Popular Destinations
Click to verify your email address to complete your account registration.
Travel Cart
Recently Deleted Deleted

Check Out These 7 Palaces in Malaysia With Traditional Malay and Islamic Architecture

03 Apr 2023
Image Credit: @yoshi85212, @miminoraziz, @aftravelog


Malaysia has 9 states which are constitutionally headed by 9 monarchs whom we call Sultan. Every 5 years, a Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be elected from one of these 9 states (through a rotation system) to become the Supreme Head of the Federation, Paramount Ruler or officially, the King of Malaysia. In conjunction with Agong’s birthday which fell on the 6th of June 2022, let’s check out these 7 palaces in Malaysia with traditional Malay and Islamic architecture.


National Palace

National Palace of Malaysia (Istana Negara)estelle_parisot

Our national palace is located along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim (formerly Jalan Duta) in Segambut. The whole palace complex has 3 main entry points which are from Jalan Duta, Changkat Semantan and Jalan Sri Hartamas 1. Usually, tourists will stop by Jalan Duta for 📸photos.


The Front Gate of National Palace of Malaysia (Istana Negara)



Construction started in November 2007 and was completed in September 2011. The current National Palace replaced the former national palace at Jalan Istana as the official residence of Yang di-Pertuan Agong starting on 15 November 2011. The first monarch to move into this palace was Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of that time. 


The Front Gate of National Palace of Malaysia (Istana Negara)



The palace incorporated Islamic and Malay architectural elements like the 22 golden yellow domes. Visitors are not allowed to enter the palace compound, but they can take photos in front of the main gate with the royal guards and horses. Also, please don’t pull out the 💂‍♂️🧸Mr Bean move and mempersiasuikan embarrass yourself. This palace is also convenient for tourists to reach with the Hop-on-Hop-off buses.


⏰Hour: 24 Hours

📞Phone: 03-6200 1000

💻Website: https://www.istananegara.gov.my/

📍Address: Jln Tuanku Abdul Halim, Bukit Damansara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur


{ ID: 2379, Type: Products/Services }




Royal Museum (Former National Palace)

Former National Palace of Malaysia (Muzium Istana)mayakaru.travel

This former royal palace was the residence of a Chinese 💰🤑millionaire. Confused yet? Let’s start with a brief history lesson. Originally a double-storey mansion, it was built in 1928 by a local Chinese millionaire, Chan Wing.


The throne room of former National Palace of Malaysia (Muzium Istana)



Designed by the architecture firm Swan & McLaren, the mansion also housed his 👩👩👩👩👩👩👩👩8 wives and 26 children. In 1942, Chan Wing and his family fled the country during the Japanese occupation, and the mansion became the residence of the Japanese Governor. Then in 1957, more than a decade after the Japanese occupation ended, the Malayan Government bought over the mansion and converted it into our national palace. It continued to be the main residence of Yang di-Pertuan Agong until 2012.


Exhibition room in former National Palace of Malaysia (Muzium Istana)xiangyanpok


After the new palace in Segambut was inaugurated, this palace became a royal museum that the public could visit. This gives the public an opportunity to take a peek into the private life of the royals. Visitors can walk inside the palace and enter the bedrooms, throne room, bathrooms (but please don’t answer your nature’s call here-lah) and more. 




Adults: RM 5.00

Children aged 6-12: RM 2.00

Senior Citizens: RM 3.00

Disabled People: RM 3.00

Students (in uniform): RM 2.00

Students (without uniform) aged 13-17: RM 3.00

Children aged below 5: Free



Adults: RM10.00

Children: RM5.00

Children aged below 5: Free


⏰Hour: 9.00 am - 5.00 pm

(Closed on first Monday of each month, first two days of Raya Aidil Fitri and first day of Raya Aidil Adha)

📞Phone: 03-6200 1000

📍Address: Jln Istana, Istana Negara, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur


Istana Kenangan (Muzium Diraja Kuala Kangsar)

Istana Kenangan (Muzium Diraja Kuala Kangsar)myusrin

Currently a museum, this palace is also known under many names such as Muzium Diraja Kuala Kangsar, Istana Perak Lama, Istana Lembah, Istana Tepas and Istana Kenangan. This palace was built in 1926 by a carpenter from Seberang Prai called Haji Sopian with the help of his 2 sons. It served as a temporary residence for Sultan Iskandar Shah as the Negara palace was demolished to make way for the new Iskandariah Palace. His royal highness resided in Istana Kenangan for a short while from 1931 to 1933.


