Housed in a beautiful Minangkabau-style building in Kuala Lumpur, the National Museum (Muzium Negara) details Malaysia’s rich history and diverse cultural heritage. Spanning the prehistoric age to present day, four distinctive galleries exhibit fascinating artifacts such as Palaeolithic-era tools thought to be more than 200,000 years old.
The National Museum provides a fantastic introduction to Malaysia’s history and is therefore a great way to kick-start your time in Kuala Lumpur (KL). Sightseeing tours nearly always feature the National Museum on the itinerary: Even if you don’t go inside, you’re still likely to stop to admire the museum’s exterior. Comprehensive KL tours typically combine the museum with stops at the Batu Caves, the Petronas Towers, and the National Mosque (Masjid Negara).
Things to Know Before You Go
- The museum appeals to history buffs and first-time visitors seeking an overview of Malaysia’s history.
- The National Museum is fully wheelchair-accessible.
- There is a small admission fee to enter the museum, which typically takes travelers 45 minutes to enjoy. Children ages 6 and under enter for free.
- Within walking distance of the museum, the Perdana Botanical Gardens provide a relaxing break from the bustle of the city.
How to Get There
The museum is accessible by the RapidKL bus 115 and is stop number 12 on Kuala Lumpur hop-on hop-off buses—a sightseeing option that combines the freedom of independent travel with the convenience of a tour. Parking is available for a small charge. In order to skip the hassle of using public transport in an unfamiliar city, most travelers opt to visit the museum as part of a city tour.
When to Get There
The National Museum is open daily from 9am until 6pm. From Monday through Saturday at 10am, Malay volunteers offer free guided tours in English.
Highlights of the National Museum
Across the prehistoric, colonial, Malay, and modern-day galleries, museum must-sees include a seated bodhisattva (a person who has reached the Buddhist state of nirvana) thought to be 1,000 years old; a replica of the oldest intact human skeleton in Southeast Asia; an ancient burial pole from Borneo; and a steam locomotive used during Malaysia’s colonial period.