Lake Garden, Malaysia

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Downtown Kuala Lumpur is crowded with buildings, both old and new, and may begin to wonder if there are any green spaces in the city apart from the Merdeka Square. A recent upsurge of interest in the greening of Kuala Lumpur now allows it to boast 30 public greens, from roundabouts planted with bougainvillea to spacious parks.

The best-known and most popular of these parks are the Lake Gardens, or Taman Tasik Perdana (Malay). 92 hectares of undulating green with magnificent trees flowering plants prove that the jungle can be tamed. The park owes its existence to A.R Venning, a British official who managed to persuade Swettenham in 1888 that Kuala Lumpur needed a public park. The largest lake on Kuala Lumpur, Tasik Perdana, once known as Sydney Lake, has boats for hire by the hour.

The gardens are popular with locals and visitors alike and are especially crowded on the weekend when in the early morning or evening, joggers puff their way around the humid paths, lovers seek more secluded spots, family have their picnic beside the lake and old Chinese man go through their tai chi routine. The park is open 10am till 6pm for Monday till Saturday and 8am till 6pm on Sundays and Public Holidays. Besides, it’s just a walking distance to the Orchid Garden, Bird Park and Deer Park. The National Monument of Kuala Lumpur is just apposite of the lake.

National Mosque, Malaysia

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National Mosque, or Masjid Negara (Malay), lies at the center of Jalan Lembah (entrance), Jalan Perdana and Jalan Kinabalu. Completed in 1965, the jagged 18-point star roof and the 73 meter tall (240ft) minaret catch the eye. The 18 points of the star represent the thirteen states of Malaysia and the five pillars of Islam. This was one of the country’s first post-independence constructions and is one of the largest mosques in the region. Its Grand Hall – busiest on very Friday – can accommodate 8,000 worshippers.

On the roof there are 48 smaller domes, their design and number inspired by the great mosque in Mecca. It is an impressive building with cool marbles halls, long galleries and reflecting pool in the courtyard. The minaret rises from the center of one of these pools. The mosque is set in 5 hectares of gardens. One area of these gardens is reserved for the tomb of Malaysia’s most celebrated dignitaries, the former prime minister of Malaysia and other pioneers of independence are already rest there. Decorous clothing and behavior is a must during the visit to National Mosque. Shoes must be removed before entering the hall of the mosque. Scarves and covering robes are available for women, who use a different entrance. Tourists are advised to dress respectfully to show your respect toward the religion.