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Sunday, March 7, 2021

The pre-war buildings of Kuala Kubu Bharu

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Some people love to take the usual route, going to places that are already established.

For some, going to a relatively quiet place is like a journey into the unknown, as there is a possibility of being driven to boredom or worse, the place does not meet one’s expectations.

That was the initial thought when the topic of visiting Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB) came about.

It is a small town situated in the northernmost district of the state of Selangor, and the usual inquiry would be, “What do they have there?”

The town centre of Kuala Kubu Bharu; so relaxed, even on a weekend. (Kaki Jalans pic)

The usual answer would be “old buildings”, which means that this spot would be good for photography, but bear in mind that these are not the same “old buildings” like the ones you would see in more famous spots like say, Melaka.

To put it simply, Melaka is full of colonial buildings, but KKB is filled with pre-war buildings.

One is not better than the other, as both have historical values. But the major difference is that the colonial buildings were built by past colonisers, which, apart from its history, aren’t something Malaysians should be proud of, so to speak.

Pre-war buildings were mostly built by the locals, and they showcase the culture and architectural designs of that period of time.

This is what one can observe in the sleepy town of KKB.

The only cinema in town has now been converted into a snooker centre due to the lack of demand from moviegoers. (Kaki Jalans pic)

But here’s a fun fact. The name of the town was previously Kuala Kubu, and it was situated in a different area. However, when a dam broke and flooded the whole town, it was moved to the current site. Hence the name Kuala Kubu ‘Bharu’ or “New” Kuala Kubu.

All in all, this small town with a rich history is almost awkwardly quiet, despite being the capital of the district.

Nevertheless, the shophouses’ designs, with the five-foot ways, the old windows and saloon doors are attractive, and no longer used in modern buildings, so it is indeed a pleasure to see them in all their untouched glory.

The oldest Indian barbershop in KKB. (Kaki Jalans pic)
Saloon doors, which no longer exist in modern-style buildings. (Kaki Jalans pic)
Five-foot ways, typical of Malaysia in the early years. (Kaki Jalans pic)

This town was also famous for being one of the true “garden towns”. Flowers were planted in great amounts, which made the area very colourful.

Apart from that, there is a clock tower next to the police station on top of the hill here, which was erected in the 1930s to commemorate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

The clock tower overlooks the town. (Kaki Jalans pic)

Getting there

Kuala Kubu Bharu is a town located 60km north of Kuala Lumpur. To get here from Kuala Lumpur, take the train at KL Sentral station and head to Rawang.

At Rawang station, change to the Rawang-Tanjung Malim shuttle train service.

The train leaves every one hour or so and it takes around 30 minutes from the Rawang station to the Kuala Kubu Bharu station.

At the Kuala Kubu Bharu station, taxis and private cars are available in the town centre. The normal fixed price is RM5-6. Haggling is encouraged.

Khai and wife Amira are Malaysian travel bloggers who blog at Kaki Jalans. Their travels have taken them to almost all the countries in Asean and five countries in Europe. They are still actively travelling and adding to this list.

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