Location, Area Description and Demographic
Sri Hartamas is located right next to Mont Kiara, another affluent township consisting of mainly high-rise apartment buildings and contains a significant expatriate community.
Sri Hartamas has a geographical advantage - this township is located very close to the intersection of four major expressways - the NKVE , PLUS , SPRINT and DUKE that link the area with downtown Kuala Lumpur, surrounding suburbs as well as other major towns of Malaysia. The travel time to anywhere in the Klang Valley area, as a result is surprisingly short, even during rush hour.
In terms of public transportation, Sri Hartamas is served by the Segambut KTM Komuter station, run by state railway firm KTMB (Malayan Railways). rapidKL bus route 190 connects Sri Hartamas and Mont Kiara to the KTM station.
Residents of the neighborhood participate in the resident's association. In years past, the association has hired a private security firm to patrol the area. The relative isolation of Sri Hartamas and the surrounding area made it prey to crime for a while, though this is not so prevalent today. It is next to the new Immigration Department on one side and the old tax offices on the other, so there can be delays during rush hour. A large mosque is also nearby and this does give rise to a large volumes of traffic, particularly on Friday lunchtimes.
The homes in Sri Hartamas consists of low rise condominium /shopping centre blocks, townhouses, adjoining semi detached homes and small town bungalows. Built by a Malaysian developer in the 80s, the streets are strangely wide, compared to other areas. The wide streets turned out to a boon for multi car households that live in the area with limited garage space when the neighborhood went through a renaissance period.
Sri Hartamas gained considerable popularity as a desired neighbourhood during the Asian boom of the mid 1990s. Prior to that, the belief by Malaysians was that the neighborhood was too isolated (it was located halfway between Kepong and downtown KL), with little to no infrastructure in the area. With no grocer in the neighborhood at the time, a pint of milk was a 15-minute drive away. As the demand for quality housing in Kuala Lumpur increased, this soon became irrelevant.
Indeed, easy transportation access by virtue of being close to the expressways, proved to be Sri Hartamas's saviour. Other developments in the area followed. Down the street, a huge condominium project, "Mont Kiara", soon took off.
Mont Kiara as well as Sri Hartamas quickly became very popular, not only with the Malaysian young professionals, but also with expatriate families, who hail mostly from Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Britain and mainland Europe .
The extra security and the two international private schools in Sri Hartamas that opened at this time made the area a boon for expatriate families. Sri Hartamas, circa 1996-1999 became an international neighbourhood, with residents originating from different countries.
Sri Hartamas Today
The isolation and greenery of Sri Hartamas, with easy access to anywhere; the trademark of the area, gave away some of its luster when access to a 3rd expressway that links the area with the rest of Kuala Lumpur opened. See Sprint Expressway.
Changes post-1990s boom
Another development followed, this time bringing some of the infrastructure that Sri Hartamas initially lacked: restaurants, shops, bars and as well as an outdoor Malaysian style food bazaar. Much of the shops and pricing cater to the relatively affluent and expatriate demographic of the area.
Upscale Amenities and Conveniences
For Malaysia, the area conveniences reflect the demographic, a sharp contrast to other areas of Kuala Lumpur: A nursery in Sri Hartamas, aside from childcare, offers introductory classes in French. There is a disproportionate number of Japanese and Korean restaurants in Sri Hartamas, catering to the large number of Japanese now living in nearby Mont Kiara.
Amenities nearby include: 2 golf courses (KLGCC), a country club, a very "posh" health club and spa, several American chain stores and other conveniences, such as being within 20 minutes delivery of Pizza Hut or Dominos. The Hartamas Shopping Centre (housed inside Plaza Damas) is the area's biggest shopping mall.
Infrastructure & Facilities
Infrastructure here is excellent, with developed country utility services and operating standards (i.e. Wired telephone, electricity & broadband internet) and services (i.e. trash collection). Prior to 1995, due to the terrain of the area, mobile phone coverage here on certain operators in Sri Hartamas was spotty at best. Today, all mobile phone carriers have base stations throughout the neighborhood, with excellent coverage.
Sri Hartamas is home to many government and private schools.
- Taska Seri Hartamas (government)
- Smart Reader Kids Desa Seri Hartamas (private)
- Garden International School (private)
- Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Hartamas (Seri Hartamas National School)
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Hartamas (Seri Hartamas National Secondary School)
- Taylor's University College Sri Hartamas Campus (private)
- SRI College (private)
Little of the greenery and isolation remains and hence Sri Hartamas is not as quiet as it used to be. The traffic influx as well as other new developments nearby has brought an increasing number of people to the area. Through some of its isolation is gone, the young Malaysian professionals that initially moved into the area stayed on.
However, the expatriate community that once lived here in large numbers dwindled after the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1999, when people moved back to their home countries. The area continues to be popular with expatriate families, particularly those with children.
Though no reliable census exists, there is a healthy balance in the number of residents from the different Malaysian ethnic groups in Sri Hartamas, with no obvious majority group, unlike other parts of Malaysia.
In terms of night life Sri Hartamas is now a small, vibrant community. Of particular interest is the wide range of restaurants and bars that have developed around the shopping area in Desa Sri Hartamas. Whilst there are some western style ex pat bars there is also a good food court and a multitude of Korean, Japanese, Thai and Malaysian restaurants.
Sri Hartamas on TV
Sri Hartamas was featured on the American CBS series, "Amazing Race" Series 11 All Stars in April 2007. As a challenge, the contestants who flew in from Poland in Leg 9 of the series, were asked to roam the neighborhood soliciting "surat khabar lama" (Malay), or "old newspapers" (English) from Sri Hartamas residents for recycling. Dustin Seltzer, Miss California 2005 and Kandice Pelletier, Miss New York 2005, the "beauty queens" won the challenge.