My Notebook

A bus ride to the Top must visit museums of Malaysia

A trip to Malaysia, while including visits to the popular tourist spots of Kuala Lumpur and Penang, must also be one where you explore the hidden gems of this Southeast Asian country. One such gem is Borneo’s most sophisticated that is a melting pot of cultures in itself.

Buses, as is common throughout Malaysia easily do traveling. Express buses plying to different cities are many in number and you can book your ticket simply via online, I would like to suggest, for added convenience.

A mix of several different traditions and eras, the timeless charm of Kuching will mean that you can spend hours together ambling through its pretty alleys and roads. And when here, these three museums are a must visit:

Cat Museum: Yes, you read it right. This cat museum is one feline lovers will make their second home. Learn more about how cats have been portrayed in stamps and films, and how they have been represented in Malay culture. Your cat-loving soul will be well rejuvenated. Located in Petrajaya in Kuching city it is one of the most visited placed by tourists. Cat lovers will find a huge range of exhibits here ranging from photos to feline art and cat souveniers. There are more than 4000 such exhibits here and this one of a kind museum is located on the ground floor of the City Hall Building. It is spread across 4 galleries with a total area of about 2000 sq mtrs. A fee of RM3 is charged for camera and RM5 for a video camera. The place is open from 9:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily. However, it is closed on public holidays.

Ethnology Museum: All that you need to know about Borneo’s rich cultural history lies within this two storied museum. The Iban longhouse, masks and spears, Kenyah and Kayan murals are housed upstairs while the floor below is a natural history museum.

Sarawak Textile Museum: This museum does complete justice to traditional Sarawakian textiles—from Malay gold brocade, known as songket, ceremonial headdresses stitched in different patterns by the different groups of Iban, Penan and others. This museum is known to showcase some of the most authentic textiles that have been made by the ethnic communities living here. Contemporary work of designs is also kept on display, which give visitors an insight about how a finished product like weaving came into existence.

National Museum: This museum offers a rich look at Malaysian history, with four galleries covering everything from the formation of the rain forest through to Malaysia today. The best exhibits are Early History, with artifacts from Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures; and the Malay Kingdoms, which highlights the rise of Islamic kingdoms in the Malay Archipelago. Recommended free museum tours are offered at 10am Monday to Saturday and again at 2pm on Thursday. Note that the museum may close for renovations in 2017. Outside, look for a gorgeous traditional raised house; ancient burial poles from Sarawak; a regularly changing exhibition (extra charge); and two excellent small side galleries.