Royal Museum (Old Palace)

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It pains me to give such a dismal rating to a national monument, but this place was a disappointment.

In point form:

  • Strollers aren’t allowed.
    • Nowhere on the blogs I searched or on the official website did they mention it. So our plans of letting our daughter sleep during the visit were thwarted, and we hadn’t brought the carrier with us either, so we had to carry her around in our arms instead, which didn’t make for an easy walking experience.
  • You have to remove your shoes.
    • Not a huge problem, but I find it to inconvenience people for no good reason, as no one lives in the palace, and no other museum expects you to remove your shoes.
  • The photo exhibition and descriptions of the rooms are half-hearted and half-done.
    • They left me with more questions than answers. For example, there was a photo of the King and Queen of Sweden visiting the Agong at that time. The caption said it was “undated”. Tell me, how difficult is it to find out when the King and Queen of Sweden, who so seldom come to Malaysia, visited this particular Agong, who is only reigning for 5 years?
    • We found out that the palace used to be a mansion owned by a Chinese man. But that’s it. No explanation of who he was, how he got this prime plot of land, how it became government property, etc.
    • That’s just two examples of the tour lacking in information.
  • The furniture and decorations looked like replacements.
    • A blogger had suspected that the good stuff was in the new palace, and these were just secondary furniture. Fair enough. But then the entry price is not worth it to see hotel beds in empty rooms, and (uncaptioned) photographs of Agongs playing golf.

The entrance price for Malaysians is RM5 and for foreigners is RM10. This is a ridiculously high price to pay for seeing something with no added value apart from the structure which you can see from the outside, and a peek at the gardens (which you can’t walk on). I say this even after having visited the National Museum which is RM2 for locals, which is not a terrible place, but does leave you with an awkward taste of propaganda in your mouth.

If you want to visit a national museum, I would recommend the National Visual Arts Gallery. Not only is it free, but the exhibitions change and so each time you get to see something new. Also, the descriptions of the exhibitions and each exhibit are so much more detailed and intelligent.

Visit the Royal Museum only if you want to avoid shopping malls and if it’s too hot outside for a park (although the air conditioning wasn’t working in some rooms and there was damp and leaking in others).


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