After my much sought after snooze I awoke ready to properly explore some more, something which Kuala Lumpur is perfect for. Home to the Petronas Towers, the city’s most famous landmark(s) and former tallest buildings in the world, it may be surprising to know that they can actually be harder to find than you my realise. Particularly when you are right up close, but most particularly if you’re me.
In my defence, five hours wasn’t enough sleep and just because I was no longer paranoid it doesn’t mean I wasn’t still suffering from jet lag. Scanning the horizon for two skyscrapers, regardless of how recognisable they might be, is also rather futile when you’re essentially inside of them.
At the base of the towers is the Suria mall, which I arrived at from the KLCC underground station. The station which according to my guidebook was right across the road from the towers (which technically it is), although the main passageway leads under the road and straight into the mall. This lead me to emerge from the mall out of one of the two skyscrapers I was looking for. I even managed to walk round to the back entrance of the mall completely nonethewiser, my lack of sunglasses meaning I also couldn’t look straight up on those rare occasions where there wasn’t a canopy obscuring my view.
Eventually I discovered them however, as they are situated on the edge of the KLCC park, a grassy/jungly area that also provides a great foreground for photos. I walked round a couple of times, saw the towers, and asked a few other tourists to take my picture in front of the impressive structures. As the park was quiet however, the only people I found who were free to take them were also far too close to take any decent pictures. There was one couple some distance further back, but considering he was busy taking pictures of her essentially modelling herself in front of them, I figured my cheesy Brit-Abroad touristy grin would be somewhat lacking in comparison
Happy I had at least a picture of me in front of the towers though, I set about my next task, getting inside them. Although I had heard from several sources that heading up the towers wasn’t necessarily worth it as it involved queuing up ridiculously early in the morning (my de facto bedtime) to only go to the walkway halfway up, I am a sucker for a gift shop. A gift shop which I was close to thinking consisted entirely of the single market trolley in the mall’s entrance.
My main problem comes with using and confusing different sources, although the lack of signage was also a major factor. Browsing online I was told that the ticket office was on the concourse level (a floor sandwiched between ground and lower ground), which I was searching from one end of the mall to the other. What I had failed to realise this time was that the corridor to the towers themselves was on the ground floor, and then you have to take the staircase on that side of the divide down to the office. Eventually I not only discovered this, but my prediction of the office and gift shop being side by side was accurate, even if it was the only thing I seemed to get right. Hardly my finest hour, but then if you were looking for the Petronas towers, you wouldn’t think you’d have to walk under a banner for the Philharmonic Orchestra either.
Quest complete however, I set out to walk to my next destination, the KL tower, which as the highest point open to the public and complete with revolving restaurant, I had heard was indeed worth going up. It is also surrounded by the Bukit Nanas, a park of a more tropical rainforest nature, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when it started raining. And then there was an awful lot of thunder, and yet more rain. In fact it was so stormy, that the wind was blowing the banners were inside the mall, which were attached to the dome roof between the towers, only (relatively speaking) about six stories high. Luckily as you’ll remember, you can get from the mall to the underground without going outside, and getting therefore without getting wet.
Although I ultimately didn’t get to see the Kuala Lumpur Tower, or the Kuala Lumpur skyline from 276m above ground, the thing with such a major Asian capital is that you also have an amazing view from the ground.