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Putrajaya’s “Secret” Garden – Neon Trees & Night Lights

What comes to mind when you think of Putrajaya? Probably “impressive government buildings“, “beautiful architecture“, “wide roads“, and such. While Putrajaya, as the country’s administrative capital, definitely has these things, it also has alot to offer in terms of tourist attractions.

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One such place that recently opened to the public is the Putrajaya “Secret” Garden, located within Taman Putra Perdana in Precinct 1. The park itself is not new: perched atop the hill that makes up the Putrajaya Roundabout (fun tidbit: this is the largest roundabout in the world!), it was inaugurated in 1995 and spans some 154 acres. Putrajaya Corporation, the government body that manages Putrajaya City, decided to spruce up a portion of the park with colourful neon lights and decorative fixtures – and voila! A romantic spot to take the significant other on a stroll after sundown.

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We initially came here on a weekend after seeing viral posts online. But of course, having gone viral, everyone else was also thronging the place – the queue of vehicles going up was so long it stretched all the way to the foot of the hill. We ended up leaving and returning on a weekday evening, when it was less crowded. It was worth the trip, though. The park is already beautifully landscaped and well maintained, and the addition of colourful lights lends it a magical, fantasy-like feel. Photo enthusiasts will love the place!

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Glow-in-the-dark dino sculpture. This was a hit with kids, who all wanted to take photos with it.

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Fairy lights
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This is not the first place in Malaysia with such a concept – there’s an Avatar Secret Garden in Penang that went viral a couple of years ago – but that one requires an entry fee, while you get to enjoy the Putrajaya version for free!

Malaysian weather can be crazy hot during the day, so I think it’s a brilliant idea to light up the park at night. Not only is the weather cooler, making it more pleasant to stroll around, it also gives visitors a different experience.

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We decided to walk down the wide avenue leading from the Secret Garden’s main section to Plaza Mercu Tanda (literally, Putrajaya Landmark). Along the way are water fountains that bubble gently, their streams lit up by changing coloured lights.

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Plaza Mercu Tanda is the first landmark in Putrajaya, established in 1995, and symbolizes the beginnings of Putrajaya as Malaysia’s administrative capital. The landmark combines futuristic elements with traditional motifs and is meant to look like a time capsule, although personally, it’s pyramid-like shape looks to me more like a tengkolok, the traditional headgear worn by Malay men. The landmark is located at the highest point of Precinct 1; if you walk a bit further past it, you’ll come to a platform where you can enjoy panoramic views of Putrajaya.

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Night view of Putrajaya from the landmark. The steps lead all the way down to the Putra Mosque and where the Prime MInister’s Office is located.
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Also view from the landmark, this one looking back at where we walked from the entrance.
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We made our way back to the entrance to continue our stroll. More pretty photos!

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My favourite light feature here has to be this “Avatar” tree, with tendrils of lights hanging down in curtains of bioluminscent blue.

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A third photo for good measure.
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All that walking around might leave you feeling hungry or thirsty, but fret not! Right in front of the Secret Garden is Pulse Grande Hotel, a luxury five-star hotel, where they’ve set up booths selling snacks, meals, and drinks. While the prices are slightly above average, I don’t think they’re unreasonable. During our visit, they had Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes, Mihun Goreng with Fried Chicken, Thai Fried Rice with Pandan Chicken, as well as stuff like hot dogs.

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Grab a chair with your snacks and enjoy the beautiful lights!

The Hubs and I thoroughly enjoyed our short excursion to the Putrajaya Secret Garden – the lights are beautiful, and it’s nice to walk around in a park, listen to the chirruping of crickets, and breathe in cool night air instead of being in the stale, air-conditioned confines of a mall. And best of all – it’s FREE. What more could one ask for?

PUTRAJAYA SECRET GARDEN @ TAMAN PUTRA PERDANA

In front of Pulse Grande Hotel, Taman Putra Perdana, Jalan Putra Perdana, Presint 1, 62000, Putrajaya.

