Kuala Lumpur may be the capital of Malaysia, but Putrajaya, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) away, is the nation’s seat of government. A planned city laid out in the mid-1990s, its grandiose buildings, manicured gardens, and space-age architecture spread out around an artificial lake.
Relatively few travelers choose to stay in Putrajaya overnight, preferring to visit on a day or night tour from nearby Kuala Lumpur. The city’s sights are spread out over a large area, and for many the ease of a tour is preferable to the hassles of driving. Putrajaya tour options range from Segway adventures and car excursions to lake cruises and balloon flights: The city’s architecture is at its most impressive when seen from the air.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Putrajaya is a popular choice for architecture fans.
- Putrajaya is a conservative Muslim city. Although robes are available to borrow at the Putra Mosque, it’s worth covering up more than you might in Kuala Lumpur.
- The Perdana Putra, Malaysia’s answer to the Capitol, has a strict dress code. Men need to wear collared shirts, closed shoes, and long pants, while women should cover shoulders, knees, and décolletage.
- Although far from perfect, Putrajaya is one of Malaysia’s most wheelchair-accessible cities.
How to Get There
Putrajaya is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Kuala Lumpur and easy to reach from both of Kuala Lumpur’s international airports on the KLIA Transit rail service. However, most visitors prefer to base themselves in Kuala Lumpur, which has broader food, accommodation, and nightlife options. The KLIA Transit connects the two cities in under 20 minutes.
When to Get There
Putrajaya is hot and steamy all year round, with slightly more rain in the rainy season (roughly November through March). Visiting in the evenings can provide a visual feast, with the city’s signature architecture lit up; weekends can be eerily quiet. As with Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, smoke pollution (“haze”) is occasionally an issue between June and August.
Putrajaya: Architectural Highlights
Whether you’re floating on the lake or gliding high in a hot-air balloon, it’s Putrajaya’s architecture that makes the city what it is. Landmarks not to miss include circular Putra Square, rose-pink Putra Mosque, alien-looking Putrajaya Convention Centre, sail-shaped Seri Wawasan Bridge, and the Perdana Putra, home to Malaysia’s government.