Our tour left from our hotel in the early afternoon. We boarded a shuttle bus that picked up some other guests at various locations before we bid goodbye to people doing the downtown tour. The rest of us continued on for Royal Selangor which makes pewter.
Pewter is a metal made of a combination of different types of metals like tin and copper (among some others). My knowledge of pewter consisted of what I’d seen before, usually heavy statues or chess sets.
At the Royal Selangor Pewter Visitor Center we met with a guide who gave us a brief history of Royal Selangor and it’s founder, Yong Peng Kai who started his journey in Malaysia in 1885.
While on our tour we were able to see money made from pewter, different size animals that were exchanged as currency, and then later money trees. Later thin branched trees with coins on the branches were used as currency that people would break off a coin to use as money. We were able to learn the history of pewter and its effect on the area as well as see how it’s being made by walking through the steps of the process in the factory. Which was really a section of the factory where an example worker sat and did their job in an area for visitors to walk past.
We didn’t actually walk through the factory itself. But we could glimpse it and parts of it easily. It was really fascinating to watch the workers in the example sections do their jobs. The amount of careful precision needed is insane and the work produced is beautiful. After a worker has worked for the company for five years they get to have their hand put on the wall, since everything is done by hand and to celebrate their hard work.
Most of the hands are women’s hands since the majority of workers and all of the workers we saw in the example spots were female.
We also got to stop for a moment to try a sports drink out of one of their cups, which showcased the pewter’s ability to keep things cool or keep things warm while being light and durable
At the end of the tour we were taken to the showroom where we could buy things and look at stuff Royal Selangor has made. They have done several awards as shown above and to limited edition collections like these.
In order to buy something you need to find a staff member and tell them what you want. I suggest walking around first and then after you know what you want finding someone to help you. There are plenty of people around to help you so finding someone shouldn’t be a problem. Also everything has a price next to it so you shouldn’t have to ask.
Anything you buy they will go get and then take to the check out where they will unbox it and have you look over it to make sure it’s in good quality that you approve of. I paid in cash and for some reason this meant the staff had to run off to a different registered, the process wasn’t particularly fast, but thankfully it wasn’t the type of tour where we’d get left behind.
The whole tour was absolutely fascinating and one of the things I wish I’d brought more money for. Throughout our entire trip we didn’t end up spending too much money so I didn’t carry much on me. I regretted this at the pewter shop as I wandered around looking at all the home goods and souvenirs. I didn’t think when I had heard that the hotel tour included stopping by a pewter factory that I would be interested in buying much.
The Royal Selangor visitor center is open from 9am until 5pm every day and it’s free to visit. The tours are also free and are available in Malay, English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese. I would love to go back and explore more of the museum that we skipped and to see more of the stuff they made. They also have a cafe and a nice bathroom if you end up staying longer or get hungry.