Putrajaya: The Pride of the Nation

by Audrey Lim, Nov 1, 2004 | Destinations: Malaysia / Putrajaya/Cyberjaya

Basically, most tourists to the country would flock to the heart of the city for shopping, entertainment, and food. Business people would also head towards Kuala Lumpur for meetings, conventions, and other business-related plans. Visitors, on the other hand, would definitely want to catch a glimpse of the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the world's tallest buildings. They will also jam the streets of Bukit Bintang for the "must-have" shopping spree.

Because of this, the capital city has begun to swell tremendously and thus creating an uncomfortable human and traffic congestion. As this could be a messy problem if left uncared for, Putrajaya was set up as the country's new Administrative Center of the Federal Government of Malaysia. Now, Kuala Lumpur is known as the country's financial and commercial capital, whereas the capital city role was taken over by Putrajaya.

A smart move if one may say, for Kuala Lumpur has become so saturated that it is almost uncomfortable spending more than a few days there.

Putrajaya is located along the South Growth Corridor of the Multimedia Super Corridor or more commonly known as MSC, and is neighbors to the high-tech Cyberjaya. Entering into Putrajaya is like visiting a totally new country of its own. The township is excellently planned and very deserving of its name "Intelligent Garden City". This is a place where development does not interfere with nature. A model garden city, yet Putrajaya does not lack in the field of information and multimedia technologies.

Built over a huge plot of land amounting to some 4,581 hectares, Putrajaya aims to become the new nerve center of the nation where one will live a balanced lifestyle of work, sports, and recreation. Judging from current development, Putrajaya will no doubt be able to fulfill all that... and more. In line with a developing nation, technology is given priority in the building and planning of Putrajaya. The township comes with a fully digital telecommunications infrastructure that will match international standards. As the country's administrative center, its goals to become totally electronic and high-tech have been met.

Governmental business and technology asides, Putrajaya is an awesome sight. My last visit there took place some 2 weeks ago. Acting like a proper tour guide should be, the usual sights I brought my Australian friends to view include all the major shopping complexes in Klang Valley, the Twin Towers and other attractive sights in Kuala Lumpur, and of course, Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. As Putrajaya was our last stop, I was rather tired from the "sight-seeing" stops we have had thus far. However, Putrajaya was a pleasant surprise for all - even for me. As we are not exactly sure where to go, we simply followed the well-placed road signs. Soon enough, we caught sight of a tall steel structure from a distance. Deciding to head towards that direction, we came to the start of a bridge within moments. The steel structure that we saw from afar was in actual fact this awe-inspiring bridge. Artistically designed, this is the very bridge that leads to the heart of the Administrative Centers, the place where all the government offices are located. We drove across the bridge...

As we caught our first glimpse of what's awaiting us at the end of the bridge, the image took our breaths away. It was awesome and it was breathtaking - literally. Like entering into the grounds of a grand palace, we were greeted by architectural wonders... we have finally arrived at the nerve center! The building that was right in front of us seems like the master of it all, curved at both sides where the rest of the administrative buildings flanked the "master" in the center. There is even a viewing point for visitors to stop on the bridge for some photo shoots. Below the bridge is a park, which is incomplete at the moment. After spending moments there, we reluctantly left the place.

From there, we drove on to explore other sights. Putrajaya is totally different from the rest of the country. The housing estate in Putrajaya is quaint, comfortable and offers a different quality of lifestyle for its residents. Unlike the fenced-up homes commonly found throughout the country, Putrajaya homes adopt the open-concept. The feeling it evokes is one of safety, neighborly friendliness and warmth. The area is also packed with greenery. Dotted around Putrajaya are various botanical garden and parks with a beautiful variety of plants. Putrajaya can safely boast of being encompassed by a total of 40% natural land. There are also several wetlands where one can indulge in water sports such as boating (for a small fee) or even fishing. Each park/wetland comes well-equipped to cater to the handicapped as well as general public amenities such as clean toilets and a cafeteria. It is indeed very pleasant to be seated at the cafeteria overlooking the wetlands while enjoying an ice-cream or sipping on tea. Parking is charged at RM1 per entry. Nearby the wetlands is a famous seafood restaurant. Judging by the crowd gathering at the entrance to the restaurant on that weekend that I was there, one can safely say that the food served has got to be truly delicious and fresh. Very soon, a large shopping complex will be opened in Putrajaya. Built with an interesting garden-like concept as befitting the overall "green theme" of Putrajaya, the mall will be an added attraction to the place.

Geographically, Putrajaya is divided into two main locations. They are known as the Core Area and the Peripheral Area. It is very easy to see the division of these two areas as a huge lake is between the two.

Briefly explaining the difference, the Core Area is as the name suggest. It is the heart of the city where economic and governmental activities take place. The bridge (as mentioned above) is the Core Area. It covers an area of about 1069 hectares and is separated into five precincts. They are the Government Precinct, Commercial Precinct, Civic & Cultural Precinct, Mixed Development Precinct, and Sports & Recreational Precinct. The "curved area" as previously mentioned is actually the link of it all - the distinctive 4.2-km long boulevard. This basically forms the spinal cord of the Core Area and it stretches across the central island thus joining the rest of the city together. It is also at the boulevard that many celebrations and other cultural and festive activities will take place.

The Peripheral Area is mainly made up of housing zones - a total of 12 out of 15 precincts within the Peripheral Area are allocated for this purpose. Each neighborhood is well-planned and exudes a warm and homely feel. The landscaping, beautiful sidewalks and overall treatment of the area give each precinct a separate and unique identity. Right now, there are about 67000 homes of different sizes, designs and density. It is the town planner's idea to create Putrajaya into a place that is suitable for both working and living in. With technology at its peak, home dwellers will also benefit from it. Even though technology surrounds these homes, yet nature is not all lost. There are parks of different sizes, community/neighborhood centers and house of worship too. Schools, hospitals, multipurpose halls, shopping complexes and others are very much the state-of-the-art projects. Rest assured anyone living in Putrajaya will have the best of both worlds - technology and nature.

An interesting point to note: Putrajaya has artistically-designed street lights that are different from one precinct to another. At some areas, even the traffic lights at unique!

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