universally referred to as PJ, is a satellite city in the state of Selangor to the south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It attained city status in 2006 on the auspicious day of June 20 (hence 20-06-2006!)
Founded only in 1954 as Malaysia's first planned town, PJ has become a busy commercial and residential hub in its own right with over 450,000 inhabitants. In the later years, further expansion to the north saw the rise of the posh Damansara area that gave birth to such housing estates as Bandar Utama, Kota Damansara, Damansara Perdana, Bandar Sri Damansara and Damansara Impian.
Addresses in PJ are remarkably bureaucratic. The town is divided into numbered sections (seksyen), which to further confuse things are denoted with just S (eastern PJ), SS (central and western), PJU (northern), and PJS (southern). The northern chunk is also known as Damansara. Each road in a section is numbered, so an address like "No. 38, Jalan SS 21/58" means house 38, road 58, section SS21
DIRECTIONS TO PETALING JAYA
The Kelana Jaya LRT Line (formerly PUTRA LRT) snakes from central Kuala Lumpur to the center of Petaling Jaya and is a good way of avoiding the traffic jams between the two, especially at rush hour.
The KTM Commuter electric trains also have several stops in Petaling Jaya, albeit not as convenient as the LRT as it stops a slight distance away from the PJ State CBD.
For out-of-towners, specifically Singaporeans, the luxury Aeroline double-deck coach service stops at two PJ hubs, which are the Menara Axis in PJ State (opposite the Asia Jaya LRT) and One Utama. The buses run between Singapore, KL, and PJ on a daily basis. For further information, check out www.aeroline.com.my.
GETTING AROUND PETALING JAYA
PJ is quite spread out and you pretty much need your own wheels to get around. Feeder bus services to LRT stations tend to be a little spotty, but most stations also have taxi queues. Call Comfort Taxi, tel. +60-3-26922525 if you need a pickup (RM1 surcharge on top of the meter).
However, should you be staying in the major hotels (Hilton, Sunway Resort, Eastin, Crystal Crown, Royale Bintang, and Armada), all of them have shuttle bus services that take guests into KL City and PJ State as well as local landmarks such as Sunway Lagoon, One Utama, and The Curve Shopping Center.
THINGS TO DO
Unlike other towns, there is actually nothing much to notice here, except for the occasional oddities here and there. However, the PJ City Council is compiling a guide on the attractions around the city in conjunction with the upcoming Visit Malaysia Year in 2007.
If you must take the public transport, try the Light Rail Transit (LRT) via the Kelana Jaya Line which covers major residential and commercial sections of this town, starting with stations (from KL City); Taman Jaya, Asia Jaya, Taman Paramount, Taman Bahagia and finally Kelana Jaya.
The best way to see this area is to take a leisurely drive during non-peak hours. Some of the major attractions around the Greater PJ area are listed below.
- Kota Darul Ehsan Arch. This huge marble arch, the gateway into Petaling Jaya, was erected to mark the commemoration of the cession of Kuala Lumpur to the Federal Government to form the Federal Territory. Construction commenced in 1974 and the arch was officially opened in 1981. The arch is most spectacular at night when the lighting creates a "golden" illumination to highway motorists.
- Wat Chetawan Temple. One of the main Thai Buddhist temples in the Klang Valley, the Chetawan can be seen in full glory either when driving on Jalan Gasing or traveling on the Kelana Jaya Line LRT. With a towering main prayer hall and surrounded by shrines, the temple has been around for more than 40 years, having started as a small temple in Jalan Raja Bot in 1957. The present temple was built in the early 1960s. Today, it is the main attraction for devotees and visitors alike because of its intricate design and statues within the temple grounds. The temple attracts huge numbers of devotees during Thai festivals like Songkran and Loy Krathong, as well as Wesak, and hosts Thai royal visitors during auspicious festivals.
- MBPJ Tower. The headquarters of the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and a prominent PJ landmark, the 27-storey building which cost RM50m was officiated by the late Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah on March 16, 1987. The building is unique in the sense that it stands in the middle of a pit-like "sunken plaza" and surrounded by shops as well as commercial areas.
