|Heading southwest from Kuala Lumpur on the
busy Federal Highway, one is greeted by a majestic arch marking the
gateway to Selangor. Beyond the monument lies Petaling Jaya (PJ). Drive
on, feel its pulse and if you keep going for another 40km or so, you will
sense the different beats of two more cities.
As you approach the third interchange on the Federal Highway, the city's first international class hotel, Petaling Jaya Hilton, will be on the horizon. A left turn here will bring you to one half of Seksyen 52. This 'New Town', or 'The State' as the locals prefer, is the heart of PJ where various public, financial, and commercial services abound.
A right turn across the Federal Highway will bring you to the other half of Section 52, where Plaza Armada and Hotel Armada dominate the skyline. Section 14, a popular area for residents and workers in the vicinity to shop, eat and drink, is only a stone's throw away. Another favourite haunt for the locals is SS 2, a busy commercial area known for its night market with a great variety of hawker fare.
To the north of Section 14, within 20 minutes drive away, lie another two bustling commercial areas which are only few kilometres apart. While Damansara Utama offers an enclave lined with offices, shops, restaurants and entertainment outlets, Bandar Utama showcases one gigantic shopping complex in One Utama Shopping Centre where practically everything can be found under one roof. Both are also known for the nightlife activities they offer. The area beyond Bandar Utama, notably Bandar Sri Damansara, is becoming a much sought-after residential and commercial area.
Going straight along the Federal Highway after the third interchange will bring you to Bandar Sunway, Subang Jaya, and by the Federal Highway Route II, all the way to Shah Alam and to the outskirts of Klang.
Bandar Sunway and Subang Jaya
Bandar Sunway is a blossoming township where a premier theme park, a shopping and entertainment complex, a modern convention and exhibition, and a hotel resort congregate to form one of the most glamorous spots in Malaysia. Sunway Lagoon Resort, with its world-class land and water amusement facilities, has been one of the forces that attract people from all over the country to the Capital City and PJ.
The majestic Sunway Pyramid, accompanied by an equally imposing sphinx, is ranked among the largest shopping and entertainment centres in the country. It also houses a modern convention and exhibition centre. The two are conveniently supported by the international class Sunway Resort Hotel, which has also been fast in establishing itself as a popular nightlife spot.
Subang Jaya and Bandar Sunway have established themselves as the satellite towns of PJ. The Sheraton Subang Hotel & Towers and Holiday Villa Subang offer first-class accommodation complemented by one of the longest shopping and entertainment malls in Asia, Subang Parade. The old Subang International Airport lies just a few kilometres away.
A leisurely town it may be, Shah Alam is certainly known to the world with its Shah Alam Racing Circuit and Shah Alam Stadium that hosted the 1997 World Youth Cup Football Championship. These sporting venues are located a few kilometres from the Batu Tiga Toll on the Federal Highway. To the north of the two lies the Kelab Golf Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah, a 27-hole USGA class championship course designed by the famous Thompson Wolveridge.
The heart of Shah Alam, located on the west of the racing circuit and conveniently accessible by the Federal Highway, is an enclave surrounded by lush greenery and the soothing Taman Tasik Shah Alam on one side, and residential and educational areas on the other. Its dominant feature is the Sultan Salahudin Abdul Aziz Mosque, with four minarets, each defining the skyline at 142.3m. Its computer-designed blue dome is known to be the largest in the world.
Other popular landmarks in the area are the Kompleks PKNS, Quality Hotel, Grand BlueWave Hotel and the Sultan Alam Shah Museum. The popular Shah Alam Mall and Wet World, a water theme park, are also a short distance to the north and the east respectively.
The unique Malaysia Agriculture Park lies only about three kilometres north of the town centre. This 1,295-hectare agroforestry park, a permanent showcase of Malaysia's development and progress in agriculture, is a must-see for nature lovers.
Klang, known as the royal town, lies about 20km from Shah Alam and some 30km from Kuala Lumpur. Being one of the oldest cities in the country, older than Kuala Lumpur, it has lost most of its glitters and glamour compared to other cities in the Klang Valley. This former state capital of Selangor, however, still has the support of the largest port in the country, Port Klang, which is only eight kilometres away.
Being old means that it has something nostalgic to offer to the romantics. Within the heart of the city, which is split in two by the Klang River, are reminders of Klang's glorious past'the stately Sultan Sulaiman Mosque of classic Islamic architecture and the colonial-style Bangunan Sultan Sulaiman. Once the office of Klang District and the Head Office of the Selangor Police Contingent, the latter now serves as a branch office for the Municipal Council of Klang (MPK). Another royal landmark found within the vicinity is the majestic Istana Alam Shah, the venue for umpteen official royal ceremonies.
Other historic sites are the Kota Raja Mahdi, the fort built in 1886 by Raja Mahdi, ruler of Selangor during the civil war; and the Gedung Raja Abdullah, built in 1856 as a warehouse for weapons and food.