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The Kuala Lumpur/Diamond Triangle contains the neighborhood of Old City Centre, Botanical Garden, North of City Centre and Kuala Lumpur/North. From Sentul in the north to Petaling Street in the south, an active street since the mid-19th century that has gone through various stages in its cultural evolution.

The name Diamond Triangle was coined as a symbol of booming prosperity. This area is an important and historic part of the city.


Birth of KL - Tin Mining[edit]

Open pit tin mining outside Kuala Lumpur in 1970

Kuala Lumpur came into existence in 1857, when a group of Chinese tin prospectors settled where the Klang and Gombak rivers meet, in what was then a deep mosquito-ridden jungle. The miners were searching for tin, and found there a rich source of the metal. They named the settlement Kuala Lumpur, which means “muddy estuary” in Malay.

By the 1860s, the landing place had become a flourishing village. Fierce rivalries over mining claims and water rights led to gang clashes and bitter feuds. Finally, the predominantly Chinese settlement was put under the leadership of Yap Ah Loy, the Kapitan Cina (Chinese headman). The Kapitan warred against crime, built a prison and quelled revolts. Under his supervision, KL grew into a thriving township.

From the last few decades of the 19th century, to the early 20th century, Malaya’s tin production continued to grow steadily to reach a peak of 52,000 tons in 1904. By then, Malaya was producing more than half of the world’s output, to meet the growing demand from Europe.

Tin became the initial driver that propelled early economic development in the Malay Peninsula, and accounted for a significant proportion of export earnings for much of the 20th century.

Convergence of Klang and Gombak river that formed Kuala Lumpur[edit]

Klang and Gombak River

The Klang and Gombak confluence was the highest point up the Klang River, where the miners could land their supplies daily for prospecting tin in Ampang, a few kilometres further inland. At that point, the Klang and Gombak river was used as a transportation pathway for the locals to carry food and supplies like jungle produce.

These rivers also became places where civilisations arose and aided the foundations of their economic fortunes, as supplies from other traders could conveniently be brought by boat, and it became a collection and dispersal point that served the tin mines.

The town, spurred on by tin-mining, started to develop beside the confluence of the Gombak and Klang rivers with the Old Market Square its commercial centre. The Chinese mainly settled around the Market Square; the Malays, later also Indian Chettiars and Indian Muslims, resided further north in areas such as Kampung Rawa.

Kl Railway Station - Development[edit]

Old KL Railway station

Sir Frank Swettenham, a British colonial official in Malaya appointed KL’s Resident in 1882, was credited with Kuala Lumpur’s rapid growth and development, and its transformation into a major urban centre.

He initiated the construction of the first railway station in Kuala Lumpur, a railway line between Klang and Kuala Lumpur, which opened in 1886. This increased accessibility to Kuala Lumpur and spurred the rapid growth of the town.

After the demolition of that first train station, the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station was built and completed in 1910, and became the main train station in Kuala Lumpur. It subsequently became the railway hub in the city for the Federated Malay States Railways and its successor, Keretapi Tanah Melayu.

The station, notable for its design in a mix of Moorish, Indo-Saracenic and Mughal architectural styles, was the only solution then to transport bulky commodities by land during the 19th century and business expansion.

British Colonial Administrative Buildings[edit]

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

When, Kuala Lumpur was made capital of Selangor in 1880, the British colonial administration moved from Klang to the more strategically advantageous Kuala Lumpur. The then British Resident William Bloomfield Douglas decided to locate the government buildings and living quarters to the west of the river.

The British colonial has left most of its government buildings and living quarters after Malaysia declared their independence, which is now called to Old CBD and this is how we can still see the existence of British Colonial Building until today.

At the heart of the colonial heritage district of Old KL, the Old CBD was also known as the British Colonial administrative district, and the beautiful colonial quarter of the city, which stands the reason why the Diamond Triangle has many colonial buildings over 100 years old.

Get in[edit]

Map of Kuala Lumpur/Diamond Triangle

Either via taxi, LRT, MRT, buses or on foot.

Get around[edit]

KL Eco Forest Park

Kuala Lumpur is the heartbeat of Malaysia, full of history, nature, and culture, and at the Diamond Triangle, there’s so much to see, do, embrace, and learn: Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square is the location where Malaya declared itself independent from colonial forces in 1957, becoming Malaysia. The KL Forest Eco Park is one of the oldest natural forests in the city, after being gazetted in 1906 as a forest reserve, and is home to over 200 species of trees and over 10 species of animals.


Kuala Lumpur Performing Art Centre (KLPAC)

Creativity and the arts are abundant in the Diamond Triangle, where one can unleash their artistic skills, or embrace the arts scene and be one with the community. The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre @ KLPAC has marked its place in the history books as the country’s first fully-integrated arts centre. An arts and cultural icon, a historical landmark, and an award-winning architectural design, come to KLPAC where the arts and theatre scene is alive and well. Central Market @ Pasar Seni is home to stall upon stall of a reflection of Malaysia’s culture - selling an Aladdin’s cave of artwork, antiques, traditional fabrics, ethnic jewellery, pewter, potteries, and handicrafts from across all ethnicities.


KL is a true shopper’s paradise, from the form and functional malls in the olden days, and to the present, where shopping centres have morphed into entertainment and lifestyle destinations. Shopping at the Diamond Triangle is truly old school and these iconic shopping landmarks have stood the test of time: Chow Kit Market, located at the Kuala Lumpur/North of City Centre which is divided into two sections, the wet and dry market, promises you rows and rows of long-established outlets, in an atmospheric setting, bustling with activity as it thrives for its community – personifying the true spirit of an Asian marketplace.


All Malaysians are passionate about food, especially local and traditional cuisine, having inherited an array of cuisines from its melting pot of cultures. At the Diamond Triangle, the choices are abundant. When you’re here, you’ll definitely feel like you’re in flavour town, as you enjoy unique flavours such as naan and nasi kandar. Flavours from many cultures are a big part of the city.

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