By Jeremy Khalil on March 7, 2017
Though declared as a city back in 10 October 2000, Shah Alam – the capital of Selangor since 1978 – still retains its neighbourhood feel with broad paved walkways, lush green lungs and well-manicured gardens. Considered as an exemplary suburbia with an estimated population of over 650,000, the city strongly draws families with school-going children and retired couples. Anchored by University of Technology Mara (UITM), in section 1, which is a former technological institute, Shah Alam is divided into 36 sections, spanning both north (industrial) and south (residential) regions, separated by the heavily utilised Federal Highway that links Kuala Lumpur to Port Klang. Since around 70% of Shah Alam population are Muslim Malays, the city does feel somewhat conservative yet tolerant and no less interesting. For those seeking a different urban experience, Shah Alam might just fit the bill…
On the other hand, Klang – Selangor’s Royal City and only 17 kilometres away from Shah Alam – is famous for its ports (e.g Northport and Westport), which also happen to be the major gateways for goods coming into Peninsular Malaysia. Besides, Klang also have other charms that make it an interesting place to visit in one day. Travellers should consider discovering what Klang has to offer, though on the surface, it may not look much to the uninitiated.
So, for this coming weekend, why not readers start to play tourists and explore Shah Alam and Klang?
The restaurant is already an institution made famous by its lontong, a special Javanese dish comprising compressed cubes of rice, vegetables cooked in thick coconut gravy, fried soy beans, fried beef pate and squid cooked with chili (sambal). Normally, the dish is consumed during breakfast, making the restaurant busy in the mornings, especially during weekends when patrons come in with their families in droves. Gaya Travel recommends that travellers drop by in the morning on weekdays or before 8:30 a.m. on weekends to beat the crowd.
A: 20, Jalan Zirkon E7/E Seksyen 7, 4000 Shah Alam, Selangor
T: +6 03 3371 4390/+6 012 282 8390/+6 019 223 6447
One should never give this Blue Masjid a miss – as a matter of fact, it is the most visible landmark in the city that puts Shah Alam on the international tourist’ map. Claimed to be the biggest mosque in Malaysia and stands second in Southeast Asia only to the humongous Masjid Istiqlal in Jakarta, Indonesia, the mosque could fill up to 24,000 worshippers at any one time. The main prayer hall is split into two levels: bottom level is reserved for men while the upper is for the women. Gaya Travel adores the decorative calligraphy works that adorns the outer side of the majestic dome, besides the ubiquitous intricate geometric patterns that grace most of the mosque’s walls and doors.
A: Persiaran Masjid 4000 Shah Alam, Selangor
T: +6 03 5159 9988
Selangor Islamic Arts Garden Complex is where all Islamic arts and crafts are exhibited. Located near Shah Alam’s Blue Mosque, it is the place where paintings and fine artworks are produced, all in keeping with the teachings of the Quran, Islam’s Holy Book. Travellers are able to admire the beauty of Islamic art by checking out the artworks showcased at Taman Seni Islam. Restu Foundation is renowned for the production of mushaf (hardcopies) of the Quran and Quranic publications that are adorned with exclusively illuminated geometric and floral design. The foundation laudably preserves the art of producing fully handwritten and illuminated types of mushaf that accompanied by different translations. There are many products that can be found here such as calligraphic works, gilded art pieces, manuscripts, tiles, home furnishing and replicas of ancient mushaf.
A: Yayasan Restu Komples Taman Seni Islam Selangor, No.2A Persiaran Damai, Seksyen 10 40100 Shah Alam, Selangor
T: +6 03 5511 9001/2/3
This has got to be the coolest place for children, teenagers and students in Shah Alam by far. This library is intended to encourage children and teenagers to read in a cool place instead of hanging out at the malls. Perpustakaan Raja Tun Uda (Raja Tun Uda Library), located on Jalan Kelab Golf, has brought the library experience to a whole new level. Comprising six storeys and 190,000 books, Perpustakaan Raja Uda does not only provide world class library facilities, but also a gym, multipurpose hall, XD/6D Theatre and 3D Cinema that fits 8 and 30 persons respectively. Perpustakaan Raja Uda is a gift from His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah to his subjects, costing approximately RM70 million and built over five years. It has attracted over 500,000 visitors since it first opened in 22 July 2011. Equipped with Apple products and cosy vibrant-coloured furniture, this is a must-visit attraction that will surely capture the public’s imagination.
A: Perpustakaan Raja Tun Uda, Jalan Kelab Golf 13/6 Seksyen 13, 40100 Shah Alam, Selangor
T: +6 03 5519 7667
When every dish in a restaurant is priced at only RM1.90, you are bound to repeat your eating, especially when the dishes are lip-smacking. Eat & Repeat is a café just opened since April 2016 with a concept similar to the Thai restaurant Boat Noodle, but using its own delicious menu that comprises mainly Malay dishes that are apportioned into bowls. The café’s mission is to educate people not to waste their food – should they need a second helping, they could just repeat their order of the same dish, or try a different dish. Great for those with small (and even big) appetite.
