Kuala lumpr, Selangor and Putrajaya is where all the hustle and bustle is. It is safe to say that this region is the most developed of them all as it is a metropolis surrounded by nature. This central hub includes Selangor state and federal territories, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL, is the first place most people go to when flying into the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan.
Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle is where it’s at in this city, it’s kinda like our very own NYC. Known for the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world with a mean 88 floors to brag about which is also featured in the Hollywood blockbuster movie, Entrapment, featuring Sean Cloony and Catherine Zeta Jones (yeah, we’re still proud of that!), this beautiful city has a mix of colonial, modern, and traditional architecture which you don’t usually see in other Southeast Asian capitals. This is where some of the best shopping malls like Pavillion, Star Hill and the popular Suria KLCC home to the city’s aquarium, Aquaria.
There is so much offered for everyone here in KL. Kompleks Budaya Kraf and Central market is where you can find the perfect souvenir from the usual keychains and magnets to batik materials and traditional kites. Menara KL stands at 421m giving you an amazing 360 degree view of the city from the observation deck. You can even dine in the sky at the revolving Seri Angkasa restaurant on the floor above the deck. If you’re lucky, there are times when people base jump from the top of the tower and drop at Merdeka Square. Merdeka Square was formerly known as the Selangor Club Padang and it was here that the Union Jack was lowered and the Malaysian moon, stars and stripes were hoisted for the first time marking the country’s day of Independence – 31st August 1957.
Not far from here are 3 green patches of KL – Bukit Nanas (translates: pineapple), Lake Gardens and the recently restored Taman Tugu. At Bukit Nanas and Taman Tugu, there are numerous jungle trails to follow and information centres for you to learn more about these green treasures.
At the lake gardens, which is located behind the National Mosque, however, has much to offer. There is an Islamic Art Museum, Butterfly Park, Bird Park – the biggest free flying aviary in the world and the National Planetarium. Spending a day here alone might just not be enough.
Something rather different we’d like to recommend would be supporting the homeless community by getting a tour of KL from a different light with Yellowhouse.
If you enjoy the arts and would like to support local acts, you could visit KLpac, Istana Budaya or Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS, and work your getaway around their next show!
If you’re a foodie, a little food tour would do just the trick – from street stalls and coffee shops to food chains and fine dining. The food in KL is so much so we claim it part of our culture, no, seriously, we do!
KL homes some of the country’s finest hotels here too – getting eco friendly (as we all should be), we’d recommend Element Kuala Lumpur, G Tower Hotel, Furma Bukit Bintang, Banyan Tree, Anggun Boutique Hotel and Container Hotel. These options all depend on your budget.
KL’s hinterland, Selangor, is one of the most developed states in the country. It is so close to KL that most people from Selangor sometimes say that they’re from KL because of how generally close they both are. So close that it’s only about 20minutes drive from most places on a good day but in traffic (arrrgghh) could take up to 2 hours to get anywhere sometimes.
Selangor has the best of both worlds (like almost every Malaysian state) with the Strait of Melacca on the west coast and Titiwangsa Range on the east. There’s plenty of things to do for everyone. Among them include the rugged limestone Batu Caves of which contains Malaysia’s most sacred Hindu shrine which is said to be about 400 million years old and is one of KL’s most visited tourist attractions. There are 272 steps to climb before entering the temple complex of 3 main caves and a few smaller ones.
During Thaipusam, the biggest festival for Hindus after Deepavali which usually falls in January or February depending on the moon of the Hindu calendar, thousands of people (believers and tourists) gather to celebrate the Hindu deity Lord Murugan (the youngest son of Shiva and his wife Parvati).
On the sides of these caves is where there’s a little more action for those into a bit of adventure. There are more than 160 routes for a rock climber to climb at heights up to 150m. Abseiling and splunking is available here too.
