It was my favourite morning at the Holiday Inn Express as I noticed that the delicious flatbread roti canai was on the menu and I couldn’t resist having several slices along with my usual selection of cheese, fresh fruit and yoghurt.
We had planned to spend the day in Putrajaya, 25 km from Kuala Lumpur and which has been the administrative centre of Malaysia since 1999. The city is a showcase of urban planning with majestic buildings overlooking a large man-made lake. It was planned as a garden city with 38% of its area left as a natural landscape or reserved for gardens.
Before boarding the monorail we topped up our Touch ‘n Go travel cards then took the train along to KL Sentral. There is a frequent rail service to Putrajaya with trains on the KLIA Transit Line departing every 30 minutes. By using our travel cards the fare was only RM14 (£2.60) each way for the 20 minute journey.
Our original plan was to then take a bus into the city centre 3 km away and although we located the bus station without problem we discovered that our travel cards were not accepted on buses in Putrajaya. This in itself wasn’t an issue as we just needed to buy tickets from a nearby kiosk prior to boarding the bus. After waiting for what seemed like ages at the unattended kiosk where a piece of cardboard was propped up in the window translated meaning ‘rest time’ we finally gave up and decided to order a Grab taxi. This idea didn’t work either as we were unable to connect to any wi-fi, and with the travel kiosk still unmanned we decided to walk.
There was little or no shade and it was exceedingly hot as we used Google maps to navigate into the city centre. On reaching the lake we noticed a branch of McDonald’s so popped inside their air conditioned cafe to cool down with some soft drinks before continuing.
From McDonald’s the walk was actually very pleasant as we were able to take a lakeside path all the way to Putra Bridge, a towering twin bridge fringed by landscaped gardens and the lake. The bridge connects the Boulevard which is Putrajaya’s main street with Putra Square.
Whilst walking into the centre we’d seen little activity and had begun to wonder where everyone was, but this all changed as we approached the crowded Putra Square which was teeming with cars, scooters and pedestrians. The vast square is actually circular and connects the Putra Mosque and Perdana Putra with the lake.
The square is divided into segments laid out in the pattern of a star representing the states of Malaysia and is landscaped with decorative flower beds and large flagpoles. Having seen aerial photographs of the square it looks much more impressive from above but was still very pleasant to view at ground level.
Our eyes were drawn to a magnificent building overlooking the square on a slight incline which was the Perdana Putra, the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office housing all Government departments.
To one side of the square stands the Putra Mosque backing onto the lakeside. This mosque was completed in 1999 in a Moorish architectural style and is absolutely stunning with its rose tinted granite and magnificent pink dome. As we were visiting on a Friday, prayers were taking place and it was closed to visitors but we did manage to peer into the marble pillared courtyard which looked beautiful.
We then had a walk by the lake near to the mosque passing several cafes and the boat pier. We preferred the lakeside promenade on the far side of the Putra Bridge as this area was crowded with tour groups and souvenir stalls. We had no difficulty connecting to wi-fi by the Putra Bridge and were able to order a Grab taxi back to the station and this was only RM9 (£1.67).
It was around 3.00 p.m. by the time we arrived back at our hotel and after a little rest we set off once again on the GO KL free bus to KLCC Park. We had visited the Petronas Towers on our first evening in Kuala Lumpur but it was also interesting to view the iconic towers in daylight and to explore the surrounding gardens.
Suria Mall is located beneath the Petronas Towers and we spent some time glancing in some of its designer stores before crossing the road to look around a branch of Robinson’s, a department store similar to John Lewis in the U.K. After our dose of retail therapy we returned back to the hotel on the free bus but it would probably have been quicker if we had walked as the bus got stuck in a traffic jam for absolutely ages.
Before dinner we gathered together some of our belongings ahead of the next stage of our holiday to Singapore. Once again we ate dinner along the atmospheric food street Jalan Alor feasting on chicken and pork dishes with glasses of Tiger beer.
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