Before our armchair travels take us away from Malaysia we have one more stop to make. I usually write about the capital city of a country as the last place to visit before moving on however in this case I left Putrajaya as the last stop because it is a planned city. It is located 25km south of the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and serves as the federal administrative center of the country.
The Putrajaya Wetland is in the heart of Putrajaya. It is a natural landscape that is dominated by Putrajaya Lake. The lake and the wetland are two of the most distinct features of the city. Putrajaya Lake takes up 650 hectares and was designed as a natural cooling system for the city and for recreation. The lake is used for fishing, water sports and water transport. It is also possible to swim in the lake since a wetland was constructed to remove pollutants and to clean the water before it enters the lake.
Both locals and visitors find much to enjoy at Marina Putrajaya. This is a lakeside complex that is open to the general public and everyone can use the facilities for a reasonable rate. There are marina services like boat and equipment storage, berthing, slipway and jetty. You can choose to participate in water sports such as water skiing, wake boarding, fly boarding, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, dragon boat racing and sailing. Whatever you choose there are lessons available as well and international water skiing championship events take place here.
On Saturday evenings you can enjoy a wonderful dancing fountain display. There are also buskers, a clown, battery operated cars, KMX cycles and free karaoke.
Visit the lovely Putrajaya Botanical Gardens. The gardens are fairly new and were planted on 230 acres. There are many different plants and trees. The trees aren’t fully grown yet but have been planted so that they are delight to see. Something is always blooming and it is well worth a visit. Among the highlights here are the Canna Walk, Fern Garden, Floral Steps, African Collection, Tropical America Collection, Hibiscus Walk, Bougainvillea Tunnel, Pandanus Walk, Orchid Path, Plam Hill, Vine Garden and Heliconia Trail.
Other things to delight include a canopy bridge, a huge sundial, covered walkways, a lake boardwalk, gazebos and picnic shelters. You can hire cycles, do some boating, participate in an interactive exhibition and take a tram ride. The Putrajaya Seafood Restaurant sits prominently on the lake front.
Taman Wetlands/Wetlands Park
These wetlands were created to keep the water in the lake fresh and clean. These freshwater wetlands are said to be the largest in the tropics. They perform three vital functions – flood mitigation, water filtration and habitat creation. The wetlands are home to frogs, reptiles, fish and water birds. They have become a popular eco-tourism destination.
The Nature Interpretation Center is a mini-museum that explains how the wetlands work and introduces different kinds of flora and fauna that are found in the park. At the main Information Center you can rent a bike or a set of binoculars or choose to take a tram ride around the park. To get a good view all around climb the look-out tower. The nearby Flamingo Pond has sheltered areas for picnics.
Some of the birds you can spot are night herons, cattle egrets, purple herons, grey herons, black crown neck herons, painted storks, green herons and cinnamon bitterns.
There is a padang area that gets hired out for special events like weddings. Nearby is a path that takes you through a bamboo forest where you can see a troupe of monkeys swinging around. Continuing on this path you’ll get back to the Nature Interpretation Center.
Crossing a road bridge you’ll get to the Water Recreation Center where you can hire kayaks, canoes, paddle boats and rowboats. If you like you can do some fishing or have a BBQ. The center is on the main lake away from the protected wetlands.
Taman Warisan Pertanian or Agriculture Heritage Park is a great place to see different kinds of tropical fruit trees, herbs and spices, rubber, palm oil, tea, coffee and other commercial crops. Entering the park you’ll find an information counter and you can get a map of the park. There is a covered space known as Agricultural Square where exhibitions, shows or markets are held. There are also gift shops, a snack shop, a mini store, a florist, and other shops. This all opens out onto a food court so you can have a taste of local food specialties. Local residents regularly come to the park just for the food.
You have the choice of walking about the park yourself, hiring a guide or taking a buggy ride. The park is divided up into different sections each with its own crops. The fruit growing here includes jackfruit, rambutan, sapodilla, jambu madu, cempedak, longan, durian, pomelo, mango, mangosteen, pulasan, dragon fruit, star fruit and guava. Visitors to the park aren’t allowed to pick the fruit. Signs in English and Bahasa offer basic information on each fruit species including the health benefits.
On the last weekend of every month there is an Agro Bazaar taking place in the car park area. There are stalls selling fruit, pot plants, organic fertilizers, pet rabbits and sundry items.
Putra Mosque is Putrajaya’s famous pink mosque. It is located on the edge of Putrajaya Lake. The mosque was named after the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tungku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Hai. The main dome and the smaller domes are made from pink granite. The mosque is a combination of Middle Eastern and traditional Malay design elements.
