Chances are you’ve never heard of Kluang. It is a small town in West Malaysia, along the route from Melaka to Mersing. You’ll pass by if you’re traveling from the west coast to the east, perhaps heading to Pulau Tioman. Or you’re traveling from Singapore up to Melaka or Kuala Lumpur. Honestly, I think most tourists will never make it there. For example, the journey from Melaka to Mersing takes only 4 to 5 hours, so a stopover is technically unnecessary. However, we chose to do so because we had plenty of time. Moreover, I had read that the center of Kluang had undergone a facelift thanks to street art. As a street art enthusiast, I wanted to see that.

Kluang and street art: background

Seeing street art in Malaysia is in itself not a strange sight. You can find it in almost every city. The best street art destination in Malaysia is undoubtedly Georgetown on Penang Island. I felt like a kid in the candy store over there. Kluang saw this success and simultaneously noticed neighborhoods in its city deteriorating. To revamp these areas, the city government came up with a plan for a street art event. In 2016 Kluang Kreatif1020 festival took place. The numbers referred to 1910, the founding year of the city, and the ambitions the city aimed to achieve by 2020. In total, 24 murals were created. Some still looked quite good during my visit (in 2020), while others had already faded.

You can find the street art alleys in Kluang near the central square, Taman Merdeka. This square leads to Jalan Dato Teoh Siew Khor. On both sides of this street, you’ll see large and small works. From there, you can explore the alleys of Laman Pesona and Laman Kreatif. For lunch or coffee, I recommend the vintage cafe Kaki Lima, with a terrace on the street surrounded by all the street art.

More things to do in Kluang

I recommend having breakfast at the famous Kluang Rail Coffee (a 5-minute walk from Taman Merdeka). This is Malaysia’s oldest kopitiam, opened in 1938 at Kluang train station. It is renowned for its Hainanese coffee and traditional breakfast options like kaya jam toast and roti bakar with a soft-boiled egg. To avoid confusion: Kluang Rail Coffee has three branches in Kluang, and the one at the train station is the original.

As for the center of Kluang, don’t expect too much. There are some colorful buildings from the 1950s, but it’s relatively small. One day is more than enough to get a good impression. Near Kluang, you could climb Gunung Lambak (510 meters high, 3 – 4 hours hike). Arrange a taxi in the city to reach the starting point.

Where to stay in Kluang

The hotel options in Kluang are limited. In the center, you have two realistic choices: The Imperial Hotel and Hotel Anika. We stayed at The Imperial Hotel, and it was fine. Its central location is convenient, and there is a morning market nearby for breakfast.

To summarize, Kluang is quite small but offers some interesting activities. In the morning, you can have breakfast at the oldest coffee shop in Malaysia, then explore street art in the center, and in the afternoon, you can hike Mount Gunung Lambak. If you’ve come across this blog post because you’re currently in Kluang, I hope it has been helpful.

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