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This Family’s Holiday Photos Of Kuala Lumpur From 1975 Will Make You Nostalgic

This is the Kuala Lumpur we know today:

Today's Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city filled with skyscrapers. (Pic credit: Daniel Hoherd/Flickr)
Today’s Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city filled with skyscrapers (Pic credit: Daniel Hoherd/Flickr)

Towering skyscrapers, iconic towers, and neverending traffic. They are all part of parcel of the city millions of travellers come each year for work, shopping and lots of good food.

Kuala Lumpur has come a long way since the 70s.

Flickr user Rod Savidge and his family went on a holiday to Kuala Lumpur in 1975 and came back with these photos. The Savidge family’s holiday album gives us a glimpse of the past and shows us how different travelling Malaysia is now.

Be prepared for a blast to the past:

"Arriving at KL on 2nd August 1975".
“Arriving at KL on 2nd August 1975″
"Below ground level: Start of a new highrise hotel"
“Below ground level: Start of a new highrise hotel”
"View from the room at the Hilton"
“View from the room at the Hilton”
"Street scene, Kuala Lumpur: A fair bit of advertising."
“Street scene, Kuala Lumpur: A fair bit of advertising”
"A duck runner: He looked like he was on a mission to deliver the ducks in the back streets."
“A duck runner: He looked like he was on a mission to deliver the ducks in the back streets”
"Temple: All these young girls were very well mannered and were quite shy to pose."
“Temple: All these young girls were very well mannered and were quite shy to pose”
"Head of Malaysia Palace."
“Head of Malaysia Palace”
"Polished Marble: There wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere."
“Polished Marble: There wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere”
"From the rubber tree: The small bowl collects the latex from the rubber tree."
“From the rubber tree: The small bowl collects the latex from the rubber tree”

One of Malaysia’s largest exports today, the country’s rubber industry was first introduced by European colonists in 1878.

"Colourful children’s clothes: Very obliging and always happy."
“Colourful children’s clothes: Very obliging and always happy”
"Climb those stairs: Shrine up in the hills – about 270 stairs."
“Climb those stairs: Shrine up in the hills – about 270 stairs”

With a Hindu shrine hiding inside the hills, Batu Caves remains as a holy site for the Indian community in Malaysia.

"From the entrance: Not a bad view from the entrance to the shrine / cave of Batu Caves."
“From the entrance: Not a bad view from the entrance to the shrine / cave of Batu Caves”
"Inside the cave: After the 270 odd steps in the tropical heat it was quite cool inside."
“Inside the cave: After the 270 odd steps in the tropical heat it was quite cool inside”
23
“Bullocks and timber: They are very well fed animals”
22
“Street market at night”
21
“Food for thought: One of the many food stalls”
20
“Sugar cane juicer”
19
“Street market: Imagine putting this out and putting it away every day”
"Clash of cultures: Indian style railway Station, German car and Japanese scooters."
“Clash of cultures: Indian style railway Station, German car and Japanese scooters”
"Polished marble: Polished floors and gold leaf at the top and bottom of the columns throughout the temple."
“Polished marble: Polished floors and gold leaf at the top and bottom of the columns throughout the temple”
"Fruit market."
“Fruit market”
"Pewter maker."
“Pewter maker”
"Pewter factory: The price tag on the jug second from the left is $66.50 – presumably US."
“Pewter factory: The price tag on the jug second from the left is $66.50 – presumably US”

Some things never change; pewter is still a popular, albeit pricey, souvenir much sought after by tourists.

horse
“Horse racing club”
latex
“Drying latex: Rack after rack of latex drying in the sun”
"Fireman: Not an ounce of fat on him as he keeps the fire going for latex production."
“Fireman: Not an ounce of fat on him as he keeps the fire going for latex production”
"Tigers."
“Tigers”
"Sumatran rhinoceros."
“Sumatran rhinoceros”
"Coffee plantation." (Editor's note: The original caption says coffee plantation, but this is in fact a rubber plantation."
“Coffee plantation.

Mr. Savidge captioned this photo “coffee plantation”, but it is actually a rubber plantation.

“Women building roads”

Female road workers, that is one scene you won’t easily find in Kuala Lumpur today.

"Local shops: One of the papers was “Ultusan Malaysia” whatever that means."
“Local shops: One of the papers was “Utusan Malaysia” whatever that means”

Utusan Malaysia is one of Malaysia’s leading Malay-language newspaper and is still in print today.

"Material printing: Hand held inking pad onto dress material."
“Material printing: Hand held inking pad onto dress material”
"Hilton hotel room."
“Hilton hotel room”
"Street market."
“Street market”
"Kuala Lumpur Airport: The airport had been commandeered by some radical group for several hours and allowed very few planes to leave."
“Kuala Lumpur Airport: The airport had been commandeered by some radical group for several hours and allowed very few planes to leave”

The Savidge family arrived in Kuala Lumpur on 2nd August 1975, two days before the AIA building hostage crisis. On 4th August 1975, five members of the Japanese Red Army or JRA stormed the United States embassy on the 9th floor of the AIA Insurance building in Jalan Ampang. The building housed five foreign embassies, including the United States and Sweden. JRA gunmen held 53 people hostage for four days. This incident could explain the delays Mr. Savidge experienced at the airport. 

Fast forward 40 years, Kuala Lumpur’s landscape has doubled and tripled in height, there are more people, and businesses have flourished. However, from what these old photos show – the street markets, handworking locals, and never ending development – the essence of Kuala Lumpur is still very much alive.

Story via Expat GoPhotos by Rod Savidge

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Read more stories from Kuala Lumpur: 

kl bkfsat Untitled-2
The Ultimate Kuala Lumpur City Guide For Women

10 Healthy Malaysian Breakfast Meals (Yes, They Exist!)

Kuala Lumpur’s Hidden Gems: Hip and heritage hotspots around Medan Tuanku 

 

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Mei Mei Chu
Mei Mei writes to afford her wanderlust. Her (mis)adventures as a solo female backpacker have shown her the best and worst in mankind, and some of the funkiest toilets in the world. Read her honest travel stories at www.meimeichu.com.

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