- Gasing Hill. Along the same road from the Chetawan Temple is the turnoff towards the Gasing Hill. The Hill, which is the only remaining forest reserve in PJ, covers approximately 100 acres where rare fauna and flora could be found. There are also trails, a viewing tower and resting area for nature lovers. From the top of Gasing Hill one gets breath-taking views of PJ and Kuala Lumpur. Over 100 species of birds are to be found in this green lung.
- Taman Jaya. A spot for those in search of outdoor activities like jogging and cycling is Taman Jaya, a favourite recreational hub for residents with its shady trees and lake. It is a short walk away from the similarly-named LRT station as well as the Amcorp Mall and Dataran PJ Field.
- Kelana Jaya Lake Park. One of the largest in PJ, with its 7 scenic lakes, this park was formerly a mining area that was rehabilitated in the 80s into what it is today. Other than a popular jogging track around the lakes, the Kelana Jaya Sports Complex is located nearby and it contains two Olympic-sized swimming pools as well as tennis and badminton courts. The modern MBPJ Stadium is also in the vicinity and it was one of the venues used for the KL 1998 Commonwealth Games.
- LDP Cable-Stayed Bridge. The LDP (Damansara-Puchong Highway) Cable Stayed Bridge at Persekutuan Interchange crossing the Federal Highway is the first Cable Stayed Land Bridge in Malaysia. The bridge stands out as an aesthetically pleasing and unique design in a highway project in the country. The design and construction methods of the bridge allowed for the necessary traffic management required at the construction site (one of the busiest interchanges); a normal bridge design would have required for the removal of 2 traffic lanes to accomodate the construction of the piers.
Various pasar malam (night markets) can be found on the main streets in the suburbs around Petaling Jaya. It's the best way to get to know the 'true' Malaysian culture. There you can find fresh foods, quick snacks and it is also a popular target by the local triads to sell their contraband merchandise of anything under the sun. Let it be clothing, electronics, mobile phone accessories, pirated DVDs and Audio CDs etc. You get a very good bargain if you buy them in bulk or if you speak Malay or Cantonese.
But if it's air-con and fast food you want, PJ does have a few megamalls:
- Amcorp Mall, 18 Persiaran Barat, Off Jln. Timur. Mall with lots of mini-anchor tenants including a three-screen cinema as well as Malaysia's best weekend flea market on the Lower Ground floor. Occupies the best location in PJ State as it is just 5 minutes walk from the Taman Jaya LRT Station (Kelana Jaya Line).
- Digital Mall, Section 14. Located in the building previously occupied by Metrojaya, this colorful building with the mosaic-like facade, unique neon lights, and large TV screen opened its doors to PJ folk on August 9 as the city's first IT-lifestyle mall. The Digital Mall is located just across the street from Jaya SC.
- Giant Kelana Jaya, Jalan SS6/4 [http"//www.giant.com.my]. Overlooking the Kelana Jaya Lake, this complex has a Giant Hypermarket as its anchor (hence the name) and numerous other tenants including a Starbucks and a large food court on the 3rd Floor.
- Jaya Shopping Center, Jalan Semangat, Sec. 14. The first mall in Petaling Jaya, this popular community shopping complex has stuff from from one's favourite food to fashion, perfumes to hardware, books to amusements. Cold Storage Supermarket takes up a sizable chunk of the Ground floor, other tenants include Popular Books, Oriental Chinese Restaurant, Guardian Pharmacy, and SenHeng.
- Millennium Square, Section 14. Another newly-completed mall in Section 14, this one is more of a community-based complex as it is surrounded by houses as well as the Menara Jaya condo and below the Millennium Place Residences. Located around 5 minutes drive along the road from Jaya SC.
- Mutiara Damansara. A new commercial precinct that is home to Asia's largest IKEA store together with the adjoining IKANO Power Center. Other malls here include The Curve lifestyle and F&B mall as well as a large TESCO hypermarket and the Cineleisure Damansara Entertainment Complex. The precinct is served by an hourly free shuttle bus from Kelana Jaya LRT (at the entrance to IKANO Center).
