The Perdana Botanical Garden (fondly known to locals as the Lake Gardens) is a peaceful, green respite hidden away from the noise and concrete of Kuala Lumpur. Lush, alive, and buzzing with life, the public space contains many interesting and free attractions for escaping the city one afternoon. You can explore landscaped gardens, a lake, even a miniature Stonehenge replica – all for free!
Easily accessible by walking, train, or bus, the Perdana Botanical Garden is located just southwest of Chinatown near the National Mosque, the KTM Old Railway Kuala Lumpur station, and the historic Dataran Merdeka square.
(Read about Kuala Lumpur's other indispensable neighborhoods for a better picture of the lay of the land.)
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The Botanical Gardens' Park
Spread over 220 acres in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, the Lake Gardens' botanical park feels like an island of green calm, far removed from the city's chaos. In the mornings, joggers and tai chi practitioners inhabit the paths and pavilions. In the afternoons, picnickers bond while enjoying the view.
Between the various attractions, the Perdana Lake Gardens are an enjoyable, shady place to simply stroll around. A variety of outdoor sculptures dot the area including a scale mock-up of England's Stonehenge. Benches offer a place to relax and admire the butterflies that have escaped the nearby park.
The Gardens were conceived and pioneered by the then-British state treasurer of Selangor, A.R. Venning. The park has since developed beyond Venning's wildest imaginings, with a museum and several nature-based pavilions attached to the capital's greenest patch.
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The Park's Hibiscus and Orchid Gardens
Free to the public, the Taman Orkid is a beautiful, well-landscaped garden where people may roam about, relax on benches, and enjoy the sweet smells of exotic flora. Water trickles over stones past vine-covered trellises and tropical trees with leaves larger than the visitors.
The hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and it is showcased with pride by the local hobbyists that maintain the manicured gardens.
Operating hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Including weekends and holidays.
Admission: Free on weekdays; weekends and public holidays entrance costs RM 1 (about 30 cents).
Contact: +60 03-2693 5399
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Set on a hillock just outside the Lake Gardens, the National Planetarium offers an interesting look at Malaysia's extraterrestrial ambitions.
This futuristic-looking blue-domed building next to the National Museum offers an interesting set of rotating exhibits, including an interesting exhibit about the Malaysian space program and daily shows for a very low price.
Visitors with a strong stomach can take a ride in the “space ball” which simulates the high G-forces of reentry.
Operating hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Admission: MYR 1 (about 20 US cents) for the exhibit. Shows change periodically and cost from MYR 3 - MYR 6 ($1-$2).
Contact: +60 03-2273 4301
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The Kuala Lumpur Deer Park
The two-hectare KL Deer Park is an enclosed space containing a groomed lake, jogging trail, and a few species of deer including mouse deer.
Also known as the chevrotain, the mouse deer is the smallest hoofed animal in the world - and plays a part in Malaysian folklore, generally as a wily trickster.
Operating hours: The KL Deer Park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact: +60 03-2615 8188Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The KL Bird Park
First opened in 1991, the KL Bird Park now hosts a hundred birds over several free-flight aviaries. More sanctuary than zoo, the Bird Park feels more like a rain forest, with thousands of tropical plants and other species (monkeys, lizards, and butterflies) to complete the illusion.
Try to time your visit according to the daily feeding times of popular residents; during feeding times, colorful birds that you'll usually miss will fly down from the canopy, becoming perfectly visible to visitors.
Bird shows take place at the zone 4 amphitheater twice a day, at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Operating hours: The KL Bird Park is open from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. including weekends and public holidays.
Admission: Adult - RM 42 (about $13); Children from 3 to 12 years old - RM 32 (about $10).
Contact: +60 03-2272 1010; http://www.klbirdpark.com (offsite)
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Getting to the Perdana Botanical Gardens
With the Lake Gardens' central location in the capital, access is quite easy for visitors. Buses B115, B112, and B101 all stop within a 5-minute walk of the Perdama Lake Gardens. Another option is to take the KTM Komuter train to the Old Kuala Lumpur station. (Read more about using trains in Kuala Lumpur.)
A one-hour Segway tour winds through the Lake Gardens, using an itinerary that departs from the National Museum and explores the gardens' walking paths and the deer park's trails. The tour costs MYR 299 (about US$66) - totally worth it, if only to avoid the sweat and effort of hoofing it entirely.
An inexpensive tram service leaves from Dataran Merdeka's KL City Gallery and explores the Lake Gardens and the rest of the heritage park around it. You can hop off at any stop, and hop back on the next tram that comes by. The service costs MYR 2 (about US$0.45) and half that for children.
The Perdama Lake Gardens are tucked away behind the National Mosque and Old Kuala... Lumpur Railway Station, just a short walk from Chinatown.
Edited by Mike Aquino