In the Klang Valley which is is more of the suburban parts of Selangor, there is a variety of activities which can be enjoyed like Jump Street – a trampoline park with interconnected trampolines from the floor right up the walls; Sunway Lagoon – a Malaysian favourite theme park experience with 6 adventure zones – water park, amusement park, wildlife park, extreme park, scream park and Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon;
Moving away from the centre, you can find the Forest Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) in Kepong. FRIM is the centre for forestry-based research and education but it is also open for visitors who want a quick getaway into the rainforest without having to travel too far. There is an array of jungle trails to trek which go through plantations, wetlands and hills; some of these trails have been around since the 1930’s! The highlight one should never miss out at FROM would be the 150m long canopy that hangs 30m above the ground
Northwest of KL lies the quiet town of Kuala Selangor where you would have the chance to watch once the world’s largest colony of fireflies dance in the night as you drift along on a sampan, a small wooden boat, along the dark Selangor River and surrounded by mangrove trees.
Another beauty not to be missed is the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, a state park comprising of 200 hectares of woodland and wetland managed by the Malaysian Nature Society. Rich with flora and fauna, the mangrove ecosystem is a crucial element in protecting the coastline, acts as a nursery for fish and it is a habitat for the diverse wildlife. Here at the park, they provide very basic accommodation at a reasonable price.
Not far from Kampung Kuantan and the nature park, there is a rare gem which you can only catch on a lunar month – to be specific, the 1st & 2nd and 1th & 15th of every lunar month. This recently discovered natural attraction, Sasaran Sky Mirror, has been dubbed the “Salar de Uyuni of Malaysia” and is growing in popularity.
There aren’t really many eco-friendly places to stay here in Kuala Selangor but there are a few cool places we could recommend: The Kabin – a cool container hotel perfect for the family; De Palma Eco-Resort – just minutes away from all the main attractions; Firefly Park Resort – is a cluster of little water challets, one of the most popular resorts booked for firefly getaways.
If you’re looking for more of a chill out in the jungle kind of retreat, serendah would be the perfect place to go. There are a few eco-resorts you can choose from: Sekeping Serendah – set within the rainforest, these minimalistic sheds are built to keep you closer than ever to the nature around you. Carpe Diem – Slow down life’s pace and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Tasik Kebun is a charming little nature resort nestled in the middle of the jungle, perfect for families and small gatherings.
Putrajaya can seem like quite the bore to many locals with all the government buildings and whatever but in actual fact, this federal administrative capital has weekend getaway potential. Just 25mins from the city centre, you can find lakes, wetlands, parks, museums and of course malls. There are numerous iconic buildings in Putrajaya, one of the most popular would be the Prime minister’s office. This building of Islamic and modern blended architecture may not be open to visitors but you can take pictures of the grandeur from the outside. The Putra Mosque is such a beautiful sight; with the rose-tinted granite exterior which reflects its interior, this majestic house of worship can hold about 20,000 worshippers. While the Putra Mosque may take centre stage in Putrajaya, the Iron Mosque is another picturesque building worth checking out. Constructed primarily from steel, from afar, this masterpiece looks like it’s made of metal or glass.
Putrajaya is home to Malaysia’s biggest botanical garden. To explore the gardens, you can hire a bicycle for RM4 an hour. There are 5 thematic gardens which hold over 700 species of unique and rare plants and lush natural landscapes.
You don’t need to travel far for a taste of Morocco when you can head to the Putrajaya Botanical Gardens. Built as a symbol of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and Morocco, the architecture and craftsmanship of the Moroccan Pavilion resembles the villages and imperial cities of Morocco and the pictures you can take here are 5 tar insta-worthy.
The beauty of the Putrajaya Lake can be soaked in by foot, bicycle or even by boat. It is a popular jogging and picnic spot, water sport activities like water surfing, jet skiing, flyboarding, standup paddling and even jetpacking!! The lake is also a major international venue for sport events such as the recent SEAS Games, the Asian Canoeing Championship, the Red Bull Air Re World Championship, and the F1 Powerboat Championship.
It is hard to imagine that there would be wetlands in the middle of a city but hey, there’s one in Putrajaya! Malaysia’s first manmade freshwater wetlands has even been recognised as an Ecohydrology Demonstration site by UNESCO! A hot spot for bird watchers as the wetlands is home to over 100 species of birds including Flamindoes, Swans, jungle fowls and buffy fish owls. Climb up the observation tower to get a 360 degree view of the entire area and if you want to learn more about wetland ecosystems, head over to the Nature Interpretive Centre (NIC).