Malaysia is a multicultural country in Southeast Asia that is a cultural melting pot of Malay, Indian, and Chinese cultures. The land is a treasure trove of wonders, with such a rich cultural history, delicious food, and lush tropical landscapes. Its rich biodiversity draws visitors to its natural attractions, while astounding feats of architecture, both modern and historical, draw them into its cities. Here are the top 10 architectural landmarks in Malaysia that you should not miss.
1. Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Twin Towers, which stand 451.9 m above Kuala Lumpur’s skyline, is the city’s tallest landmark. It is also the world’s tallest twin tower. The towers were completed in 1998 and held the record for the tallest building in the world until 2004, when Taipei 101 surpassed it. The design of the towers was inspired by Islamic art, and because the facade is mostly made of steel and glass, the buildings always appear to shimmer no matter what time of day you visit.
2. Thean Hou Temple
Thean Hou Temple, which sits atop Robinson Heights, was built in 1987. Although it is not the city’s oldest temple, it is arguably one of its most beautiful. The six-tiered temple combines Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The temple complex has a massive area of 6,758m2, making it Malaysia’s largest Mazu temple. It has stunning architecture, including colourful frescoes, ornate rooftops, and massive dragon pillars.
3. Kellie's Castle
Kellie’s Castle is an abandoned and unfinished mansion in Ipoh that was built by William Kellie Smith, a Scottish man who moved to Malaysia to make his fortune. The castle itself is a mash-up of various design styles, including Moorish and Roman. Kellie died in 1926 after contracting pneumonia, leaving the castle unfinished.
4. Langkawi Sky Bridge
The Langkawi Sky Bridge provides breathtaking 360-degree views of the Langkawi Archipelago and the mountains of the Mat Chinchang that surround the peak. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Southern Thailand from the Sky Bridge, which is 125 m long and 660 m above sea level. The bridge is an easy walk, and there are plenty of sections where you can stop for pictures. On the bridge, there are also clear sections where you can see directly below you.
5. Melaka Straits Mosque
Melaka Straits Mosque is a beautiful white structure located on an artificial island in the waters of the Melaka Straits, an important shipping channel. The mosque, which was finished in 2006, has a golden dome, colourful stained glass work on the archways, and a thirty-meter high minaret that also serves as a lighthouse. The mosque almost appears to float, and sunset is a great time for photographers to visit because the light reflects off the water and illuminates the structure as darkness falls.
6. Kek Lok Si Temple
Kek Lok Si Temple is one of Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist temples, built on the flank of 830 m high Penang Hill. Between 1890 and 1930, the entire complex of buildings, including a five-story pagoda and a 36.7 m tall statue of Goddess Guanyin, was constructed. The place comes to life during the Chinese New Year when it’s lit up with thousands of lanterns for the whole month.
7. Dutch Square and Christ Church
The Dutch Square is also known as the “Red Square” because all of the buildings are painted in vibrant red, accentuated by nearby market stalls’ colorful trishaws and umbrellas. This is the site of Melaka’s Dutch colonisation, and the Christ Church at the centre of the square is a must-see for tourists. The church was finished in 1753 by the Dutch, who used bricks shipped all the way from Holland.
8. Perak Cave Temple
Perak Cave Temple was founded in 1926 by a Chinese couple from Jiao Ling Province. After approximately 50 years of hard work, the Perak Cave Temple has become one of Malaysia’s most beautiful and famous cave temples. Visitors will notice the massive 15-meter tall Buddha statue as soon as they enter the temple. Beautiful paintings of Buddhist deities and mythical creatures such as dragons and phoenixes surround the figure.
9. KL Tower
At 276 m in height, this Malaysian landmark provides some of the most spectacular views of Kuala Lumpur. The tall needle-like tower, which was completed in 1996, is a telecommunications and broadcasting tower with an observation deck at the top that provides visitors with a birds-eye view of the city below. KL Tower was created to reflect Malaysia’s Islamic heritage, with Islamic tiles, abstract motifs, and Arabic scripts.
10. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also known as the Blue Mansion due to its bright blue facade, is a heritage building in the UNESCO World Heritage City of George Town. The mansion was built in the 1840s in the Straits Eclectic style for Chinese businessman Cheong Fatt Tze. The mansion is decorated with Art Nouveau stained glass and cast-iron balustrades, giving it a western feel. The mansion was sadly abandoned after Cheong Fatt Tze’s death in 1916, but it was restored to its former glory over a six-year period. The mansion is currently used as a hotel and restaurant, but tours of the public areas are available.