When it comes to Islamic heritage destinations, Malaysia comes first to mind. Rich with history and culture, it captures a magnificent story of the journey of Islamic civilization with its intricate architecture and designs.
From praying on a floating mosque to admiring Islamic paintings, these underrated attractions provide more than meets the eye. Scroll down to find out why these Islamic heritage destinations are worth the trip in this diverse country:
Source: Taman Tamadun Islam
Step into the serene and peaceful Wan Man Island where the Islamic Heritage Park lies. The Islamic Heritage Park is also known as the 1st Islamic-themed park in the world and is located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Branded as an outdoor edutainment park, it features over 20 replicas of some of the most iconic Islamic architecture, including the Taj Mahal and the Alhambra Citadel Granada. You can also go on a 45-minute river cruise that takes you around the city of Kuala Terengganu.
The iconic Monument Park costs RM 20 (SGD 6) and the River Cruise costs RM 25 (SGD 7). If you prefer free attractions, you can also visit the Crystal Mosque, a magnificent mosque mainly made out of steel, glass, and crystals that illuminates at night.
Location: Pulau Wan Man Losong Panglima Perang, 21000 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Monday to Thursday: 10 am to 6 pm
Friday to Sunday: 9 am to 6 pm
Source: Sarawak Islamic Heritage Museum
Erected in 1930, this establishment was once a teacher’s college for higher education before transforming into a full-fledged heritage museum in 1992. This place now consists of 7 galleries that describe the Islamic civilization in Sarawak as well as other parts of the world in detail along with emblems from its respective era.
I like how well-maintained the museum is, especially since admission is free! It is also within walking distance to the Borneo Cultures Museum so you can explore two museums in a day!
Location: Jalan P. Ramlee, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
Weekdays: 9 am to 4:45 pm
Weekends: 10 am to 4 pm
Source: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
If you are in Kuala Lumpur, you must visit the largest museum of Islamic arts in Southeast Asia, the Islamic Arts Museum. With over 10,000 international Islamic artifacts, be enthralled by its rare collection of manuscripts dating back to the 8th century or unique Islamic glassware.
Within this 30,000-square-meter location are 12 galleries scattered across two floors showcasing the finest Islamic craftsmanship. I encourage you to spend at least a few hours in the morning exploring this place as there’s a lot to learn and admire!
The entrance fee costs RM 20 (SGD 6) which is a real bargain considering the amount of time spent! If you finish the tour just before sunset, you can take a walk around the Lake Gardens nearby for a picturesque view.
Location: Jalan Lembah, Tasik Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Operates 9:30 am to 6 pm daily
This underrated attraction in Shah Alam has some of the best collections of Quran manuscripts and Islamic calligraphy. That is because this exhibition is managed by a non-profit organization that has been instrumental in creating the first fully handwritten and illuminated manuscripts in Malaysia.
You can find the original Quran manuscript here which is said to be worth RM 20 million (SGD 5 million). Although it is called a garden complex, it is more of an indoor art gallery to broaden your Islamic knowledge. You can find a replica of Prophet Muhammad SAW’s home, a depiction of the Rehlah Nabawiyyah, and beautiful Islamic designs to admire.
Admission to this gallery is free.
Location: 2A, Persiaran Damai, Seksyen, 40100 Shah Alam, Selangor
Opening Hours: Operates 9 am to 5:30 pm daily
Did you know there is an Indian Muslim mosque in Malaysia? You can find this majestic mosque in one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, Georgetown, Penang.
Kapitan Keling Mosque was originally built by Indian Muslim traders in the early 19th century and is the first permanent Muslim institution built in the area. Today, it is a place of worship that attracts both Muslims and non-Muslims who appreciate historical architecture with a combination of Gothic, Moorish, and Roman Renaissance influences.
The entrance fee is free and comes with a guided tour. If you are still around the area at night, check out the famous Nasi Kandar stall next to the mosque where people will queue for hours!
Want to check out more mosques in Penang? Then read our list of mosques to explore around town!
Location: 14, Jln Buckingham, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Opening Hours: Operates 5 am to 10 pm daily
Malaysia is progressing to become an international hub for Islamic culture and the many heritage destinations around the country are a testament to that. If you have time to explore, do visit the other mosques in the area as each one has its own unique attractions.
Making a trip to Malaysia soon? Here are 10 tips you should know before you embark!
Make sure to share this article with your loved ones who are joining you on this trip!
Cover Image Credit: khats cassim from Pexels