Who are they and what do they do

This Special Interest Group, the Heritage Guides, formally known as the Heritage Group, is a professional group of tourist guides able to conduct Heritage tours. They are all licensed tourist guides for Malaysia (that means that they have a tourist guide blue-badge given by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism).
Initially, the Heritage Group was initiated to enable guides with a special interest in heritage and history to develop their skills and enhance their knowledge in these fields. The Heritage group is part of the Malaysian Tourist Guide Council.
They trained themselves by organizing talks given by experts on heritage and history, by doing research and going on fieldtrips.The Heritage Guides operate tours in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Penang where they work closely with the Penang Heritage Trust (PHT). PHT is a registered, non-profit, non-governmental organisation promoting the conservation and preservation of the cultural, historical and architectural heritage of Penang. PHT organises site visits, heritage trails, talks and educational programmes on Penang’s heritage. The Heritage Guides are either freelance, full-time or part-time guides working for Tour agencies.

What a traveller can experience

Embark on a tour with a Heritage Guide:
IN KUALA LUMPUR

  • The Heritage Walk of Brickfields> (Kuala Lumpur) – Discover the fascinating history, multi-religious and multi-ethnic architecture of this one-hundred-year-old part of Kuala Lumpur. Often mistaken as the Indian quarter, Brickfields is actually the “little Sri Lanka” of Malaysia, where the bricks used to build Kuala Lumpur were all manufactured. You will appreciate this popular bustling district, unique in the diversity of its architectural heritage: the tour begins at the YMCA building, passing by all the places of worship built by various immigrant communities (Sam Kow Tong Chinese temple, Sri Kandaswamy Ceylonese Hindu temple, Buddhist Maha Vihara temple, Ceylonese Lutheran Church, etc) then ends at the 100-Government-quarters, with some stops along the way to taste unique drinks and food. The tour available is in English/Malay/Japanese/Mandarin/German.

  • The Kuala Lumpur Heritage WalkStarting from either the Central Market or Merdeka Square, this tour leads you from the proud colonial British heritage buildings with some Mogul influence (imported from British India) through the popular and ever-busy Chinatown. This is a memorable journey through a 100 years of history as you will discover how different immigrant communities, each with their own skills, contributed to the development of the city of Kuala Lumpur. Mind where you put your feet (not to fall in a open air drain) because the only way to appreciate the diversity and beauty of these Chinese shophouses is to walk with your head raised. Open your eyes and nostrils too. The tour is available in both English and Mandarin.

Both the walks take about 3-3.5 hours with a 30 minute break (enough time for a local delicacy in one of the many coffeeshops or food stalls along the way (price not included)). The guides prefer to start the tour in the early morning between 8.00 to 8.30am due to the weather (before it gets too hot).Price : 300 RM/tour. Maximum 12 persons/tour.
You are advised to wear comfortable clothes, shoes, sunblock and/or a hat and to bring drinking water. 

  • Learn how to prepare Malaysian cuisine: simple cooking classes can be arranged for tourists who stay longer and would like something different. Minimum 2 pax per session, maximum 8 pax.

IN GEORGE TOWN, Penang Island
In July 2008, Georgetown was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site statusThe old charm of Georgetown and its cultural diversity are expressed in its architecture, cuisine and in the lifestyle of its people. On foot or in a trishaw, a slow visit is a good way to discover all of these unique aspects of this beautiful city. Two Historic George Town trails and one Traditional Trades trail have been designed by the Penang Heritage guides. You can either explore these trails on your own or with one of the Heritage guides.
Complete and detailed practical and historical information on the trails can be found in the Penang tourism information website
and inside the two booklets edited by PHT, available for free at the TIC and in some hotels like the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. PHT also posters on site with heritage and historical information for each of the buildings selected. They have indeed done a very good job.

We can only hope that more of these initiatives will appear in other Malaysian cities to guide both foreign and domestic travelers.

Contacts

Heritage Guides : Maharani Halid, Group Chairperson, mobile : (+60) 12-292 8058 Email tuanku2008@gmail.com

Penang Heritage Trust, 26 Church Street, 10200 Penang. Tel: (+60) 4-264 2631 •  Fax: (+60)4-262 8421 E-mail: phtrust@streamyx.com  •  Website

Information on the Heritage trails of Penang also available on the Penang Tourism Information Center website : 

How to get there

When you book a tour ask your guide where the starting point is.

To go further we recommend

Read about Malaysian history and architecture: many good books can be bought at the Badan Warisan headquarters in KL and in good bookshops in KL, Penang and Malacca.

Visit the various Museums of Malaysia : a full list is available at the Department of  Museums Malaysia website.

Spend a night in a Heritage place like the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Georgetown, Hotel Puri or Herren House in Malacca or Pura Tanjung Sabtu in Kuala Terengganu.

Check out the local Tourist Information Center programs and brochures.

The Sarawak Heritage Society has published a booklet for self-guided tours; Kuching Heritage Trails, The Brooke Legacy (3RM), for sale at Kuching TIC and in some shops and hotels. Contact them at sarawakheritagesociety@gmail.com or in Kuching tel. (+60) 82 246810 – fax (+60) 82 414629

Related posts

Museum Volunteers Malaysia

The Atelier Sarawak

The Tun Jugah Foundation Museum and Gallery

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (coming soon)

Badan Warisan (coming soon)

Written by C.Bossis, Kuala Lumpur, 25 nov.08

Permission granted to reproduce for personal use only. Commercial use is prohibited.

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