The Main Prayer Hall has 12 giant pillars and the massive hall accommodate up to 8000 male worshipers at the ground level and the first floor can accommodate up to 2000 female worshipers. There is an auditorium for up to 380 people, lecture rooms, a dining hall that can accommodate up to 230 guests and all of these facilities can be rented out. The mosque also holds funeral services and there is a library.
The Putrajaya International Convention Center/PICC is a most unusually shaped building. The shape of the building is said to have been inspired by a Malay royal belt buckle. Completed in 2003 the convention center was designed to be a world-class convention center comprised of 1.3 million square feet spread over 9 levels. The facilities here include several exhibition halls, meeting rooms, conference rooms, lounges, banqueting halls, galleries, two restaurants, shopping outlets and a basement parking garage. This circular building has an internal garden behind glass walls so that visitors can enjoy the beauty of the garden but aren’t out in the heat.
Putrajaya has many wonderful and interesting bridges.
Seri Perdana Bridge is 375m long. The Prime Minister most often uses this bridge to drive to work. The bridge was built in the Moorish style and has eight rest pavilions from which pedestrians can obtain fantastic views of the city’s most famous landmarks. The viewing pavilions are arch shaped and tiled with geometric pattern designs in the Islamic style.
Seri Wawasan Bridge has a futuristic design with cable back stays and standard steel tie backs. This bridge is noticeable from different vantage points in the city. At night it is illuminated with changing colored lights. The bridge is 240m long and the main span is 168m long.
Seri Saujana Bridge is 300m long and was built with a combination of cable stay and steel arch design. The bridge has grey and white main stay cables and blue back stays. It is colorfully illuminated at night.
Seri Gemilang Bridge finds itself in the shadow of the Putrajaya International Convention Center. The long and wide boulevard that runs down the center of the main island at the heart of the city is linked to the mainland at one end by the Putra Bridge and at the other end by this bridge. It is a more traditional steel and concrete bridge with grand decorative towers, trimmed with marble and gold. The bridge is 240m long with the main span at 120m.
Putra Bridge is the longest bridge at 435m and is a popular place for wedding photos. The bridge has two tiers with the upper level being the road and the lower level reserved for the planned monorail system. The design of the bridge was inspired by the Khaju Bridge in Isfahan, Iran. There are octagonal viewing pavilions.
Located on the waterfront in the center of Putrajaya is the Millennium Monument rising 68m into the sky. It was opened to the public in 2005. It was designed to be in the shape of a hibiscus flower when viewed from above. There is a multilevel platform that wraps around the base of the column. Visitors can walk up this platform but cannot go into the obelisk. Going up the ramp you can see a series of engraved glass panels that trace important milestones in Malaysia’s history in chronological order. There is a time capsule concealed in the base of the monument that contains a message from the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohammad and is expected to be unearthed in the year 2020.The monument offers fantastic views over the city and its bridges. Next to it is the Lake Garden Cafe where you can relax and watch the sunset over Putrajaya Lake.
Nearby is the waterfront park which hosts some of Putrajaya’s major annual events – Flora Putrajaya a flower show held every July, The Putrajaya Kite Festival held in February and the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta held in March which includes attractions like hot air balloon rides while tethered, helicopter rides, KMX Karts and archery.
Take a stroll along the lake to get a closer look at Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque. It was completed in 2009 and has a stainless steel dome which is why it has been nicknamed the iron or steel mosque. It was built with ultrasonic technology to repel birds.
Located in the Palace of Justice is the Justice Museum Putrajaya. Here you can find out about how Malaysia’s legal system developed, get a view of a mock-up High Court trial, see wigs, costumes and other law paraphernalia.
The Natural History Museum also known as the Museum of Nature or Muzium Alam Semula Jadi is housed in a modern two story, glass-fronted building. It opened its doors in 2010. The museum collects, documents and exhibits Malaysia’s natural heritage like plants, animals, rocks minerals and fossils. On the ground floor is a Malaysian mammals exhibit, upstairs is a temporary exhibition space and a small room that has cases full of moths, butterflies, beetles, spiders and other bugs.
Real life Malayan Sun Bear
Real life Pangolin
Real life Sumatran Rhinoceros
The mammal exhibition features a 40 ft. long skeleton of the Bryde’s Whale suspended from the ceiling. It was washed ashore in Labuan in 2005. The rest of the exhibition is focused on Malaysian animals. There are stuffed examples of each animal with facts and trivia on the species. Among the stuffed animals on display are tigers, a baby Asian elephant, the Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Sun Bear, Mainland Serow, deer, primates, otters, a pangolin, squirrels and rodents.