Tropical Travels Part 6

For some reason, since I was little, Kuala Lumpur has been a city that I have been very interested in. And a big part of why I was interested in this city relates to two large towers that were once the tallest buildings on earth – the Petronas Towers.

So back in October, when I saw a special on flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur on the low-cost airline Jetstar, I booked a return flight for a day up in the legendary city.

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So early on Saturday morning I went off to the airport, jumped on a flight – and after an excessively long wait in various queues in Kuala Lumpur Airport, I was finally on my way to catch a train to KL Sentral. It is notable that I had no checked bags, only a small backpack with a raincoat and spare batteries in it – nothing else that I really needed for my day out.

KL Airport and Changi Airport in Singapore are opposites – the delays in getting through KL Airport were a real pain. I had given myself 3 hours between landing and my ticket for the Petronas Towers – which was booked back in October, as it sells out long in advance. I arrived at the Petronas Mall station with just under 40 minutes before my tour started – and the requirement was that you had to be present 15 minutes early. Not exactly cutting it too fine, but if I had gone for the 30 minute earlier tour, I would have been late.

I had a chuckle at the sign that indicated that the stairs are out of order – presumably belonging to the nearby escalators, and just moved out of the way rather than being entirely removed.

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Walking out of the centre and looking straight up at a sight like this is really something. I can’t describe what it felt like – in my mind, these towers didn’t really exist. I don’t think I had really anticipated a day in the future when I would see these towers, so I guess my mind hadn’t really processed the fact that they actually do exist.

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I went back into the mall and found some water. I hadn’t found any in the airport, and it took so long to get out that I was more concerned about getting here in time. I also had a light snack – before making my way to the towers and getting into the queue of people who had signed up for the same tour as me.

The introductory video was projected onto mist, giving it an interesting holographic feel. The elevator wasn’t a glass one, but it was very fast, and soon we were at the sky bridge. The bridge is not fully connected to the building, it has a floating connection as the buildings have to be able to move in the wind without tearing it off.

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The 10 minutes they give you at the bridge is more than enough. Soon you find yourself going up again, before they put you in a separate small elevator for the last 4 levels.

Walking onto the observation level is really something. You are so high above the city and can see out in almost every direction – baring the line blocked by the other tower.

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Two other buildings of similar height are notable from here – KL Tower and Exchange 106, which is still under construction.

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They give you a full half an hour up here – which was perfect. Not so long that it was boring (although anyone with little kids might not agree), but also not rushed. I did 3 full laps of the observation deck, looking at the view and getting photos. If someone had told 12 year old me that I would stand here one day, my younger self would have laughed and said that it would never happen.

On the way down, you stop at a gift shop, so I bought a few small items to give people back home.

Back at ground level, I found some lunch back at the food court of the Petronas Mall. Some sweet and spicy chicken and noodles. It was a really nice lunch after an amazing time at the tower. I noticed that it was already past midday – crazy that I was already so far into my day in KL. I realised that I would only be doing one more thing on this day – and it was an easy call what that was.

I checked for directions on Google Maps, and the tower was close, so I decided to walk and enjoy the scenery of this great city. While the walk was amazing, google gave me really bad directions as the connecting roads it wanted to use were closed, even to foot traffic. After an hour and a half of walking, I finally saw a sight above me that I had really wanted to see – although not nearly to the same extent as the Petronas Towers.

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At reception, I bought a ticket for the Sky Deck, the higher of the two decks, although not by much. I had already decided to chicken out on the glass sky-box, looking up at it from below. But I was informed that you have to pay for these whether or not you go into them – so I guess I would have to see.

The queue for the lift to the Sky Deck was very long, but the queue for the Observation Deck was short. The ticket sales clerk said I could take the Observation Deck lift, and when I get up, show them my ticket and they would allow me to take the stairs up to the Sky Deck. This plan worked well, and I was soon able to say that I went up all the stairs on the KL Tower – even though it is only 5 floors. The rest of the tower isn’t accessible by stair anyway – so technically that isn’t a lie!

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The view from the top was great. The queue for the one Sky Box was very short – so I decided to just go for it. And much easier than I had anticipated, soon I was standing on glass just over 300m above the ground. As I walked off, the thought in my mind was “wait – did I just do that?” – and had to look at the photos a few times to convince myself that it wasn’t someone else who had just done that.

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I went and waited in the queue on the opposite side. This took over half an hour to get through – but with a view towards the Petronas Towers, I could have stood in that queue for an hour without complaining.

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Walking away from the second Sky Box, it was crazy to think – I had just had the privilege of going up both the Petronas Towers and the KL Tower, the tallest building I have ever been up and the tallest tower I have ever been up – and it had happened on the same day.

I went from there to ride the monorail – seems fitting to ride my first monorail on the same day, before finding some supper at KL Sentral. As I ate my coconut curry, I watched it rain outside. I didn’t have enough time to do anything else, aside from maybe have a look at some shops before catching the train back to the airport.

I once again found the airport to be very inefficient, and Jetstar’s check in policies resulted in a lot of us sitting and waiting for an hour before they would check us in. But eventually I found myself back at Changi airport. I caught a train back to the Burgers’ place, where everyone was already in bed – aside from Eugene, who had waited up for me.

Overall it was an amazing day, really worthwhile in the end.

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