Paddy Fields in SekinchanSekinchan. / Flickr

Divert from the thick of things in Kuala Lumpur and head to Selangor for a host of good food, scenic destinations and family-friendly activities.

As Kuala Lumpur’s neighbour state, Selangor surrounds the city and is only a short drive away. The capital of the state is Shah Alam, while Klang and Petaling Jaya are large towns that have been granted city status. You might have also heard the term ‘Klang Valley’ – it just refers to Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding towns and cities of Selangor.

Whether you’re looking to spend some time in nature or sniffing out the best local dishes, Selangor will fulfill these desires and more.

1. Bike through Paddy Fields in Sekinchan

Sekinchan, which is just a 90-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur, is a sleepy town that thrives on rice production. Rent a bike and ride through its lush fields, or visit a rice factory to learn how rice paddies are processed. Before you drive back into the throes of urbanisation, sit down to a Chinese seafood lunch at one the many restaurants in the town’s fishing village.

2. Eat Your Lunch on a Banana Leaf

Nasi Lemak on Banana Leaf Thinkstock

Petaling Jaya is home to some of the best Malaysian food the Klang Valley has to offer and banana leaf rice is just one of the specialties people come here for. The South Indian tradition of eating rice dishes on banana leaves is a custom that has been embraced in Malaysia. Get your fix at Sri Ganapathi Mess, where the tables are arranged to promote communal dining –the crab rasam (spicy South Indian soup) is a must.

3. Drink in the (Alternative) View

Stratosphere at the RoofCredit: Stratosphere at The Roof 

The Petronas Twin Towers have become the soaring symbol of Kuala Lumpur, but as an alternative, why not take in the Petaling Jaya view instead? Stratosphere at The Roof is an outdoor bar set on a grassed helipad with panoramic views of winding roads, block residences and organised suburban life. Order a cocktail, lean back and enjoy the breeze.

4. Strap on a Harness in the Rainforest

Rope in the young ones for fun and adventure on an obstacle course suspended high in the trees of a dense forest.

skytrex-selangorPhoto: Skytrex Adventure

Just a 40-minute drive from the city, the botanical garden of Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam is home to Skytrex Adventure, where thrill seekers of all ages will be put through their paces on a range of obstacle courses. The circuits on offer are rated from easy to difficult and take about three hours each to complete.

5. Sit Down to a Fine Dining Meal

Shah Alam might be an odd location for a fine dining restaurant, but Dewakan, one of the most acclaimed restaurants to emerge in years, is an experience like no other. Chef Darren Teoh and his team forage the best Malaysian produce to use in stunning dishes, such as razor clams with rose apples and cashew nuts and palm sugar marquise with sour meringue.

6. Cool Off at a Waterfall

hulu-langat-selangorCC2.0 / Rusdhi Mohamad

Selangor is home to some scenic waterfalls and Jeram Perlus in Hulu Langat is one of the most beautiful. While it’s a two-hour trek to the waterfalls, it’s a fairly easy hike, even for first-timers. If you stumble across Orang Asli (aboriginal) tribes on your walk, they’re usually helpful and will show you the way.

7. Tuck into Comforting Herbal Stews

Klang Bak Kut Teh (Pork Rib Soup)CC2.0 / Flickr

Bak kut teh is a dish worthy driving to Klang for. It’s a deep bowl of pork ribs stewed in an herbal broth that’s been infused with a variety of spices, such as star anise, cinnamon and cloves. You can eat it on its own, mixed with steamed rice, or paired with fried Chinese crullers (breadsticks). One of the best places to get your fix is Kedai Makanan Seng Huat, which is something of an institution in the area.

8. Jump Your Worries Away

Malaysia’s first indoor trampoline park, Jump Street, is a treat for people of all ages. You can learn to bounce like a professional at the Jump School, tone up in the Jump Aerobics programme, or join the Dodgeball training nights. Channel your inner parkour desires, or simply watch your kids squeal as they leap into a soft foam pit.

 

Best Time to Visit
Selangor weather is warm and humid all year round, but avoid the monsoon season from April to October. Always pack a small umbrella with you just in case.
Where to Stay
Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa is a household name – make sure you head to the hotel’s Mandara Spa for a blissful aromatherapy massage session.

For a sense of calm, a lush golf range and a luxurious full-service spa, try The Club at The Saujana.

If you plan to shop, The Royale Bintang The Curve is close to many malls, including 1 Utama, which is Malaysia’s biggest shopping centre. Meanwhile, for a Petaling Jaya base, Best Western is a practical choice. Check out Expedia for more deals.

Getting There
If you’re travelling within Peninsular Malaysia, driving is not out of the question.

From Johor: From the southern tip of Johor, it takes approximately 3.5 hours by car to get to Selangor.

From Penang: 3.5 hours driving time is required for those travelling from Penang.

From Kelantan or Terengganu: If you’re visiting from the eastern states of Kelantan and Terengganu, flying is recommended to avoid long, windy drives on single-lane roads.

From Sabah and Sarawak: Across the South China Sea, those from Sabah and Sarawak can board daily flights to Kuala Lumpur that take just under 2 hours. AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines have daily flights from around the country landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, while Malindo Air offers limited routes.

Getting there from the Airport: From the airport, you can catch a KLIA Ekspres train into KL Sentral and then grab a taxi to your hotel in Selangor.