The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur’s standout museum, home to over 9,000 Islamic artifacts from around the world. Collections span the gamut from Korans to tiles, carpets to jewelry, textiles to calligraphy, and architecture to ancient medical texts. To understand the role Islam played in world civilization, start here.
There is a charge to visit the Islamic Arts Museum, and exhibits are clearly labeled in English, meaning there’s no need for a guide. However, the collection is spread over around 320,000 square feet (30,000 square meters) across three floors and can take a while to experience. Time-pressed travelers might prefer to join a museum tour, which is often bundled with nearby attractions such as the National Mosque, the Planetarium, the National Monument, and Perdana Botanical Garden.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is a must for fans of history and culture.
- The gift shop is a great place to shop for souvenirs.
- There is no formal dress code at the Islamic Arts Museum, but you may feel uncomfortable if you flash a lot of flesh.
- The Islamic Arts Museum is fully wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Islamic Arts Museum sits behind the National Mosque on the edge of the Perdana Botanical Garden (Lake Gardens) in central Kuala Lumpur. It’s about a mile (1.5 kilometers) from the nearest MRT station, Pasar Seni, so many travelers prefer to join a tour that includes door-to-door round-trip transfers in air-conditioned comfort.
When to Get There
The Islamic Arts Museum is open from morning to early evening, seven days a week, closing only once a year—for the holiday of Hari Raya Aidilfitri (the Muslim festival that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan). While rarely very crowded, it can get busy on Malaysian public holidays and weekends.
Islamic Art in Southeast Asia
Although its collection comes from around the world, the focus of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is on Islamic art from southeast Asia and China. Even lovers of Islamic art will find something new here, from Chinese ceramics with Islamic calligraphy to Malay Muslim astronomical texts. Be sure to note the museum’s intricate dome and tilework.