Peek Inside Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is a melting pot of history, culture, and tradition. Many sights depict Islamic architecture in its historical buildings, ancient temples, modern skyscrapers, and more. One such grand structure dotting the skyline of Kuala Lumpur is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, attracting thousands of tourists. Standing proudly in the East of Merdeka Square and Royal Selangor Club, across Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, this grandeur building has Moorish style architecture, emanating heritage, authority, and elegance.

This majestic building, named after the fourth Sultan of Selangor between 1894 and 1897, boasts an excellent blend of Neo-Gothic and Indo-Islamic architectural styles. The building standing the test of time for more than a century (117 years), acquired a well-deserved status of National Heritage in 2007 under the National Heritage Act 2005.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building History

sultan Abdul Samad building

The Governor of Straits Settlements (B.H. Mitchell K.C.M.G.) officially started construction of this building on the 6th of October, 1894. Charles Edwin Spooner supervised the entire project as the Director of the PWD (Public Works Department) and the State Engineer. This construction was a mega project in those days. Around 2,500 barrels of cement, 5,000 pounds of copper, 18,000 pikuls of lime, 3,000 cubic feet of timber, 50 tons of iron and steel, and almost 4 million bricks were used for the construction of the building.

In structural terms, the building itself, a brave experiment, was the summit of the buildings in Kuala Lumpur. It took about two years and seven months to finish the Sultan Abdu Samad Building construction project. The total cost of the building was 152,000 Straits Dollars, built to house the Government of Selangor and the Government of the Federated Malay States. The official opening was held on 4th April 1897, and the ceremony was like a festival where the dinner and ball were held in the newly constructed building, and prominent guests were invited from all around the country. The building was beautifully decorated and the exterior was lit using gas burners.

This Heritage Building was used to house the Apex court of Malaysia, the Supreme Court, which was renamed as the Federal court. The Court of Appeals and The Federal Court have now moved to the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building at present houses the Ministry of Communications, Information, and Culture of Malaysia.

The Architectural Design of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is built in the shape of the alphabet F, occupying a ground area of 4208.5 square meters (45300 sq ft), while its exterior stretches around 137.2 m (450 feet), along with formerly Gombak Road (Jalan Raja) being its tallest structure. The most striking feature of the building is the 41-meter-high clock tower, a replica of Big Ben in London. The clock tower, bounded by two circular lower towers, contains stairways heading towards the first floor. The towers have onion-shaped domes with copper coverings. It is certainly the most attractive feature of the whole building, standing at the center.

The clock tower consists of a one-ton bell that strikes every half an hour and hourly. It has a four-sided opal glass dial, which is eight and a half feet in diameter. The clock was imported from England (South Croydon, Surrey) and manufactured by Croydon (Gillett & Johnston (Croydon) Ltd. The clock chimed for the first time in 1897 to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee Parade of Queen Victoria. Apart from the prominent clock tower, the building has an imposing porch with thick columns and massive Gothic arches. The arches named Ogee, Keyhole, Horseshoe, and Pointed provide ventilation.

Tips for Travelers before Visiting Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

  • Dress in modest clothes.
  • Carry some cash with you aside from cards for transportation purposes.
  • Keep some eatable items or snacks with you.
  • Install an app for better transport or carriage.
  • Wear comfortable shoes to walk around the building effortlessly.
  • Carry a camera to click photos of the enthralling building.
  • Wear or carry a hat or a scarf with you to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
  • Keep a mobile charger with you.
  • Carry a sun protection moisturizer with you.
  • Carry a water bottle with you to avoid dehydration.
  • Carry sunglasses to avoid sunlight.

Events Taken Place at Sultan Abdul Samad Building

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is prominent for the countless functions and events that took place and was the symbol of the Malaysian Court of Law in the nineties. Many eminent cases took place in this building, which attracted both tourists and locals. This building has featured in the 1992 movie ‘Police Story 3’. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building has many hidden historical facts and has seen numerous events. It was here that The Union Jack flag was lowered and the Malayan flag was hoisted for the first time at midnight on August 31, 1957. It has been the backdrop for important events like the National Day Parade and ushering in the New Year.

How to Reach

You can reach The Sultan Abdul Samad Building either by taking a taxi or LRT (Light Rail Transit). You can take a Taxi from any part of the city to reach directly to the building. From the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, it takes approximately 40 to 45 minutes to reach this historical site. Take the LRT train to either Pasar Seni Station or Masjid Jamek Station, from where the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is just a 10-minute walking distance.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building Entrance Fee

The opening hours of The Sultan Abdul Samad Building are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. No entrance fee is charged to visit the building.


The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is one of the most treasured historical landmarks of the city. A must-visit place for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs. Do plan a visit here on your next trip to Malaysia.

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