Trip up the Petronas Twin Towers

Surely the Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur has to be one of the most iconic modern buildings in South East Asia. It certainly stands out in KL itself. Our first glimpse of it was from the KLIA Express (airport train) when we first arrived in Malaysia. You can see it from quite far out. Its the same as arriving in Paris and trying to be the first to spot the Eiffel Tower. It’s that sort of feeling. “Its just a building,” I kept telling myself, but I knew we’d just have to explore it further.

A quick history about the building:

The project was started in 1992 and the first groundworks began in 1993. First personnel moved in 1997 and officially opened 31 August 1999 The floor plate of each tower is based on a Islamic geometric form of 2 squares. The towers are 88 storeys high. The skybridge is 54.8m wide and is 170m from the ground. Heading for the lobbyOn our first day exploring KL we worked out a route that would lead us to the towers. Take the LRT to KLCC and take the exit for Suria KLCC (as it will save you crossing the 8 lanes of traffic at ground level). When you exit the LRT station the towers are right in front of you. The building really is spectacular. The exterior is stunning and the materials used keep everything clean. There isn’t a glimpse of any weathering of 20 years in a SEA city. Aim for the middle of the towers and walk into the lobby. Ahhh, feel the air-con! So, if you want to take a tour of the tower you will need to get tickets. This is where we got unstuck on our first visit. Its not clear, but you need to purchase tickets downstairs, effectively under the lobby. There is an escalator around to the left or right. Be warned, you’ll be lucky to purchase tickets of the same day unless you get there first thing in the morning. When we were there in the afternoon, all the tickets had sold out. It’s first come first serve. This just meant we had to purchase them online for another day of our stay in KL. Even then many tickets were sold days in advance. Our family ticket cost around £40 (as of Feb 2015). This includes a trip up to the Skybridge and then a trip to the 86th floor.

The day of our trip up the towers:

When we returned for our planned visit for our trip up the towers, we had to collect our tickets and then que up 20 minutes before our slot. We chose to go up at 7:15pm. I had already checked the sunset times and it was roughly 8pm. We hoped to see the city lighting up and viewing the landscape at night. Lucky for us it worked out perfectly. After passing through the airport style security checkpoint and watching  the brief tour video (projected onto a stream of mist like wind tunnel smoke), we just had to wait our turn to be called. Our first stop was the Skybridge. You take the elevator up as a group and are guided to the bridge. What hit me first was the silence. As you exit the lift of Tower 2, you’re basically on an office floor with no furniture. I’m sure for security reasons they don’t want people hanging about, but I thought it was a good location for an exhibition about the building history (kind of like the SkyTower in Auckland) and they should make more of the space.

The Skybridge:

When we walked out onto the Skybridge, the kids ran off and looked out of either side. For me, I had a real sense that I was actually standing somewhere special. Of course it is just a building and there are thousands of people working in the building everyday. However, as I said at the start, we were looking in awe at the building from the train coming from the airport. I just felt like I was on a stage and just how many people were looking at or taking pictures of this incredible building. Our timing for the trip was good as the sun was getting low and would soon be sunset.

You don’t get long on the Skybridge. Each tour is ushered through after about 10-15 minutes. Unlike other tall buildings like Aucklands Sky Tower or even the Eiffel Tower in Paris where you can hang about all day if you want, here you’re on the clock. The staff were really great and offered to take a family photo of us all. They weren’t pushy but just made sure we had to move on up to the top floor when the next group came in. The views from the SkyBridge were awesome. Not least because you can see the towers together and look down to see how the bridge is attached and built. Very cool. Of course we stopped short of getting told off again when I picked Rosie up to sit on the railings for our selfie, only to notice the “Do not climb” sign when we left. Oops. Because of the glass on either side and the small width of the bridge you get a great feeling of height in there.

Top of the Tower:

Once you’ve taken your pics from the bridge etc, your group colour is called (we were green) and we where then taken up to the 84th floor. From there we walk about 20yards around the corner and get in a second elevator. This takes us the last 2 floors to the 86th (The Twin Towers are actually 88 storeys but the last 2 are for maintenance).

When you exit the elevator you are warmly greeted by another member of staff who welcomes you to the tallest “twin towers” in the world. The floor is split into 2 sections and divided by a model of the towers and some imagery with facts and figures. From either side of the viewing floor there are high powered binoculars, free to use, that you can observe the city in all its glory. In the short time since we left the Sky Bridge, the sun was setting fast and soon disappeared behind the horizon. Our timing couldn’t have been better. We saw the city in daylight and now we could take it in by night. It gets dark quickly in KL so it wasn’t long before the city lit up. The kids had a great time looking through the binoculars, however, Ruben was forced out the way by some pushy tourists who knew their time was limited and Rosie was just a little bit short to use them. There are plenty to use though. We were warned that if we felt dizzy then we should move about. The top of the towers are designed to move. On our visit we were informed it would probably move around 2-4 inches in the wind. Not to be alarmed as it could move up to 36 inches no problem. Of course the way out is through the gift shop, and for once it wasn’t too bad. There was a nice selection of relatively inexpensive gifts.

We had a great time and the tour is well organised. There are plenty of opportunities to take photos and absorb the spectacular view.

April taking in the towers at night

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