Malaysia’s Twin Towers, the Petronas Towers, dominate the KL skyline. As skyscrapers go, they are particularly beautiful, and visiting them has been on my Malaysia bucket list for quite some time.
When I first started travelling to Malaysia, the Petronas Towers weren’t even a concept, let alone a couple of 452 metre skyscrapers. Although it opened in 1999, there’s been no time for sightseeing on my recent visits to KL, so on my trip last month I made the towers a priority, booking my ticket a week before I arrived.
The Towers are a fact-addict’s dream: designed by architect Cesar Pelli, and named for Malaysia’s national oil company, at 88 floors high (and with 32000 windows, multi-faceted walls of 33,000 stainless steel and 55,000 glass panels), they are one of the tallest buildings in the world. The design of each Tower’s floor plate is based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares, creating a shape of eight-pointed stars
I’ll take you through my experience first, and visiting and booking details are at the bottom of the post.
The entrance is on the ground floor of one of the towers and, after descending into the bowels of the building to collect my pre-paid ticket (the work of moments), the whole experience is managed very efficiently: each group gets a lanyard in a different colour, so they can be herded and kept together,
The first stop is 42 floors up and 175 meters high, when the high speed elevator opens up to the 60 metre long Sky Bridge.
It’s best not to contemplate the fact that the bridge is not connected to either of the towers. This is an engineering thing: because of the high winds around any skyscraper, each tower must be free to move independently of each other, so the bridge just hangs (good God) between them.
So this is what you see from the Sky Bridge (so far, so impressive.)
After about twenty minutes, where you are free to gawp at the view, there’s a shout out from the guide for his particular colour group, and another whoooosh, right up to the 86th floor. This is where you really should not go if you have even the slightest tendency to vertigo.
Looking through my DSLR lens I couldn’t help but note the window cleaners on the tower opposite.
Sweet mother of God, that is not a job I covet.
Each Tower is set back five times in its ascent to maintain the vertical axis and tapering of the design. The walls of the uppermost floors are also sloped inward to taper and meet the two pinnacles, which house the aircraft warning lights and external maintenance building equipment.
And then it’s straight back down (straight back down) to earth again. (Name that song in one.)
The Petronas Towers opens daily, Tuesday-Sunday between 9am and 9m. It is closed on Mondays and closed for Friday prayer between 1pm and 2.30pm.
Oh and a wave to this lovely Kurdish couple who befriended me in the queue for the elevators. Meeting random charming strangers really is one of the joys of travelling alone.
The ticket gives you access to both the Sky Bridge and the observation deck at the 86th floor. Tickets are time slotted, and you can select your preferred date and time in advance subject to availability.
Tickets are available a year in advance, and although you might not need *quite* so much time to plan your trip, I really do recommend booking online. (If you want to visit at sunset, book FAR in advance.) I went online five days beforehand, and they were all sold out for the day I wanted, although I did get a convenient 10am slot instead (do bear in mind that you need to arrive half an hour in advance to pick up your pre-booked tickets.)
I did discover same day sunset tickets available on the day I visited – but it’s a bit of a gamble to take, and a pain to have to visit twice in one day, once to book, and once to go up the tower.
You’ll need to register to buy a ticket, but it’s a pretty painless process. https://eticket.petronastwintowers.com.my
I paid RM80 for my ticket, which in March 2014, equated to approx £15.