Malaysia is a huge place that would take years to see and experience fully, but what if you could do it in a couple of hours? MinNature Malaysia has taken the country’s landmarks, food and even its people and miniaturized them into tiny versions with massive detail. This incredibly unique museum is a lens into Malaysia.
The miniature collections here are not found anywhere else in the world. MinNature’s team are constantly working on new miniatures every day. The collection has already outgrown the museum’s previous space in Subang Jaya, which was a whopping 17,000 square feet, in less than five years.
How to Get to MinNature Malaysia
MinNature Malaysia is now inside Sungei Wang Plaza on the 1st floor in the “Green Zone.” It’s a bit hard to find, but if you see the signage for the Mega Star Arena, it is in the same direction. The museum is in a corner of the mall in the Jumpa Annex – also look for the rainbow-coloured Jumpa sign.
Admission Price & Opening Hours
The MinNature Malaysia ticket price is RM30 for adults (MyKad and foreigners) and RM25 for seniors and youths under 16. Children under 6 get free admission. The museum is open from 10 am to 10 pm.
Tickets to MinNature are also available on Klook for a slight discount. We paid RM27 per ticket when we went. Klook is very easy to use and has the added benefit of being an open-ended ticket (valid 30 days from the date of purchase). I showed my Klook voucher’s QR code at the front desk with no issues.
What to See at MinNature Malaysia
The Journey of MinNature Malaysia
Before getting to the first miniatures, there is an introduction to this unique museum. Information boards and newspaper clippings show the journey of MinNature’s founder, Wan Cheng Huat. He first had the idea in 2008 after getting inspiration from the world’s largest miniature train exhibition in Germany.
It took eight years of fundraising, planning and building the models before MinNature Malaysia opened in 2016. Wan Cheng Huat is still very involved in the museum, making new miniatures in the back room and even manning the ticket desk during our visit. He has the enthusiasm and passion of a man who absolutely loves what he does. Wan Cheng was constantly walking around the museum, pointing out neat details in the miniatures, and giving impromptu tours to visitors. He happily had a long chat with us about his work, even though he was in the middle of making miniatures.
Taste of Malaysia
Hopefully, you’re not hungry because the first exhibit is on food that is quintessentially Malaysia. These are not tiny miniatures of a single plate of char kuey teow! Instead, we get a glimpse of the whole scene where you would usually find the dish. There are hundreds of meat sticks at a lok lok steamboat truck, roast suckling pig at the best Chinese New Year dinner ever, and a claypot chicken rice restaurant in exquisite detail – right down to the empty plastic jugs strewn all over the cooking area. The descriptions above the display are well-written and posted in English, Bahasa and Chinese.
Minis in the Glass Wall
The following room has large dioramas in the wall behind glass, almost as if you were at the aquarium. The scenes are a peek into the diverse lifestyle of Malaysians, from cave divers hunting for bird’s nest soup ingredients to aunties enjoying a meal in Ipoh’s Chinatown. Someone on the MinNature staff is an aspiring writer, as this exhibit is also home to the “Mini Stories Series.” Each diorama has a short story that fleshes out the characters and brings the still images to life.
It’s close to midnight and there was still life busting around the town area as if it was still just 8pm. Food stalls are still serving freshly cooked meals with icy cold drinks. The mixture of aroma floating around the stalls seems like a symphony of smell made only for the enjoyment of the nose, but Puan Emma was interested in only one exotic smell; the wonderfully pungent sense of the durian; the king of fruits. Like most Malaysian, durian has a special place in our heart, or more accurately put, in our stomach. Puan Emma was still waiting for her husband but most likely she will probably start indulging before he arrives. The smell was too overwhelmingly tempting not to eat. Her husband will be in time for the husk, seeds and the bill.Excerpt from “A Night Out in Chinatown (Inspired by Ipoh, Perak)”
Heritage Architecture of Malaysia
The majority of the MinNature museum is the Heritage Architecture of Malaysia exhibit. The top landmarks from all thirteen states are meticulously arranged to accurately reflect their actual locations, including crowds and traffic! There’s even a helpful card with an overview of the attraction. If you’re a tourist intending to see other parts of Malaysia, this exhibit would be great to get a teaser (or a spoiler) of what to see in the other states.
The wing featuring East Malaysia and the peninsula’s east coast can be easy to miss. It looks like the museum ends when you’re in the Selangor section with the Batu Caves miniature. There’s another room around the corner with Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu miniatures. Because of the angle, this room looks empty at first glance or like an administrative room.
The Heritage Architecture rooms are the most interactive for visitors. Some of the miniatures will have touchless sensors on the table. If you wave your hand over it, some part of the diorama will move. Half the time something obvious happens, like a train goes by. Other times, we had to activate the sensor several times to spot that it was a single worker doing maintenance on a manhole.
The MinNature museum is fascinating for adults but also has kids in mind. The museum has fun scavenger hunts sure to keep any eagle-eyed visitors, young and old, busy. Hunts like “find this person,” which are usually fictional characters from movies and pop culture, hiding in plain sight among the dioramas. The Green Bandit challenge comes with a hefty cash prize if you can find the little guy!
Don’t miss the two light shows in the Heritage Architecture exhibit. Both of them run every twenty minutes. A timer countdown to the next show is projected on the structures so you can look around and return when it’s time. There will be an announcement a couple of minutes beforehand, and the lights in the room will turn off once it starts. The shows play at the Kek Lok Si (zone 5) and Merdeka Square (zone 6).
The People of Malaysia
The People of Malaysia exhibit is small, only occupying one wall in section 6 among the Heritage Architecture of Malaysia. It showcases all the ethnicities of Malaysia, with one man and one woman wearing their traditional clothing. Each couple has a description in the frame above them. There were about a dozen couples when we visited, but the museum is working on adding more.
There is no toilet inside the MinNature Museum, and visitors have to use the public washrooms in Sungei Wang. There aren’t any rules about re-entry, so you can leave and come back. MinNature also has free locker storage next to the ticket desk – helpful if you’ve done a bit of shopping beforehand.
If you’re a tourist, MinNature Malaysia should be one of your first stops in KL. The collection at MinNature gives a greater sense of the whole country and the characteristic essence of being Malaysian, more so than the other museums. It’s like an express introduction to Malaysia before you see the actual landmarks, eat the actual food and meet the actual people.
MinNature Malaysia is undoubtedly a “see it once” attraction. I’ve wanted to visit this museum since it opened. It was amazing, but now that I’ve seen it, I don’t anticipate the need to return for a long time (if ever). Just like the miniatures, the museum itself is frozen in time, and very little will change from year to year. There are no seasonal miniatures – every miniature created is permanent until it needs maintenance. If we visit again, it will be at least another three years to see any new miniatures added.
MinNature Malaysia website: https://minnature.com/