture of the National Gallery is striking, though probably not in a positive manner. It is a hard edged blue tinted structure which probably looked impressive when the gallery was established in 1958, but it is definitely looking its age today.
But, we’re not here to talk about what the building looks like, and in this case, the beauty is all within, with two lobby level galleries and then two floors above, each with two primary galleries apiece.
The KL Biennale was on display when we visited in very late 2017 and we spent a solid couple of hours working through the galleries, though you could easily spend longer. Displays were all clearly labelled in English and Malay and once we got our head around the maps in the complimentary brochure we found our way around easily. There is also a ground floor cafe should you need a refreshing drink.
Admission is free.
To reach the National Gallery by public transport you need to get to the above-mentioned Titiwangsa LRT or monorail station then exit and walk east along Jalan Tun Razak. After about ten minutes you’ll reach a major traffic interchange, where you need to take the underpass on your left. The underpass will take you to the centre of the traffic interchange and you’ll see a smaller footpath running off to your left—it looks like it goes nowhere, but at the end of it there is a staircase which takes you back up to the roads and you’re just left needing to bolt across two lanes of traffic. Once back on the footpath, the National Gallery is another ten minutes of walking to reach—you’ll pass the super spiky looking National Theatre along the way.
If you’ve got some lose time after your gallery visit, Titiwangsa Lake Gardens are a 15 minute walk away, just to the north of the gallery. They’re a bit scruffy and far from Kuala Lumpur’s best park, but, as you’re in the area, a visit tis worth considering. To reach them, when leaving the gallery, turn left and follow the road as it dog legs up towards the park.
Address: 2 Jalan Temerloh, off Jalan Tun Razak
T: (03) 4026 7000; F: (03) 4025 4987;
Coordinates (for GPS): 101º42'17.96" E, 3º10'24.85" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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