The front view of Istana Kenangan (Muzium Diraja Kuala Kangsar)



The palace displays the impressive workmanship of traditional Perak Malay architecture. It is said that the plan view of the building resembles a sword. The wall incorporates the traditional Malay mat weaving called “kelarai” while the roof has the design of “perabung pisang sesikat”. The colours used on this building are white, black and yellow to symbolise the flag of Perak. The most impressive thing about the whole building is that it was built using Billian wood without a single metal nail used!


The front view of Istana Kenangan (Muzium Diraja Kuala Kangsar)



Visitors can enter the palace and explore the entire building for free! However, visitors are not allowed to photograph the interior of the palace, only the exterior is allowed.





⏰Hour: 10.00am - 4.30pm, 10am – 12.15pm, 2.45 – 4.30pm (Fri)

📞Phone: 05-776 5500 / 05-777 5362 / 05-241 0048

📧E-mail: [email protected]

💻Website: http://muzium.perak.gov.my/index.php/en/

📍Address: Istana Lama Bukit Chandan, Perak, 33000 Kuala Kangsar


Istana Seri Menanti (Istana Lamo Seri Menanti Minangkabau)

Couple posing in front of Istana Seri Menanti (Istana Lamo Seri Menanti Minangkabau)mrsbob_yp

This is another palace in Malaysia built in the olden days without a single nail. Completed in 1908 at a cost of $45,000.00 at that time, this palace was built to replace Istana Pulih which got 🔥burned down by British soldiers during the Bukit Putus war. It was the residence of Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan in the early 1900s. In 1992, Istana Seri Menanti was gazetted as a royal museum.


Interior of Istana Seri Menanti (Istana Lamo Seri Menanti Minangkabau)



This unique palace was built with Chengal (Penak) wood and iron wood or Billian wood and held together using only wooden pegs. It was built by Malay carpenters Kahar, Taib and other carpenters. The 4-storey building features 99 columns made of Chengal wood representing the 99 warriors of various clans. In the middle of the palace are four 67ft long columns that symbolise the four senior officials of the palace (Orang Empat Istana). Meanwhile, the shape of the roof resembles the horn of a 🐃buffalo, and it is a style unique to the Minangkabau kingdom of Pagaruyung.


Rumah Tukang Kahar at Istana Seri Menanti (Istana Lamo Seri Menanti Minangkabau)



Today, Istana Seri Menanti is a museum which exhibits collections from the royal family of Negeri Sembilan. Throughout the years, the palace retains its original architecture, and visitors can see the interior just like how it was when it was built. There is also a smaller house within the palace compound to show visitors the unique architecture of a Minangkabau style house of a commoner. The house originally belonged to Kahar bin Siak Bakhi, a carpenter who built the Istana Seri Menanti and faced the river and paddy. It was opened up and reinstalled by LMNS in 2014 on the palace compound.





⏰Hour: 9.00am - 5.00pm, 10am – 12.15pm, 2.45 – 5.00pm (Fri)

📞Phone: 06-497 9653

📍Address: Minangkabau, 3, N24, Kampung Tanjung Beringin, 71550 Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan


Istana Jahar

Istana Jaharmuhamadfariqbin

Spiral staircase in Istana Jahar



This palace was once a royal residence of the Sultan of Kelantan. In 1855, Sultan Muhammad II of Kelantan built Istana Jahar for his grandson, Long Kundur. It features a pentagon-shaped porte-cochère with a balcony from which the royal family could watch ceremonies held in front of the palace. Long Kundur then became Sultan Muhammad III in 1889 and made it one of his residences besides Istana Balai Besar.


