Photo: Suitably tropical.

Perdana Botanical Gardens

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The largest and most pleasant of Kuala Lumpur’s public green spaces, Perdana Botanical Gardens sprawls out behind the National Museum, offering a limited escape from the big smoke.

Also known as KL Lake Gardens, Perdana Botanical Gardens was established in 1888 and encompasses over 90 hectares of absolutely prime real estate, stretching from behind the National Museum all the way up the small hill it sits on, to the National Monument. KL Bird Park, the Islamic Arts Museum and the National Museum all abut its eastern edge.

No shortage of big trees. Photo taken in or around Perdana Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

No shortage of big trees. Photo: Stuart McDonald

You’d think with such a central setting the gardens would be easy to reach, but sadly that is far from the case. The easiest approach—take our word for it—is to get a Grab Car to the National Monument, enjoy that, and then spend half a day walking downhill, perhaps taking in KL Bird Park along the way, and eventually popping out near the National Museum. The primary advantage of this is that you’ll be walking down hill almost the entire way, but a second point is that the park is notoriously difficult to approach from the bottom.

If you’re already at the National Mosque or the Islamic Arts Museum, then you can walk up Jalan Perdana, past the entrance to the Planetarium and past the bird park and then into the park proper. Or if you get to the National Museum, there is a steep staircase that runs up to the Planetarium, from where you take a left, perhaps needing to jump a fence if the gate is closed, and then you’re in the park, or as a second National Museum option, walk along Jalan Damansara (the big road which separates the museum from the St Regis) and after the museum, on your right there is an underpass that will take you into the park. The problem with all three of these approaches is that you’re entering the park at the base, and it is all uphill from there.

Start at the top. You can thank us later!

Throwing shade. Photo taken in or around Perdana Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Throwing shade. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Aside from the aforementioned KL Bird Park and Planetarium, the park is also home to a small deer park, a butterfly garden, a herbarium and a few artificial lakes decorated with fountains. There is a small cycad forest, an orchid garden, some stands of bamboo and more than a few park benches well suited to canoodling. There was plenty of canoodling happening Sunday lunchtime!

We visited on a Sunday and crowds (aside from canoodlers) were light, but it was also one o’clock in the afternoon and hot as hell so that could have had something to do with it. We walked all the way around the lower lake which took an hour or so. You could still hear the din of the traffic, but it was pleasant nevertheless. Keep your eyes open for monitor lizards as there are plenty in the park, and at the top of the lower lake there is a large covered space that is well suited to a bit of downtime.

Throwing more interesting shade. Photo taken in or around Perdana Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Throwing more interesting shade. Photo: Stuart McDonald

We’d recommend heading here in the late afternoon or early morning to escape the brunt of the heat as despite there being plenty of shade, it tends not to be over the pathways. If you’re travelling with kids and just want some open spaces for them to run around in, then we’d say KLCC park is the better bet, as, while it is a smaller park, it is far easier to reach than here.

Admission is free and the park is open from 08:00 to 18:00 daily.

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Perdana Botanical Gardens
Mo–Su: 08:00–18:00

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