- One Utama, 1 Lebuh Bandar Utama (hourly free shuttle bus from LRT Kelana Jaya), One of the largest and most popular malls in the entire Klang Valley, recently expanded with a brand new wing. Existing tenants Jusco, Marks & Spencer, and TGV Cinemas in the old block are now accompanied by those in the new wing such as U Parkson, MPH Megastore, Golden Screen Cinemas, Celebrity Fitness, and Giant Supermarket as well as Malaysia's largest rock-climbing gymnasium.
- The Atria, Jalan SS22/23, Damansara Jaya. Another community shopping mall with Giant as its anchor tenant. Located right in the middle of the often overlooked Damansara Jaya Town Center.
- The Curve, No. 6 Jalan PJU 7/3, Mutiara Damansara This very popular lifestyle and fashion mall forms the centerpiece of the Mutiara Damansara commercial precinct (see above). The complex is split into The Street (outdoor mall) and The Walk (indoor). Anchor tenants include the new MJ by Metrojaya, VISTA Vision Specialist (Region Largest LASIK Outlet), Borders Books' second outlet, MPH Bookstores and HSL Digital Lifestyle as well as Fitness First, Red Box Karaoke, and Marche Movenpick Restaurant at The Street. Other shopping haven nearby include TESCO Hypermarket, IKEA & 10 screen newly opened Cathay Cineplex.
- Thrifty Mall, Jalan Barat, Sec. 8. The "other" shopping center in PJ State (the other being Amcorp), the three-storey building also known as "Wisma Thrifty" has a Giant Supermarket, Courts Mammoth furniture store, and Olympia College as anchors. A Coffee Bean outlet and Memory Lane giftshop are also located here.
- Tropicana City Mall, fronting SPRINT Expressway, SS2. Currently under construction, this suburban mall will have Carrefour as its anchor as well as an adjoining Tropics Designer Suites and a Signature Office Tower. Located at the fringes of SS2 and adjacent to Damansara Intan Business Park, The Tropicana is slated for opening in 2008.
Eating is almost a national obsession with eateries available around the clock. Petaling Jaya is home to many restaurants and stalls serving all sorts of Asian and Western cuisine catering to almost all sorts of budgets.
- Asian Food House, No. 38, Jalan SS 21/58, Damansara Utama. The sign unhelpfully proclaims that this restaurant specializes in "Asian food", but in reality it's mostly Taiwanese fare. The pork stew with rice (RM8.90) isn't bad.
- Fatty Crab Restaurant, No. 2, Jalan SS 24/13, Taman Megah. It's been over 30 years since Uncle Fatty set up his shop, but their famed sweet, sour and spicy crab still continues to draw the crowds. Roll up your sleeves and dig in, and figure on RM30/head with a few side dishes thrown in.
- Stranger Restaurant & Cafe, No. 10 & 12, Jalan 19/36. The restaurant is most well-known for its three-in-one steamboat-BBQ-Teppanyaki buffet and is priced at RM23.80 per person (adult). In addition, there is a large variety of rice and noodles as well as "kopitiam" (coffeeshop) and drinks selections.
- Ming Tien, SS 24. This is an awesome hawker centre that has just almost every type of stall food imaginable. Now it even has free wireless Internet! The drawback are its television sets blaring out the MTV channel and piped-in advertisements.
- Mamak restaurants, throughout the city. A veritable PJ institution, these 24-hour restaurants operated mainly by Indian-Muslims are popular amongst the young crowd for the live soccer broadcasts on weekends (and weekdays on occasion) as well as cheap food.
- Yu Ai Segambut Seafood Noodle, 58 Jalan SS2/10, 47300 Petaling Jaya (11am-9pm). Try your noodles with any of three soup options: their famous curry, fiery tomyam or milder qingtang.
Just like in Kuala Lumpur, mamak stalls are also found all around Petaling Jaya. These are wonderful places to hang out with locals and it is possible to stay at one far past midnight (many are even open 24-hours!). They are run by Muslim Indians. They serve a variety of drinks and beverages, and the non-alcoholic options are varied and inexpensive.
For those who are looking for watering holes, several good ones include:
- Rush. Popular among the young crowd in PJ, this disco and bar is located at the Ballroom (Lower Ground) level of Eastin Hotel.
