One of the oldest surviving examples of traditional Malay architecture, Malay House is formally known as Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman and more commonly called just Rumah Penghulu. It’s a beautifully preserved dark-wood stilt home set in a garden with around 50 species of native plants.The Basics
There is no charge to visit Malay House, but if you want to explore inside the structure you’ll need to pay to join one of the twice-daily tours. As it’s only the heritage association’s own tour guides who can gain access to the house, few organized Kuala Lumpur tours stop here, although you can always request a visit when exploring with a private guide. Malay House is an easy stop on a self-guided Kuala Lumpur walking tour, provided you time your arrival correctly.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Malay House is a must for fans of history and architecture.
- While the house itself is around a century old, the furnishings are modern.
- Tours last between 45 minutes and an hour. If visiting outside tour times, you can be finished in 10 minutes.
- The structure is unmodified and accessed by steps, with no wheelchair options.
Malay House stands incongruously close to the heart of downtown Kuala Lumpur. It’s a 15-minute walk from Petronas Twin Towers and a 10-minute walk from Bukit Bintang Street, while it’s no distance from the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex. The closest station, Raja Chulan Monorail, is about a half-mile (900 meters) walk.When to Get There
Malay House is open from morning to afternoon Monday through Saturday, but closed on Sundays and public holidays. Rumah Penghulu tours run twice a day, at 11am and 3pm, and it’s well worth timing your visit to coincide with one. At other times of day, you’ll only be able to peek through the slats from the garden.The Story of Rumah Penghulu
Penghulu Abu Seman bin Nayan, headman of a village in the Malaysian coastal state of Kedah, built Malay House in phases between 1910 and 1930. After his son died with no male heirs, it was abandoned, until Badan Warisan Malaysia, a heritage center, bought it in 1995, moved it to Kuala Lumpur, and carefully restored it.