Continuing my hunt for off-the-beaten-track things to do in Kuala Lumpur, I stumbled upon Sentul Park and decided to follow the recommendations of some blogs to come here for a photo shoot. It is very Instagram-worthy. They say. And having made it here, I totally concur.
They failed to mention that PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT WELCOMED in the park! That's because Sentul Park is owned privately by YTL Corporation Berhad to serve its gated community of condominium residents. However, the public is allowed to enter Sentul Park because the park is also home to the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). A privately-owned residential development housing a public entity, that's like wearing your underwear on the outside... it is something private, yet the whole world is invited to see.
But no pictures please.
|A tranquil oasis located slightly off the grid of Kuala Lumpur's choking urbanity, Sentul Park is in a little world of its own.|
If I knew that Sentul Park does not welcome photography, I wouldn't have made the trip. Thankfully, getting here wasn't too much trouble as it is just a 15-minute cab ride from the famous Bukit Bintang district (where our hotel is located).
Sentul Park can be reached from the park's West entrance, which is accessible via Jalan Strachan. Jalan Strachan is located off Jalan Ipoh (which is parallel to Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah). This directional information is important if you're planning a visit because this place is tourist-unfriendly so not many taxi drivers know how to get here.
We had to direct our driver using Google Map to get to Sentul Park (West entrance) as he had no idea where the park is. If you come from Bukit Bintang, you will hit Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah. At a junction that joins Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah to Jalan Ipoh, make a U-turn to Jalan Ipoh and you'll come to an off road marked Jalan Strachan, which is the West entrance of Sentul Park / KLPAC.
If you have local data SIM card, simply use Google Map and search for "Bukit Bintang to Sentul Park". Then show the directions to the cab driver.
Getting out from Sentul Park can also be a problem as cabs don't casually drive in. To get a ride out, ask the ticketing personnel to help you call for a cab or dial the number listed at the counter if you have a local SIM card to get a cab.
Remnants of an Old Train Depot
As we drove passed the security sentry that guarded entry into KLPAC / Sentul Park and further down Jalan Strachan, we were greeted by a stately construct of red bricks that has gone beautifully neglected...
|No idea what this concrete shell used to be, probably a bygone administrative building, but it is enchanting.|
|The skeleton that time left behind.|
|The empty arched hallways create an atmospheric setting that pleases the lens.|
|Before long, a security guard hollered at us to stop taking photos and shooed us away. He's probably concerned for our safety as ruins can harbour hidden dangers.|
Lines & Circles
Moving along, we followed a path that led towards the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre and Sentual Park. The next curious building that greeted us was a nature-inspired minimalist low-rise that presented a sharp contrast to the abandoned red bricked ruins we just saw.
|Simple lines but eye-catching exterior.|
|The exterior facade of wooden bars makes for a dramatic backdrop for some camwhoring.|
|Making the most of the line works while indulging in narcissism. LOL. Surprising, we weren't chased away. Maybe the security guards didn't see us.|
|Exploring further, we came across this concrete cylinder that could very well be a time tunnel.|
|Totally feeling the retro vibe of this portal from the yesteryears.|
|Unique photo-op with the unusual tunnel.|
|But we weren't trigger happy for long. Shortly after a few shots, a security guard marched over to shoo us away.|
Opposite the concrete circular tunnel is the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). From the red bricked ruins earlier, it's about a 10 minutes walk to KLPAC, if one could resist stopping for photos along the way.
|Curves of the old juxtaposed with the order of modernity.|
|Only managed to get a few shots of the interesting profile of KLPAC before... you guessed it... a security guard came over and shooed us away.|
|An original spiral stairway that was salvaged from the area's history I suppose.|
|It was a quiet afternoon during our visit, allowing us the peace to mellow in the shadows of the past while soaking up nature.|
|Sentul Park lies beyond... We didn't cross over to explore the park as the sweltering heat quickly drained enthusiasm. Plus we weren't sure if photography will be prohibited over at the other side.|
|Sentul Park... a reclusive reflection of KL's past.|
Having made it here as a tourist, despite the relatively secret location and photography restrictions, I'm actually glad that this place is not developed for tourism although it has the makings.
For a getaway from the hyper urbanisation of Kuala Lumpur to a place where history and greenery connect, Sentul Park is a tranquil little pause button.