May 29, 2024


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Inside Istana Negara Lama, Old Royal Palace of Malaysia

4 min read

Inside Istana Negara Lama, Old Royal Palace of Malaysia

We grew up passing by the Istana Negara at Jalan Istana and could never imagine how it looks like inside. Only the VIPs and the royalties are able to enter the palace to enter royal ceremonies. We could only have a few glances of the palace from the main gate. However, that was the history.
istana negara main gate

For your years we can only have the glimpse of the palace at the main gate of the old Istana Negara (Old Royal Palace). Picture taken in Manual Mode: ISO 100, f5.6 – 1/160 with Samsung NX-20.
Since the opening of the new palace, the old palace is turned to an exhibition hall thanks to the Museum Authority of Malaysia and it is opened for public. I think it is a great effort for visitors to experience and understand the history behind the old Royal Palace.

The palace was originally a double-storey mansion which called The Big House built in 1928 by a local Chinese millionaire, Chan Wing. During the Japanese occupation from 1942–1945, it was used as the residence of the Japanese Governor. After the surrender of the Japanese on 15 August 1945, the British Military Administration (BMA) commandeered it for a senior military officers mess from the rank of brigadier. With the formation of the Federation of Malaya in 1950, the Selangor State Government rented the residence from the owners for Straits Dollars 5,000 a month until Merdeka or Indepencence in 1957. It was renovated to become the palace of His Majesty the Sultan of Selangor. In 1957, the owners sold the property of 13 acres to the Federal Government at an agreed valuation of Straits Dollars 1.4 Million.

The Federal Government then converted the residence into the Istana Negara for the newly created sovereign post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaya which was about to achieve independence that August as scheduled. Since then it has undergone several renovations and extensions. But the most extensive upgrading was carried out in 1980, as it was the first time that the Installation Ceremony of His Majesty DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong was held at the Istana Negara. Prior to this the Installation Ceremonies were held at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Hall in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur with the first one held in 1957. –

royal palace fountain reflection


The Old Royal Palace of Malaysia, majestic and yet elegant. Picture taken in Manual Mode: ISO 100, f10 – 1/80 with Samsung NX-20.)
There entrance fee is RM 5.00 (for locals) to enter the old royal palace or “Istana Negara” in Malay language. It is opened daily from 9 am to 5 pm. It has been a dream for me to enter the palace and see how is it looks like within the palace.

It is not my first time visiting a palace, I visited King Rama V’s palace, the Vimanmek Mansion in Bangkok a few years ago. Read it more atThe World Largest Golden Teak Mansion: The Vimanmek Mansion, Bangkok, THAILAND.

royal palace panoramic
The palace looks huge from the outside with two fountains. There were not many visitors at noon as there were more visitors in the morning and late afternoon. It didn’t surprise me to see more locals than tourists visiting the palace.
royal palace raja kita entrance

The entrance to the “Raja Kita” (Our King) exhibition in the old Royal Palace. Picture taken in Manual Mode: ISO 1600, f4.5 – 1/60 with Samsung NX-20.


There are admission charges for those who possessed camera or video camera. The charges are RM 3 / US1 for Camera, RM 5 / US 1.5 for Video Camera and RM 10 / US 3.5 for Professional Video Camera. You must also leave your shoes or sandals outside (there is a shoe cabinet). The exhibition called “Raja Kita” (Our King) is fully carpeted.
istana negara royal sashs

One of the exhibits in the exhibition. Picture taken in Manual Mode: ISO 1600, f5.6 – 1/80 with Samsung NX-20.
There are many exhibits inside the building. It ranges from clothing to the jewellery from various Kings in the palace.
istana negara white keris

One of the exhibits, the keris of His Majesty. Picture taken in Manual Mode: ISO 1600, f5 – 1/100 with Samsung NX-20.
There is also audio and visual presentation inside the exhibition.
royal palace tiara sultanah haminah

The Replica of Royal Tiara of Her Majesty Sultanah Haminah. Picture taken in Manual Mode: ISO 1600, f5.6 – 1/30 with Samsung NX-20.

istana negara throne

The Royal Throne of the Istana Negara Lama. Picture taken in Manual Mode: ISO 3200, f4.5 – 1/60 with Samsung NX-20.

The biggest attraction within the exhibition will be the official throne of the royal palace. I’ve seen the pictures of it in newspapers for many years and it is unbelievable to be there.
Throne of Old Royal palace of Malaysia

The Royal Throne of the Istana Negara Lama. Picture taken in Manual Mode: ISO 1600, f4.5 – 1/60 with Samsung NX-20.

royal throne of Malaysia Old Royal Palace

Panoramic view of The Royal Throne of the Istana Negara Lama. Picture is taken with Samsung Nx-20 Scene – Panoramic mode.

There are also many other exhibits that is worth a visit. Finally, one of my to-do list is finally completed. The exhibition in the old Royal Palace is definitely worth a visit especially for the young ones. For tourists, this is one of the lifetime chance to experience the Malaysia Royal Palace as the exhibition ends of this year so visit the Istana Negara Lama or the Old Royal Palace’s Raja Kita exhibition before it is too late.

The Walk-In Video of the “Raja Kita” Exhibition in Istana Negara Lama filmed with Samsung Smart Camera, Samsung NX-20.



0 thoughts on “Inside Istana Negara Lama, Old Royal Palace of Malaysia

  1. Oh I thought whole istana is opened for visit.. but still better than nothing! Thanks for sharing, I would want to visit them one day!

    Just wondering why are they charging us if we bring camera, video cam etc? Do they charged if I start taking pics with our smartphone which can take pic & video at same time?

    1. Hi Jess,

      By right you have to pay RM 5 for video recording but I paid RM 3 and I took video also as I totally forgotten about it. Maybe you should pay RM 5 for video recording. Only one part of the palace is opened for public, not the whole. Visit soon before it becomes overcrowded.


  2. Thanks for the heads up – I’ve been wondering whether there was any admission fees.

    The Tun M attraction in Langkawi (the one that houses all the souvenirs he’s gotten over the years) not only charges admission, but also extra to take pictures, video, etc 😛

  3. Hi Wilson,

    I am leaving a comment before you scold me again (he he he).
    Thank you for this post, because of it I straight away took my girl and told her “We go reccee location”. She was worried because she didn’t recall us having to ‘reccee’ anywhere this week.

    I was inspired to go ‘play’ and visit this wonderful old building. (I love old buildings, they just smell really nice).

    Now the office admin is angry because I didn’t bring them along. Ha ha.
    Too bad so sad (for them).


  4. That is very interesting, You are a very professional blogger. I have joined your rss feed and sit up for in the hunt for more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

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