Unseen Tours KL is an initiative of Kuala Lumpur NGO Yellow House which offers opportunities and shelter to street folk and the urban poor. Yellow House KL itself is a small community centre-cum-backpackers hostel and always welcome volunteers to help out in their programmes.
Unseen Tours KL
Yellow House founder Shyam Priah wanted to do more for the street folk and urban poor. There are a number of food kitchens, but she wanted to do something practical that offered these folks opportunities to develop the skills they had. She found that many had managed to pick up different languages. Maybe not ‘textbook’, but well enough to have a conversation.
The folk at Yellow House realised that people who live on the street are the ones who best know all the ‘secrets’. That was the important factor that began the development of the walking tours. In addition, those who are very careful with their spending, know the cheapest and easiest ways to get around the city.
These two factors help make the walking tours extra interesting, because they are designed with the input of those who intimately know the ‘lie of the land’. With counselling, assistance in finding shelter and training, they are gaining skills as tour associates.
We spoke with Iffah, from Kelantan who is building up her skills and earning money to sustain her as she finishes her studies. Sjhe is studying linguistics and finds meeting people she can practice her English, German or Korean on are new friends. She was our guide on a short example of the latest Unseen Tours KL offering in conjunction with travel360 – their ‘dance walking tour’.
The short tour followed the launch of a new mural featuring two of the associates, seated on swings, signifying the drive of our marginalised street friends to show positivity and stability despite the ups and downs of life. The artist is simply identified as ‘John’.
An interactive element in the mural encourages public to share on the blackboards, their passion to travel.
Located on Lorong Bandar 20, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee in Kuala Lumpur city centre close to the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the mural is the starting point for some of the tours offered. At least one has a different starting point.
There are three categories of tours: the haunted tour, the street art tour, and the multicultural tour. They may not all be available at the time you are hoping to go. It’s best to follow up by email if you aren’t able to make your booking.
There are three types of tour
- The haunted tour takes you to places and buildings around KL that ‘they’ say are haunted. Or so claimed in urban legends.
- This tour takes two hours fifteen minutes.
- The street art tour covers the growing numbers of creative installation and murals in the hidden parts of the city.
- Allow two hours forty-five minutes for this tour.
- The multicultural tour introduces visitors (and locals) to the many places of worship and rich cultural diversity of the city.
- You’ll need three hours and fifteen minutes for this one.
- Group tour bookings are welcome.
The newest offering ‘travel360 Dance-walking Tour’ is supported and promoted by AirAsia’s digital travel360.
You can purchase ‘travel360 Dance-walking Tour’ online on https://yellowhousekl.com/unseentourskl/travel360-dance-walking-tour/ or http://www.travel360.com/dancewalkingtour. This tour costs MYR 85 per person. Participants are encouraged to dance to the music coming through the supplied headphones as they walk.The experience even includes interpretative dancing and flash mobs. Liven up the local landmarks and back alleys as you experience the sights, smells and sounds of Kuala Lumpur. Listen out for interesting snippets of lost history dating back to the late 1800s. These may not necessarily be the ones in the official history of the city’s development to what it is today.