- Slippery Senoritas. Since its opening at Mutiara Damansara's The Curve shopping center, both young people and the white-collared folk have been flocking to this lounge with its excellent live band.
- Uncle Chilli's. A highly popular bistro-bar (especially the working crowd) located at the Hilton. There is a live band that plays several times weekly.
- Laundry. Newly-opened pub with live band at The Curve, located opposite the Cineleisure entertainment complex and next to Fitness First. Very popular place with almost a full house every night!
- Starbucks Coffee. Found all over PJ, most outlets come with WiFi (provided by Timezone) as a free service to customers. Outlets are located in One Utama, The Curve, IKANO Power Center, Damansara Utama, Jaya Sec. 14, Amcorp Mall, and Sunway Pyramid.
- Armada, Lorong Utara C, Off Jalan Utara, tel: +60-3-79546888,. Business hotel adjoining Plaza Armada and with the Kelana Jaya Line's Asia Jaya station opposite. Complements the Hilton PJ's 5-star luxury with its own style of business-class service. Rates from RM350 onwards.
- Crystal Crown, 12 Lorong Utara A, Off Jalan Utara, tel: +60-3-79584822,. Popular business hotel which opened in 1995. Room rates from RM150++ onwards.
- Eastin, 13 Jalan 16/11, Pusat Dagang Seksyen 16, tel: +60-3-76287352,. Rush, one of PJ's popular nightspots, is at this business hotel situated in the Phileo Damansara commercial center. The Eastin is a member of the WorldHotels under the Business category and offers internet rates from RM450 onwards.
- Grade Hotel, 23 Jalan Petaling Utama 11, tel: +60-3-7785 0000. A business hotel located in the Petaling Utama district, the Grade is a short drive from the Jalan Tandang industrial zone as well as the Old and New Towns.
- Hilton, No 2 Jalan Barat (LRT Asia Jaya), tel: +60-3-79559122,. PJ's premier international hotel, recently given a much-needed refurbishment. Contains a large Clark Hatch gym and the Paya Serai Restaurant, famous for its daily hi-tea. Rates from RM250++ up.
- Lisa De Inn, 2 Jalan Harapan (17/47), tel: +60-3-79553636. Three-star hotel located smack at the bustling "Rothmans" roundabout and in close proximity to the Section 13 industrial hub.
- PJ De Inn, 4 & 6 Jalan 8/1E, tel: +60-3-7955 3535. Sister hotel to the Lisa, this property is located in the PJ State business district and in close proximity to banks, colleges, as well as the Thrifty Mall (Giant Supermarket / Courts Mammoth).
- The Royale Bintang Damansara, The Curve, Mutiara Damansara, tel: +60-3-7843 1111,. An excellent 145-room boutique hotel adjacent to The Curve shopping center and directly opposite the IKEA-IKANO complex. Currently offering Royale Experience promotion at RM198++ per room.
- Shah's Village Hotel, 3 & 5 Lorong Sultan, tel: +60-3-7956 9322. A venerable PJ institution since opening its doors in the 60s, this family-run hotel has a large display of the owners' antiques and crafts in the lobby area. Room rates are from RM138++ (Standard rooms) onwards.
- Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, tel: +603-7492 8000. Located next to the Sunway Lagoon theme park and Sunway Pyramid mall, this excellent 5-star gem consists of the main wing, Pyramid Tower, The Villas, The Duplex, and a Mandara Spa. Rates start from RM348++ (Cuti-Cuti Package).
- One World Hotel, Bandar Utama. Deluxe hotel currently under construction next to the huge One Utama shopping complex in Bandar Utama. It is slated for opening in 2007 and will be managed by See Hoy Chan Group (the developer) themselves.
- FJ Inn-Holiday Homes, Pelangi Astana Condominium, Pelangi Damansara Contact: +60-12-3158714. Services Apartments and Homes located very near to shopping malls (IKEA,Ikano, The Curve, Tesco & One Utama). Suitable for family and group travellers. Units are fully furnished, air-conditioned and complete with amenities. Visit official website of FJ Inn at www.malaysia-bnb.com. Rates are from RM 250 per night (for a 3-bedroom condominium). Email: email@example.com