A: YG24, Jalan Plumbum Y7/Y, Pusat Komersial Seksyen 7, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
T: +6 011 3176 2285
Shah Alam, Selangor may be an industrial city, but little do people know that there is still lush greenery to be had in the city in the form of Taman Botani Shah Alam, formerly known as Bukit Cerakah. This is where the company called Skytrex Adventure organises exciting teambuilding programmes, especially for students and the corporate sector, amidst rainforest-like environment. Skytrex Adventure activities challenge travellers’ fear of heights, making them traverse from one tree top to another while appreciating nature. This is the place where travellers get to experience jungle-trekking along the jungle canopy!
A: Taman Pertanian Malaysia Bukit Cahaya Shah Alam 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
T: +6 013 276 9841 (Please call only between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.)
The restaurant, which we were told has been around for 70 years, still using charcoal stove to toast bread, giving it a delicious wafting smell and tastes better after spreading the cafe’s homemade kaya onto it. Eating there is a truly original kopitiam (traditional Chinese coffeeshop) experience, transporting travellers back to the olden days. Even the half-boiled eggs are sourced from chickens that are raised in the villages, which are more organic. The kopitiam opens daily from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., while on Sundays and public holidays it is open only up until 2:00 p.m.
A: 5, Jalan Stesen Klang, Kawasan 1, 41000 Klang, Selangor
T: +6 03 3371 0996
Built in 1932, this majestic mosque was opened by Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah in 1934 and assumed the role as the Royal Mosque. Several of the state’s past rules, consorts and relatives are laid to rest in the compound of the mosque. We recommend that travellers take some time exploring the interiors of the mosque, with its splendid stained glass dome and windows married with soaring gothic arches. The mosque’s design infuses Saracenic, Art Deco and Gothic influences, probably because the architect hailed from Turkey, the country that straddles on both sides of the European and Asian continents, thus absorbing the cosmopolitan cross-cultural styles. We also get the chance to pay our respects to the previous sultans of Selangor at the Royal Mausoleum adjacent to the mosque. The tombs of these late sultans are undeniably ornate and full or character. Non-Muslim visitors are strongly recommended to wear modestly (knee length outfits and no tank tops) when visiting the mosque.
Take some time to stroll around Little India, which fills up the whole stretch of Jalan Tengku Kelana. The whole street simply brims with items that are quintessential to the Indian community like savouries, spices, textiles and brasswares.
Don’t forget to have some time cooling off in the late afternoon at Cendol Klang shop Jalan Nanas, which is very famous not just among locals but throughout Peninsular Malaysia Cendol – a local dessert comprising shaved ice, coconut milk, starch noodles with pandan colouring and palm sugar – have been adopted as a Malaysian treat for more half a century, often sold by Indian Muslim vendors. According to our sources, the owner started off his business only by peddling this dessert using a three-wheel bike over thirty years ago. Despite his humble beginning, he was able to put his children through university in the United Kingdom and even possesses a grand bungalow, all thanks to his modest-looking but lucrative business. The shop is open from 12:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
A: 78, Jalan Nanas 41400 Klang, Selangor
M: +6 017 636 9737
Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Royal Gallery was the idea of the Eleventh Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (Supreme Head) Malaysia, the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah. Formerly known as Muzium Kenangan (Memorial Museum), it is located along Jalan Kota, Kampung Jawa, Klang. After His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah ascended the throne in 2001, he instructed that the building, which was originally built in 1909, be turned into the new Royal Gallery in honour of his late father Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah who ruled as the Sultan for thirty-nine years and two years as The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah officially launched the Royal Gallery on 17 October 2007 and it was opened to the public two weeks later. The Royal Gallery highlights the rich history and heritage of the Selangor Sultanate that originated in 1766 from the Bugis Sulawesi Royal family of Opu Tanreburung Daeng Relaka from the Malay Archipelago. Travellers will learn a great deal about the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah’s childhood, his early years as the crown prince and his career in the military, including information on this grand colonial building. There are also various personal collection of artefacts and gifts received during his reign, making the visit to Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery a beguiling experience.
T: +6 03 3373 6500
Travellers to Klang should not miss the trip to Pulau Ketam, a self-contained predominantly Chinese fishing community, located about 15 nautical miles from Port Klang. The journey takes 30 minutes by air-conditioned ferry, which travellers can embark from the Port Klang ferry terminal. Once arrived, travellers will find the thriving Pulau Ketam water village calm and laid-back, considering there is no vehicle available on the island, safe for bicycles and the occasional motorcycle. Most of the houses are on water, linked to a series of cement bridges and walkways. It is recommended that travellers rent bicycles to explore Pulau Ketam, and even engage Greenway Tours to visit the nearby fish farms. Of course, being in a fishing village, travellers should savour the seafood at any of the local restaurants.