The Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens contain many of Malaysia’s most popular tourist attractions including the KL Bird Park, the world’s largest walk in aviary, a butterfly park, a deer park, orchid and hibiscus gardens and some great museums.
Kuala Lumpur has always been a green town whose streets are lined with banyans and raintrees, where patches of thick jungle intersperse with developed areas.
But in recent years, due to rapid urbanisation, the green areas have somewhat diminished which adds to the importance of retaining green lungs like the Lake Gardens.
In July 2011 the park was renamed Taman Botani Perdana as part of an ambitious plan to transform the 123 year old site into a world class botanical garden covering over 100 hectares.
Together with its surrounding attractions, the whole area is officially known as the Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park.
The “My Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens Trail” begins at the National Monument, an imposing bronze statue on a low hill facing the Lake Gardens.
This monument was designed by an American sculptor, Felix de Weldon, and completed in 1966. It commemorates the warriors who died defending the sovereignty of Malaysia.
In the same vicinity is a Cenotaph listing the names of (mostly British) servicemen from the Federated Malay States who were killed during World War One (1914-1918), with later additions to cover WWII (1939-1945) and the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960).
The nearby Tugu View Cafe has a terrace overlooking the monument where you can have some refreshments.
At the foot of the National Monument is the Asean Sculpture Garden, which contains six sculptures of stainless steel, glass, marble and bamboo.
These were made by artists from Asean nations in the days when Asean was made up of only six countries.
Next, enter the Lake Gardens and visit the Malaysia Cartoon & Comic House to see some original cartoon artwork.
Then take one of the footpaths leading down to the main botanical garden area next to the lakes. You will pass the Panggung Anniversary amphitheatre where cultural shows are staged periodically.
The gardens are a paradise for gardening enthusiasts and plant lovers. Be sure not to miss the Mouse-deer and Deer Park. The Mouse-deer are cute but very shy and you will be lucky to get a good photo.
The larger more common deer are less camera-shy. You can buy food for the deer at the entrance to the deer park.
Next visit the Orchid and Hibiscus Gardens. This is a park-within-a-park with its own entrance. There is a nominal admission charge on weekends but it is free on weekdays.
There are hundreds of orchids and hibiscus to see here. The hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia.
Across the street is the excellent Bird Park. It is the world’s largest free flight aviary and is one of Malaysia’s most popular tourist spots.
This is reflected in the entrance charge which, by Malaysian standards, is fairly expensive, although still good value compared to other countries.
Further along is the Tun Abdul Razak Memorial, the former official residence of the second prime minister of Malaysia. Tun Abdul Razak was a popular prime minister and was known as the Father of Development.
This museum houses an interesting collection of memorabilia, gifts and personal possessions. The bedroom and study have been preserved with their original furnishings.
Interior design students will be fascinated to see how tastes have changed since the 1970s.
Round the back of this memorial is the Felda Settlement House. The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) provided modest pre-fabricated homes of this sort to low income families under their settlement scheme.
Originally there would have been only one water pipe for every six families but today each home has its own water supply.
Finish your walk with a look inside the nearby Police Museum and the splendid Islamic Arts Museum. Also in the vicinity are the National Planetarium and the National Museum. This completes your Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens Trail.
Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens (Free admission) 9am-6pm daily
Mouse-deer and Deer Park (Free admission): Mon-Thurs: 10am-12pm; 2pm-6pm
Fri: 10am-12pm; 3pm-6pm
This article first appeared in Malaysia Traveller