Local Festival and Attractions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Populated by Malays, Chinese, Indians and indigenous groups, Malaysia boasts a rich cultural heritage. Whether it is the wonderful variety of annual festivals and celebrations, or the traditional architecture and sights, no matter when you decide to visit, there will always be some fascinating sights to experience.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year celebrates the first day of the lunar calendar, and lasts for 15 days. Traditional celebrations of the festival include having reunion dinner with family, giving red envelopes ('ang pao'), lighting firecrackers, buying new clothes and decorations. Lion and dragon dances, red paper lanterns and acrobatics in major malls and temples are but a few of the activities you will see in the weeks leading up to the festival and fireworks will light up the skies during the celebrations.
In Malaysia, Thaipusam is an annual Hindu festival celebrated with a colourful procession and compelling rituals, mainly taking place in Batu Caves. Celebrated by the country's Tamil Indian community, the Hindu devotees prepare themselves by piercing hooks and skewers through their bodies to showcase devotion to the deity Lord Murugan. This also makes Thaipusam one of the best times to visit Batu Caves.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Hari Raya Aidilfitri, also known as Eid al-Fitr Internationally, is celebrated by the Muslim community in Malaysia with joyous celebrations of forgiveness, fellowship and food. It marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Shopping malls are colourfully decorated for this occasion, with decorations such as fairy lights, ketupat-shaped ornaments and Arabian markets.
Deepavali is the biggest festival for local Hindu communities in commemoration of Lord Rama returning to Ayodhya after his 14-year banishment, signifying the triumph of good over evil. Also called 'Diwali' or Festival of Lights, Hindu temples, major shopping malls and Little India in Brickfields will be decorated with an array of colourful lights, oil lamps, flowers and intricate floor designs that are made with coloured rice and powder.
It may be summer all year round in Malaysia, but the Christmas celebrations are still festive in a Malaysian way! A month before Christmas, Kuala Lumpur’s streets are lined with bright lights; malls bring out their most elaborate Christmas decorations and fun-filled festive activities line-up to lift your Christmas spirit.
Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka)
Merdeka Square or known as Dataran Merdeka in Malay, is undoubtedly Kuala Lumpur's most recognizable landmark. This is the historical place where Malaysia proclaimed the freedom or independence on August 31, 1957. From then on, Merdeka Square has been the venue for the annual National Day parade.
Formerly the National Palace of the King and Queen of Malaysia, Royal Museum is a must-visit attraction in Kuala Lumpur for those who would like to see and experience the glamour and history associated with royal life. Guests who visit the museum will be accompanied by a former palace guard for a full guided tour.
Batu Caves is one of Malaysia’s most distinctive and awe-inspiring natural cavern. Within the giant limestone caves, a 120-year-old temple features idols and statues erected inside and around it. It is considered an important religious landmark by local Hindus where thousands of devotees will gather for the annual Thaipusam festival.
Thean Hou Temple
Built by Kuala Lumpur's Hainanese community in 1894, Thean Hou Temple, or known as the Temple of the Goddess of Heaven, is one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia. Dedicated to Tian Hou, a goddess said to protect fishermen, the temple is also a shrine where many come to worship Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. During Chinese festivals such as Chinese New Year and Vesak Day, thousands of devotees from all around the country frequent the temple. It is also a popular wedding venue among local Chinese.
Royal Selangor Visitor's Centre
Malaysia is famous for a rare metal alloy called Pewter. Located 8km away from Kuala Lumpur city centre, Royal Selangor, the world's largest pewter manufacturer offers visitors an opportunity to tour the factory, try your hand at creating a pewter dish at the School of Hard Knocks or making your own jewellery at The Foundry.