Kuala Lumpur is one of the world’s most visited cities and Malaysia’s historical city of Malacca. But its “other” capital seems to be hidden in plain sight. Let’s traverse Putrajaya, the unexplored capital of The Land of the Indigenous Malay.

Few Putrajaya tourists are richly rewarded with contemporary architecture imbued with traditional Islamic design downtown of the capital. Its lustrous skyscrapers are adorned by Arabesque patterns with geometral or floral ornaments. The Putrajaya Convention Center is an avant-garde inspired by the Pending Perak, the silver belt buckle found in the royal regalia of Malay Sultans. Putrajaya is intended to have 350,000 residents, but it remains a spacious metropolis with 120,000 locals. Its saving grace, however, is its verdure. 37% of Putrajaya’s land is dedicated to parks and open spaces. The Putrajaya Botanical Garden boasts more than 700 species of tropical plants and the Rimba Alam Park is home to a thriving urban tropical forest ecology filled with plants native to the surrounding jungles. The capital also has 10 communal gardens where residents can grow fruits and vegetables.

According to Putrajaya Corporation’s Communications Director Tengku Aina Ismail, the city aspires to be a significant eco-tourism destination. Once the coronavirus pandemic ends, the Malaysian government is counting on Putrajaya’s parks and cleanliness to attract more visitors. “It’s not a perfect city, it could always be better,” says Kuala Lumpur resident Ramakrishna. “But to make that city from nothing, just out of some old palm plantations, it’s pretty amazing. Hopefully, more tourists come and see what Malaysia managed to achieve there. It’s something special.”