Published: February 10th 2012January 29th 2012
After leaving Melaka we had a bit of time to kill before going back to our friends' house in KL. We decided to stop off at a place called Alor Gaja because the guidebook suggested it was quite nice for a short visit. We drove straight through the middle of town before we realised we had passed it by so we made a u-turn and parked up near the main square. In the middle of the square is a huge dagger but there was no plaque or anything to tell us more about it and we have failed to find anything online either! Stalls had been set up for some kind of trade fair so we didn't even see the green lawns that are supposed to be on the square somewhere. Nearby are some nice traditional shops but generally it was a place for a VERY short visit.
Back in KL it was great to catch up with Peter, Sylvia and their children again. Sylvia cooked an amazing meal with a table full of Malay/Indian dishes. Peter recommended a place for us to drive out to on the Friday but it didn't sound too great. I mean, who wants to
We never found out why this is in the main square
go and drive around a new city which is being developed to house the government. it sounded too much like Binh Duong in Vietnam where we live!!
The next day we had to head into KL to collect some spectacles for Trish. The drive to the shopping centre tested Russ' urban driving skills to the limit!! Afterwards though, we continued on to Peter's suggestion and soon found ourselves parking up in Putrajaya. At first it seemed like we were driving down endless tree-lined boulevards but eventually we found an area that looked worth parking up for and exploring. Little did we know that we had just driven half way around the largest roundabout in the world!
We were astounded as we reached the top of the steps and the sight of the Putra Mosque hit us. It is enormous - and rather pink! Friday prayers were in progress and cars were double, triple and quadruple parked everywhere, including all the way round the roundabout. Nearby was the Prime Minister's office but we presume he was at the mosque with everyone else. In the middle of the roundabout hundreds of flags fluttered in the breeze. When Friday prayers were
over and the faithful returned to their lives, we could go into the mosque. Trish got shouted at by a "guard" for not covering up and, due to his rudeness, she decided she didn't want to rent a pink smock to go in. Russ went in by himself and was shocked at the rudeness of the "guards" as they admonished foreign tourists for showing a lock of hair or opening the top button of the smock. We were further shocked to find a food court and an alley of souvenir stalls practically underneath the mosque.
Putrajaya has many bridges. Close to the mosque is the PutraBridge which is modelled on the Khaju Bridge in Esfahan, Iran. There we saw a scene from a Bollywood movie or music video being filmed. It was LOUD and colourful! We had wanted to do a river cruise but the next departue was an hour and a half away so we decided to leave it.
Back in the car we drove down Putrajaya's main road with it's modern architecture. It was all very clean and nice to look at. At the far end was the Putrajaya Convention Centre, or maybe a UFO had
just landed. It was hard to tell the difference! There seemed to be a million Malaysian flags flying in front of it which was quite impressive. Then our nightmare began! We drove across one of the bridges to try to see Putrajaya from the other side. The one way roads and highways don't have areas for u-turns so once you make a mistake, you've had it! We drove about 3 times around nearby Cyberjaya and never did find our way back. Still, it means there will still be some sights to see should we go back again in the future.
The rest of our time in Malaysia was spent eating and drinking too much, or so it seemed! Peter introduced us to some late night bars with loud music in KL. It was a little odd to see Indian ex-pats line dancing to Elvis. Shame they were not wearing saris. Now that would have been worth a photo!
Our Malaysian holiday was fantastic. We WILL be back!!
There are more photos below