A Malay lady wearing traditional kelantanese malay costume at Istana Jahar



3 little girls looking at the exhibits of antique keris in Istana Jahar



Actually, this palace wasn’t given a name until 1911, when Sultan Muhamad IV returned from Singapore and repaired the palace. Istana Jahar was named after a plant that is found around the palace. Today, Istana Jahar is Kelantan’s royal museum that displays the history of the Kelantan sultanate from the beginning until now. Amongst the precious royal artefacts on display are weapons, traditional attires, and other historical information about the Kelantan sultanate.




Adult: RM 1.00

Children aged: RM 1.00



Adult: RM4.00

Children: RM2.00


⏰Hour: 8.30am - 4.30pm

📞Phone: 09-748 4477

📍Address: Jalan Sultan, Bandar Kota Bharu, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan


Istana Balai Besar

Entrance of Istana Balai Besar izzatiaminn

Although the sultan of Kelantan no longer resides in this palace, Istana Balai Besar has been used as a palace for official ceremonies and observation of royal customs since 1845. This palace was built by a skilled carpenter called Muhamad Salleh who was the only man skilled in carpentry and carving; at that time. He hailed from Terengganu but resided in Kampung Kangkong which is a territory of Pasir Mas. Construction of the palace began in 1942 and was completed in 1944.


Front gate of Istana Balai Besar



Even though this palace is not open to the public, many visitors still flock to the palace to admire the intricate carvings on its gate. Interestingly, this palace was once opened to the public for the vaccination program in 2021. So those who actually went in there to receive your 💉COVID-19 vaccine, consider yourself lucky then.


⏰Hour: 7.30am - 4.30pm

📞Phone: 09-741 6600

📧E-mail: [email protected]

💻Website: https://pejsultan.kelantan.gov.my/index.php/pelancongan/istana-balai-besar

📍Address: Jalan Tengku Seri Akar, Bandar Kota Bharu, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan


Istana Bandar

Istana Bandardeviki9

This palace is interesting as the architecture combines Islamic influences from India and the Middle East. From far, this white-washed palace might look like a western mansion but upon close inspection, you will notice the small minarets, Islamic arches and more. Not only that, but this palace’s architecture also has some Chinese influence as Chinese builders were involved in building the palace. Istana Bandar is also known as Istana Alaeddin after the name of Sultan Sir Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah.


Istana Bandar



This palace has 15 rooms and was built using materials like 🧱bricks, concrete, marble and Chengal woods. After the independence of Malaysia, the royal family of Selangor no longer resided in it as the administration of the central government was moved to Kuala Lumpur. Following that, Istana Bandar was converted into a local handicraft centre before being turned into a centre for Tahfiz al-Quran. In 1980, It was gazetted as an old monument and historical site.


Istana Bandar



There is even a secret garden built especially for the princesses and royal family of Sultan Alaeddin to chillax. During the rule of Sultan Alaeddin, there was a clubhouse, a warehouse to store weapons & firearms and an office but now, the main building is all that’s left. This palace is located within 15 mins' driving distance to Bukit Jugra, so you might want to drop by there for 🪂paragliding?





⏰Hour: 7.30am - 4.30pm

📞Phone: 03 3103 0048 / 03 3103 1279

📧E-mail: [email protected]

💻Website: https://www.visitselangor.com/istana-bandar-jugra/

📍Address: Kampung Sungai Ingat, 42700 Banting, Selangor


{ ID: 733, Type: Products/Services }





Actually, there are many more palaces in Malaysia but we didn’t mention them because we picked the most worthy to visit ones for you guys! If you like what you read, remember to follow our Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.





{ ID: 20, Type: Blog }


{ ID: 159, Type: Blog }


{ ID: 76, Type: Blog }
Table of Contents