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Kuala Lumpur: Water Gardens

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Published on Mar 11, 2010

Last stop on my snapshot look around Kuala Lumpur is the city's oldest and most popular park, the Lake Gardens. Spread over 92 contoured hectares, the park is feast of botanical gardens and is famously known for being home the city's Butterfly Park, Deer Park, Orchid Garden, Hibiscus Garden and Bird Park. Set around a large, man-made lake, the park has rolling manicured lawns, running tracks, pedaloes for hire and other facilities.

Lake Gardens is located near the Parliament building and almost opposite KL Sentral railway station, from where I accessed it. The route wasn't obvious and I ended up crossing through a multi-story car park tucked between two towering hotels, down a couple of access ramps, hugging the side of a slip road and darting across a quiet dual carriageway, only a few minutes effort. That landed me into the grounds of the National Museum from where a subway finished in an array of soft pastel-shades took me under a busy road before jettisoning me into one corner of the Lake Gardens (In Malaysian: Taman Tasik Perdana) and onto path that was busy with afternoon joggers despite the blazing heat.

The park has a long, paved path chasing along the side of the large lake and leading round to a narrow waterway which opens into a dock for renting pedaloes, rowing boats and other watercraft. There is also a compact Edible Garden here. Being the Chinese New Year most of the park's attractions are shut and it is also getting towards late afternoon by now.

Turning away to climb the hill up the side of the park, the steep, neatly-stepped path leads under a wrought-iron archway that announces the Tun Abul Razak Memorial, sited at the former official residence of Tun Abul Razak, the second Prime Minister of Malaysia. Immediately on the right of the still-climbing path is a Settlement House. This was contributed to the Tun Abdul Ramak Memorial by the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) and is a basic dwelling. 12 m by 12 m it comprising of a bathroom, bedroom and living room while outside under a covered awning there is an old Yamaha motorcycle and bicycle fitting of the era. Right at the top of the hill is Sri Taman, his residence, which was built in 1961 and occupied by Tun Abul Razak until his death in 1976. He is remembered with fondness by Malaysians in particular for his rural improvement programmes and emphasis on social justice and this smart building is now a memorial, full of mementos of his time in office, gifts he received, personal possessions, collections of papers, documents and other artifacts. His study and bedroom are apparently perfectly preserved. However it is shut today. Unusually though on either side of the main entrance are two curious exhibits, a speedboat and golf cart that once were cherished by the former Prime Minister.

Without much time to linger it is past this memorial, and past the Bird Park, apparently the largest in Southeast Asia with huge nets chasing their way down the steep slope on the opposite side of the hill to the park. Before the road drops downwards the National Planetarium swings into view.

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