MALAYSIA is bursting with things to do no matter what time of the year.
This year, Tourism Malaysia brought a group of media members city-hopping in the peninsula – from the hustle bustle of a modern metropolitan city to the beauty of old world charm before ending up at the Formula 1 racing track in Sepang.
Accompanied by Ammelia Affendy from Tourism Malaysia, Sarawak, professional and certified tour guide Imran Amed Pala took us on an enjoyable working vacation to explore and rediscover.
Visitors, especially those on official duty or business, are encouraged to take full advantage of the opportunities to get out and see the city and the surrounding areas.
With Malaysia’s rich and colourful multi-cultural heritage, the travel adventures can begin anywhere to feed your five senses with new sensations. After all, there is always opportunity to squeeze some vacation time into your busy working schedule.
Federal administrative centre
Nicknamed the Intelligent Garden City, Putrajaya is the futuristic administrative capital of the country.
The landscape stretches 11,320 acres with more than 40 per cent of the area devoted to greenery, water bodies and 13 different gardens.
Divided into two major areas – Core and Peripheral – magnificent monuments and humongous structures line the streets, making your jaw drop at the sight of brilliant man-made architecture.
The Core Area covers 1,069 hectares and is divided into five precincts – the Government Precinct, Commercial Precinct, Civic & Cultural Precinct, Mixed Development Precinct and Sports & Recreational Precint.
Forming the spine of Putrajaya is a 4.2km boulevard that runs through the middle linking the Core Area precincts.
The Peripheral Area, on the other hand, comprises 15 precincts of residential areas, schools, hospitals, shopping centres, mosques, multi-purpose halls, learning centres and neighbourhood parks.
Agriculture Heritage Park
Sprawled over 35 acres, Agriculture Heritage Park gives an insight into Malaysia’s agricultural heritage and development.
This orchard serves as a sanctuary as well as centre of education for the nation’s priceless agricultural heritage.It’s the place where you can commune with Mother Nature while learning about the amazing facts of the variety of seasonal and non-seasonal fruits, rare fruits, commercial crops and also herbs and spices.
Clear your doubts through hands-on experience – tasting, seeing, smelling, hearing and touching the plants.
Those wanting a little exercise can take a leisurely walk on the Explorer’s Trail or get on a bike to discover the park.
Due to time constraint, we hopped onto the buggy and were given a quick tour while stopping occasionally to view and learn about some of the secrets of herbs and spices.
The ochard showcases the diversity of our local fruits such as pineapple, jackfruit, starfuit and pomegranate. Explore the Herbs & Spices Track and learn about the secrets of nutrients in herbs and spices such as lemongrass, peppermint and other multi-purpose spices.
Watch how latex is collected, congulated and rolled into rubber sheets.
A rubber tapper demonstrated the proper way to remove a thin layer of bark by guiding a special tapping knife along a downward spiral on the trunk of the rubber tree – carefully and with skill so not to cut too deep in order for the panel to yield latex for up to five years.
The spiral allows the latex to run down to a collecting cup attached on the tree. Latex collected from the cups is then poured into pans and mixed with formid acid which serves as a coagulant.
After several hours, the latex will set and look very similar to a big block of tofu.Thereafter, the block is wrung out by putting them through a mangle machine to turn it into thin rubber sheet.
The rubber sheet is later left to soak in the water before being dried in the smokehouse.
Curry tree (murraya koenigii)
This native plant to India and Sri Lanka grows easily in a tropical climate. It’s a small tree with fragrant leaves that are slightly bitter.
While they are commonly used in Indian dishes, curry leaf has many herbal medicinal properties.The health benefits of curry leaves include strengthening the digestive system, controlling cholesterol level and diabetes as well as helping to keep hair healthy.
According to Imran, the Indians believe eating three fresh green curry leaves everyday can promote better health for longevity.
All spice tree (pimenta dioica)
This mid-canopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico and Central America, can be cultivated in our tropical climate.
It has grey bark with dark green and glossy leaves and small white flowers and green berries that turn purple when ripe.The leaves have such unique aroma that smells like a combination of spices – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
This remarkable 18,000 sq-metre pavillion made entirely of marble showcases the Islamic architecture with Moorish designs and houses among others the artworks from the African nation.
The facinating interior and exterior craftsmanship that are intricately detailed are replicated in its ceilings, walls, pillars, mosaic, furniture and ornaments.The pavillion symbolises the strong diplomatic ties between Malaysia and Morocco.
Lunch at Nasi Kandar
Take an escalator from Putra Square to the lake area.
Located next to Putra Mosque, the food court offers a wide variety of international and local delights with air-conditioned indoor and lakeside view outdoor dining areas.
Hameed’s Nasi Kandar is among some 10 stalls in the spacious food court serving northern Indian Muslim dishes – ranging from curries to deep fried seafood and chicken.
The queue can get long during lunch hours as government officers from various ministries around Putrajaya frequent the stall.
One of the specialties is the deep fried large Bamboo prawn and whole crab at RM25 each and very popular among foreign tourists, especially from China.
The delicious food is served on a big plate with keropok and reasonably priced.
* Next week: On to Malacca and Sepang
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