Lake Gardens is a 92-ha park comprising well-manicured lawns, gardens and hills. It is spread around the Tasik Perdana (Perdana Lake) with a number of sights set on its grounds including the Butterfly House and Bird Park, Hibiscus Garden, National Monument, Orchid Garden and Parliament House.
Also known as the Taman Tasik Perdana, it is located southwest of Chinatown, with the southern entrance of the large-scale recreational park close to the National Museum. It was originally established by the 19th century British state treasurer to Malaya, Alfred Venning, in the 1890s. Over the last 20 years the park’s spectacular landscaping has become more impressive. The majestic Carcosa Seri Negara, the official residence of former British government representative, Frank Swettenham, is located on one of the park’s hills.
Previously a tin mine, the Lake Gardens is a favourite picnic spot, with large sculpted vegetation, picnic areas, children’s playgrounds and more; you can buy food and drink from a number stalls here. Most visitors come on the weekends but due to its sheer size, it doesn’t get too crowded.
The small deer park makes it great for families with little kids, while the Tasik Perdana has pedal boats that can be hired for a water ride; it takes nearly an hour to walk all the way round the lake. The Hibiscus Garden (Taman Bunga Raya) has over 500 species and the Orchid Garden (Taman Bunga Orkid) has up to 800 species but it is the latter which brings in the crowds on weekends when it transforms into an orchid market.
The Bird Park is the showpiece of Lake Gardens. Also known as the Taman Burung, it is billed as the world’s largest covered bird park. The 20.9-ha park was opened in 1991 and is home to more than 3,000 birds from 200 species all over the world. Easily outdoing neighbouring Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park, the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is twice the size of Jurong and most of its birds are free and accustomed to being around people. The free-flight, walk-in aviary has over 60 species of local and foreign birds, including the Indian blue peacock, with its colourful five-foot train, and the crowned pigeon, the largest pigeon species in the world.
The main road through the Lake Gardens weaves down past the deer field, and leads to the Tun Abdul Razak Memorial at the southeast edge of the park. The house is the former residence of the country’s second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak. In recognition of his services, his old house was transformed into a museum of sorts. Inside are preserved documents, speeches, books, awards, and his collection of walking sticks and pipes; on the lawn, are his well-maintained motorboat and golf trolley.
It is possible to walk to the Lake Gardens: from the National Museum, head about 50m along Jalan Damansara; there is a small pathway that leads into a tunnel at the junction of Jalan Kebun Bunga – this is the entrance to the southern edge of the gardens. The other way is to head west of Merdeka Square along Jalan Parlimen – it is a 30-minute walk that takes you to the northern side of the park to the Lake Gardens’ main entrance. Alternatively, there is a pedestrian bridge at the Central Market that crosses to the Dayabumi Complex: from here, south of the post office, there is an underpass leading to the National Mosque – the gardens are only a short walk away.