Our short visit to Putrajaya was one of the most memorable moments during our Singapore – Malaysia overland trip last year.
The first time I saw a photo of Putrajaya’s Seri Wawasan Bridge, I was instantly drawn at the asymmetric design and elegant lines of its cable stays.
Why was there such a magnificent structure “hidden” at an unfamiliar place in Malaysia? My curiosity and lack of awareness inadvertently led me to discover this city called Putrajaya.
Putrajaya is a place unrivaled anywhere else in South East Asia. From scratch, the Malaysian Government built a master planned city to serve as the administrative center of their federal government.
This set-up is similar to Canberra in Australia and Brasilia in Brazil wherein the administrative capital is located separately from the congested principal urban cities (Sydney and Melbourne for Australia and Rio de Janeiro for Brazil).
Getting to Putrajaya
Putrajaya was located a good length between the city centre of Kuala Lumpur and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The plan was to visit Putrajaya getting to the airport for our return flight back to Manila.
Our aunt arranged a taxi to pick us up at KL Sentral, take a short stop at Putrajaya, and then drive us all the way to KLIA. Taking the taxi was a much better option than my original plan, which involved taking the KLIA Rail link and going around Putrajaya by bus. Since there were four of us in the group, we ended up paying a cheaper fare (per person) by taking the taxi … this aside from the convenience of having a hired transport.
We boarded the petite Proton (Malaysia’s local car brand) taxi and was greeted by the taxi driver. It was already around a quarter to 6pm. We still had enough time for the 1-hour travel to Putrajaya before nightfall thanks to the late sunset hours in Western Malaysia.
The highways getting out of Kuala Lumpur were spacious and efficient. The scenario was such a contrast to the crowded streets of Manila and Bangkok. The biggest delight was actually spending time with the charming taxi driver. During the ride, he would point out major landmarks along the way, make interesting remarks, and answer numerous queries that popped in my mind.
Surprisingly, he knew a lot about Malaysia. I could get a sense of his great pride for his country. It was refreshing to encounter a deep national pride from him. It’s a trait I hoped more people back home could also embrace.
Arrival at Putrajaya
The sun was already starting to touch the horizon when we arrived in Putrajaya. The sky was very cloudy, I wasn’t expecting a really good sunset. I was just happy to have seen the Seri Wawasan Bridge upclose.
The city centre of Putrajaya was completely surrounded by a huge lake and accessible through nine bridges. There were a lot of very interesting and massive structures within the government complex. Almost all major structures have remarkable architectures that were designed to impress curious visitors, like me :)
As we were crossing the Putra Bridge, the bland bluish-grey sky suddenly turned an orange glow. It was so mesmerizing to see the golden glow of the sunset kiss the delicate pink exteriors of the Masjid Putra. The perfect light only lasted for a few minutes … just enough for a few snaps.
The side trip to Putrajaya was a success! I felt so ecstatic to have had a nice experience before leaving Malaysia.
From KL the taxi ride took 45 minutes to get to Putrajaya, where we spent one hour for the limited photo stops. From Putrajaya, the airport was another 30 minute drive away. The driver used the taxi meter the entire time. The fare totaled a bit under RM100, which was cheaper than all four of us taking the KLIA Rail Link. I wasn’t able to get the contact number of the taxi driver, unfortunately.