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This square in the centre of Kuala Lumpur holds particular significance for locals, as it is the place where Malaysian independence was officially declared – hence the name Merdeka (literally "Independence" Square). This important moment in Malaysian history is commemorated in the square every year as part of the country's Independence Day celebrations.
Although Merdeka Square now plays host to concerts and events, its carefully tended lawn and hedges were once the cricket pitch of the Royal Selangor Club. Check out the Royal Selangor Club building itself, one of the many fine examples of colonial architecture that surround the square. This Tudor-revival structure was originally a meeting-place for prominent British military officers, where they could socialise and hold cricket tournaments.
Directly opposite stands the magnificent neo-Moorish Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which was completed in 1897. The architect Arthur C. Norman drew inspiration from his time in India for this government building, hence its domed turrets, highly decorated archways and beautiful red and white brick façade. Marvel at the 41-metre clock tower as you walk past.
You'll find a number of other gems just off the square, including the 19th-century St. Mary's Cathedral, mother church of the West Malaysia Diocese, and the National Textile Museum. The latter is a treasure trove of weaving and embroidery exhibits. The Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is also well worth a visit for its wealth of historical photos and artefacts.
The main attraction, however, is the 95-metre flagpole in the south of the square. One of the tallest in the world, it marks the spot where, in 1957, the Union Jack was lowered and the Malaysian National Flag raised for the first time, thereby officially marking the start of Malaysia's independence from the UK.
You'll find Merdeka Square right in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, just west of the Gombak River and a short walk from the Jamek Mosque. Public transport is an easy and cheap option but, if you want to drive, there's a paid underground car park at the southern end. The square is open every day and entry to it, the city gallery and the textile museum is free of charge.
There are so many fun ways to get the most out of Merdeka Square. Here are some of some of the top ones:
If you'd like more options, examine our Kuala Lumpur things to do page.
Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of NU Sentral and Kuala Lumpur Sentral. Kuala Lumpur Bird Park and Lake Gardens are also within 1 mile (2 km). Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station is only a 2-minute walk and KL Sentral Station is 6 minutes.
Located in Tasik Perdana, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Mosque, Merdeka Square and Petaling Street. Central Market and Kuala Lumpur Bird Park are also within 15 minutes. Kuala Lumpur Station and Kuala Lumpur KTM Komuter Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Golden Triangle, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Starhill Gallery, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, and Berjaya Times Square. Lot 10 Shopping Centre and Prince Court Medical Centre are also within 15 minutes. Bukit Bintang Station is 8 minutes by foot and Imbi Station is 10 minutes.
This family-friendly Kuala Lumpur hotel is located in the entertainment district, within a 15-minute walk of Kuala Lumpur Tower, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and Petronas Twin Towers. Suria KLCC Shopping Centre and Aquaria KLCC are also within 15 minutes. Bukit Nanas Station is only a 5-minute walk and Dang Wangi Station is 7 minutes.
Located in Golden Triangle, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Masjid India and Merdeka Square. Jamek Mosque and Central Market are also within 10 minutes. Kuala Lumpur Masjid Jamek Station is 5 minutes by foot and Dang Wangi Station is 13 minutes.
This family-friendly Kuala Lumpur hotel is located in the shopping district, within a 10-minute walk of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Petronas Twin Towers and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur Tower and Central Market are also within 2 mi (3 km). Raja Chulan Station is 8 minutes by foot and KLCC Station is 11 minutes.
Located in Golden Triangle, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Merdeka Square and Petaling Street. Kuala Lumpur Tower and Petronas Twin Towers are also within 2 mi (3 km). Kuala Lumpur Masjid Jamek Station is only a 2-minute walk and Dang Wangi Station is 13 minutes.
Located in Golden Triangle, this hostel is within a 10-minute walk of Jamek Mosque, Merdeka Square and Petaling Street. Central Market and Masjid India are also within 10 minutes. Kuala Lumpur Masjid Jamek Station is only a 3-minute walk and Kuala Lumpur Pasar Seni Station is 10 minutes.