Tower-Hopping in Kuala Lumpur

After growing comfortable with the laid-back pace of life in Melaka, I was in for a bit of a shock when I arrived in Malaysia’s cutting-edge and chaotic capital of Kuala Lumpur.  Part futuristic metropolis, part decaying remnant of a former industrial town, and part melting pot of every culture imaginable, you’ll equally as likely to encounter a towering skyscraper, a mosque during prayer time, or a bustling wet market each time you round a new corner.  The pace of life has picked up, the sidewalks (where they exist) are overflowing into the streets with people, and taxis, motorbikes, and city busses are all jostling to squeeze through the masses — but somehow, Kuala Lumpur pulls through the chaos and manages to gets its business accomplished.

When nearing the city via bus or train, the first landmarks you’ll notice are the twin Petronas towers (formerly the world’s tallest buildings up until a few years ago), which stand out as beacons that you’ve arrived in Kuala Lumpur.  Beyond the towers, to get a feel for the city, you’ll have to take the obligatory stroll through Chinatown and Little India (yes, pretty much every major city in this part of the world has one of each), knock off some shopping in the posh Golden Triangle, take a quick stroll around Lake Titiwangsa for the views back over the city, and then cap it all off with a night out on Changkat Bukit Bintang (a stretch of bars, restaurants, clubs, and hawker stalls).  Enough of my introduction, however — on to the photos:

The Petronas Towers as seen from a distance

The general crowds and commotion of Chinatown

Fountains in the Merdeka Square

It’s not really my cup of tea, but if a day of shopping sounds like heaven to you, you can’t miss the Times Square Plaza — the world’s fifth largest building.  It houses over 1,000 shops, 1,200 service outlets, a hotel, movie theatre, 65 food outlets, and Asia’s largest indoor theme park. The escalators (shown here) in the shopping area of one of the two towers were intimidating enough for me

When you’re grow weary of the concrete, a leisurely stroll around Lake Titiwangsa may be in order

Further, given that I happened to be in town for the beginning of the Chinese New Year, I grabbed a few new friends and hit the town to check out the celebrations:

The smokey, hazy atmosphere of Chinatown at night

Fireworks as seen from Changkat Bukit Bintang (the nightlife-heavy street near center of town)

A great way to finish the night is with a few friends back at the rooftop bar of our hostel– you can see the Petronas towers and the Menara KL tower (more on that below) lit up against the rest of the skyline

Although the Petronas Towers get most of the recognition, if it is a view of the city from the sky they you’re looking for, than the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower is the best bet (you can ascend the entire 276 meter height, as opposed to the Petronas Towers, where you can only go as high as the skybridge between the two towers at 170 meters):

Looking up at the Menara KL Tower…

…and the view back over the city (and check out all of that green space still left intact, by the way)

Looking towards the Petronas Towers

And last but not least, I’m still eating my way around Southeast Asia, trying as many new dishes as possible.  Though I didn’t find Kuala Lumpur as much of a culinary destination as Melaka and especially Singapore, there were still a few treats out there to be discovered:

Beef Ball Noodles

Kway Teow Soup, using the same noodles as the Fried Kway Teow I had back in Singapore, but this soup version is more common to the Ipoh area just North of Kuala Lumpur

Putu Bambu – a sweet cake cooked with flour, pandan leaf, coconut, and steamed in bamboo pipes (as seen here)

The final product – enjoy!

Post-Kuala Lumpur, I’m planning on continuing my Malaysia adventure by moving North to the popular island of Penang (the city most visit here is actually Georgetown).  Until then, cheers!

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About andrewamiet

I'm a 29 (now 31) year-old former desk jockey who is now making my way around the world, experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tastes, people, and culture that the world has to offer.

16 Responses to “Tower-Hopping in Kuala Lumpur”

  1. “Part futuristic metropolis, part decaying remnant of a former industrial town, and part melting pot of every culture imaginable” – think this is a great description of KL.

    I was there a few months ago and also was surprised to hear you could only get up to the skybridge of the Petronas Towers plus you had to queue early in the morning to get a ticket so I also opted for the Menara Tower.
    Nice photos and that rooftop bar looks great, what hostel did you stay at?

  2. You are lucky to have such a bright sky in Kuala Lumpur because when I was there in December 2010 it was mostly cloudy. I like the pictures of the city from Menara KL the most (I didn’t manage to go up there back then). Will you visit Indonesia during this Southeast Asian leg of your trip?

    • Yep, I’m definintely planning on making my way back down to Indonesia. I started this leg of my trip in Singapore, and have been working through Malaysia since. As of now, I’m planning on heading into Thailand next, followed by Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (though I don’t know the order yet). After that, I’ll swing back down through the Phillipines and Indonesia — though I haven’t got much of a plan past that (about 6 months out or so)

  3. Oooh! You are lucky to get a top view of the city. The photos are amazing, as usual. Unique angles. And you did enjoy the food, right 🙂 Looking forward to hearing about your Penang adventure.

  4. At one time, when it was free to go up the Petronas Twin Towers, you could only go as far as the 41st floor – where the Skybridge is situated, Now that there is an admission charge, after visiting the Skybridge, you take the elevator to the 86th floor for magnificent views over the city. I know because I was in KL a couple of weeks ago, and I did it! If you’re still in the area, I’d give it a try. It’s a great experience.

  5. The twin towers remind me of rockets. My favorite photo is of the fountains because they are different and appealing.

  6. can I ask where did you get the Putu Bumbu…looked so good and I never got to tried it despite of countless trips to KL, do let me know? thanks!!

    • I got the Putu Bambu from a street vendor just outside of the Central Market (the big one that is painted Sky Blue in the Chinatown area). Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t from one of the normal vendors outside who seem to have regular stalls and kiosks, but was from someone who just set up a table that they had brought with them, so I’m not sure how often he’s out there. If you go back, I wish you the best in your quest to finally give it a try!

  7. The next time round, you may wish to visit Kelantan, a laid back but nice state, a transit point before you hop over to Thailand… The state offers rich cultural experience and friendly atmosphere…

  8. You should check out this one

    1. Marini @57 @ petronas tower 3
    2. The View @ G Tower
    3. Sky Bar @ Traders Hotel

    All this provide awesome view on KL skyline. They all rooftop bar.

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