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5 Things To Do in Putrajaya, Malaysia

Mention Malaysia and most people would probably be able to name Kuala Lumpur as the capital. It’s definitely well-known as a bustling metropolis with historical and cultural attractions, as well as being an affordable shopping haven.. KL was also the seat of the government for the longest time – until it shifted to Putrajaya in 1999.

Being a relatively new place, not many foreigners would know about Putrajaya. In line with our vision to be a developed nation by 2020 (I doubt that would happen, but meh. Gotta give them some points for effort), the gov spared no expense in developing the area. What sets Putrajaya apart from KL is a place modelled after the principles of moderate and Islamic values. (fitting, since Putrajaya’s population are largely Malay-Muslim)

So what does the new administrative capital have to offer?

  1. Perfect Roads

Removed from the grunge, dirt and old-world charm of KL, squeaky clean Putrajaya has well-paved streets with not a pothole in sight, nicely lined pavements and well maintained vegetation. Trees are neatly trimmed, roads are clear of rubbish and everything is orderly. Best of all? There is rarely traffic congestion, which makes driving here a breeze compared to the hell that is KL. I’m based here half the time, so I always jump for joy whenever I have assignments in Putrajaya, because it means that I actually reach home in 20 minutes as opposed to being stuck in the jam for two hours if I’m coming back from KL/PJ.

2) Gorgeous architecture

If you love taking pictures of beautiful buildings, this is the place for you. Many of the administrative buildings, such as the Palace of Justice (above) carry both Islamic and modern influences, as can be seen from the large dome, arched entryways and straight, clean cut designs.

It was completed in 2003 and currently houses 2 Appeal Courts and 6 Federal courts.

Fun fact: Don’t take it the wrong way, but as a kid I used to call those domes as bawang. To a five-year-old me, they did look like onions. xD

Balloons being let off at an event on the field opposite the Putrajaya Corporation building. Located just opposite the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya Corp is basically like a city council which runs things in the capital. I’ve been here on a couple of occasions, because the Ministers have meetings here.

The back portion of the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, also known as the Iron Mosque. The front portion sits by the lakeside. The mosque is named after one of our Agong (king), who officiated the opening in 2010. (At the time of the pic there were lots of kiosks coz it was Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and there was a holiday bazaar there.)

3) Scenic views 

One of the most prominent features of Putrajaya is probably it’s 3km long man made lake (Putrajaya Lake), where various international events are held every year. Pretty smart move by the government to turn it into a tourist attraction AND an international venue. Apart from romantic lake cruises, watersports such as jetski and dragon boat races are held here every year. Then there’s the Red Bull Air Race, which sees display pilots from all over the world competing over the still lake waters. Pretty awesome experience.

A good spot to view the lake and it’s surrounding views is from the Seri Wawasan Bridge. There are a number of connecting bridges in Putrajaya, and this one has a ship’s rudder design that kind of reminds me of a whale skeleton, lol.  At night, it is lit up by colourful changing lights.

4) Anddddd… more architecture

Just a stone’s throw away is the Prime Minister’s Office, aka Perdana Putra. Like the Palace of Justice, it has Western and Islamic designs incorporated into the building. One of the more distinctive landmarks in Putrajaya, visitors can tell it from afar, thanks to it’s location on a hill and the large green spire on top.

Just next to the PM’s office is the Putra Mosque. I simply call it the Pink Mosque coz of it’s colour. Sitting on the edge of the Putrajaya Lake, it’s really quite scenic. The Morrocan architecture and calligraphy both inside and outside is really quite stunning.

5) Shopping 

There’s only one major mall in Putrajaya, which is Alamanda Shopping Centre. It’s quite small compared to the large one’s in KL, but the good thing is that they’re relatively quiet and free of crowds, so shopping is actually relaxing. Apart from food outlets, they also have a bowling alley and a cinema. In terms of nom, choices can be rather limited to Western and Malay fare, since, as I mentioned earlier, Putrajaya has a large Malay-Muslim community.

You can also pat random cute cats on the outdoor patio, where some restaurants and cafes are.

So I hope this post has been helpful to people thinking of dropping by Putrajaya! It’s a nice place for sightseeing if you’re ever in the area, especially if you love buildings and architecture.

Til next post!