on June 1, 2011
The Petronas Towers are without doubt the most famous of Kuala Lumpur’s attractions and buildings and any trip to the city should include a visit to them. During your visit to the towers, you can choose to visit just the sky bridge – a glass encased walkway that connects the two towers at the 41nd floor – or you can pay extra to go up to the 86th floor, where the views across Kuala are absolutely phenomenal. Both levels are pretty high though and neither is for the feint hearted.There are only a set number of people allowed to ascend the towers each day and the only way to get tickets is to queue up in the morning of the day you want to visit. It is as you would expect a very popular attraction and so tickets go quickly. The ticket desk is located in the basement of the left tower, below the massive shopping centre, and opens at 8am each day. We began queuing at around 7.45am and were nowhere near the front of the queue. When we finally did reach the front around an hour and half later, we were given tickets for next available visit at 4.15pm. Considering that the sky bridge closes at 7pm and you need a good hour in the building, we were only just able to get tickets at all. It is a bit frustrating having to get up extra early to get in line and spending the best part of your morning in a queue, but that is the way it is unfortunately and it is worth it. After we got over the initial surprise that our entry time was going to be so late, we were actually pleased because it meant we had the most part of the day to go off and explore the city before coming back. I think it would have been much more annoying to get an entry time in the middle of the day because there wouldn’t have been time to do anything else. Having said that, you get issued tickets for the next available slot and it is just luck of the draw as to when that might be – you can’t choose.The times are allocated every 20 minutes, but you do get much longer in the towers, the times are given to ensure that there aren’t too many people in there at any one time. It’s actually great because there is plenty of room and you don’t feel rushed or that there are too many people around for you to be able to really enjoy the experience.Your ticket advises you to return to the towers at least 15 minutes before your allocate time. Once you get there, there is an exhibition area that will keep you entertained until your time arrives. I’d actually recommend getting there a good amount of time before because there are some interesting exhibits that you’ll probably want to look at. There’s a model of the towers that demonstrates the effect that lightning has on them. It’s quite impressive and is a working model that shows the towers being hit and what happens. There’s also a funky little thing where you stand under an archway and it calculates your height then tells you how many of you stood on top of each other it would take to reach the top. There are also lots of nice displays that tell the story of the creation of the towers.Once your allotted time arrives, you are given a visitors pass and are directed through a security check a bit like the ones you get at airports. If you have a bag, it will be taken off you and put in the cloakroom, so it might be worth considering not taking one if you don’t want to be parted from it. You go into a little theatre where there is a presentation. I thought this was going to be about the towers, but it’s actually about Petronas and how wonderful the company is and how much good stuff they do for the city and the world! To be honest, by the time it had finished I felt like I had been brainwashed and that is probably the intention. It’s not very subtle to say the least. It doesn’t last very long though, so not too bad.Next you go into the lifts up to the sky bridge. There is a definite sense of anticipation about the journey because it’s taken so long to get to this point. To demonstrate how far you are going the side of the lift is covered in little LED lights noting each floor and it’s quite exciting watching them whizz by as you ascend the building at what can only be described as dizzying speeds.The sky bridge is actually a lot bigger than it looks from the ground (probably because it is so far away from the ground!) and it offers fabulous views of the surrounding areas. You can walk the whole way across and there are a couple of glass ‘modules’ that jot out so you almost feel like you are floating. I have an issue with being able to see underneath me, so I didn’t particularly enjoy the fact that you could almost do that from the sky bridge. It’s hard to imagine that you will be going up to almost twice this height next, when you consider just how high you are from this viewpoint.Once you’ve had a good 15 minutes to have a look around (you are called by the colour of your pass) you move on to the next bit which is not one, but two lifts to the 86th floor. The building tapers in towards the top, so the first lift can’t take you all the way up. It’s unnerving to feel your ears popping halfway up this lift as well. When you get to the final destination, the room is not overly huge and you can immediately see all the way around you to pure nothingness. The windows around the room are floor to ceiling so there is no escaping the fact that you are up amongst the clouds. It was a weird feeling being up there because I was flabbergasted by the height of the sky bridge and this just took my breath away. There are some seriously tall buildings in Kuala Lumpur but even the tallest of them is way down below you. I swear I could feel the building swaying as well. Something else that I loved was the fact that you could see the top of the other tower and you could work out exactly where you were and how far from the top you were by looking at that one. It actually looked quite menacing as well.Up in this room, they’ve seen fit to but some more exhibits. I thought this was a bit of an odd decision as the attraction should surely be the windows – but hey ho, who am I to decide. There was a model of the towers which was a bit pointless. There was also a display of the tallest towers of the world, which I thought would have been better placed down stairs in the first exhibition. The two things that I did quite like were the telescopes around the edge of the room – they were free to use and good for spotting random things in the distance – and the model of the city, which showed where the other points of interest were so you could look for them out of the window. You get about twenty minutes up here, which I thought was enough time to admire the views and have a look around.There are various package prices for visiting the towers, depending on what you want to do. To visit the sky bridge alone is 10RM (Malaysian Ringits) which is about £2.50 working on the exchange rate we got of 4RM to the pound. To go to the 86th floor as well is 40RM (£10). I would strongly recommend paying the extra and going all the way, because it is so worth it. They also do packages where you get a deluxe three course meal and these start at around 200RM per person for lunch and 350 for dinner. There’s also a gift shop in the basement that sells the usual paraphernalia should you wish to get a souvenir of your trip and it’s not particularly expensive. So, it is safe to say that I would highly recommend visiting the Petronas Twin Towers if you are in Kuala Lumpur, despite the attempts at brainwashing visitors, although you definitely have to plan your visit well in advance to make sure that you get the most out of it and that you don’t miss your chance to look down on the world from above!
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