The PETRONAS Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur TV Tower contain competing tourist observation decks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Both are magnificent examples of architecture and construction. Heavyweights. Now let’s just say, for a minute, that the end of the world is upon us. You only have time to visit one of the two observation towers in Kuala Lumpur. How will you decide? Thankfully, I’ve got you covered with this review of both tour experiences. For tourists who don’t have the time, money or interest to visit both, this article should help you decide which experience is better for you.
PETRONAS Twin Towers
First into the ring are the PETRONAS Twin Towers, considered by many to be the hallmark of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. They briefly held the title as the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004. The pinnacle spires at the top of the 88-floor buildings reach to a height of 1,483 feet. Tower 1 is occupied solely by PETRONAS, a Malaysian oil and gas company. Tower 2 houses the Malaysian offices of numerous companies, including Boeing, IBM and Microsoft.
I had the opportunity to tour the Skybridge (the world’s tallest, at a height of 558 feet) and the 86th-floor observation deck (in Tower 2) as part of a press visit. I was able to enjoy fantastic views of the city, along with a close-up view of Tower 1’s nearby rooftop. The tour is a box many visitors to the city will want to check. I’ve outlined details on my visit here, so you can decide if the tour is worth your time.
Tickets & Admission Cost
The PETRONAS Twin Towers tour is wheelchair accessible and available every day of the week, with the exception of Monday. The tours are scheduled and run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at a desk the towers’ lobby on a first come, first served basis starting at 8:30 a.m., but I recommend you reserve your spot online at www.petronastwintowers.com.my.
The ticket price for adults aged 13-60 is 85 MYR (~$21 USD). Senior citizens over age 60 receive discounted admission of 45 MYR. There is no discount afforded to travelers with disabilities. Malaysian citizens receive discounted admission of 30 MYR and 15 MYR for adults and seniors, respectively.
My Tour Experience
I arrived to the PETRONAS Twin Towers about 20 minutes before my scheduled tour time. All visitors are required to go through a security inspection. The able-bodied walk through a metal detector. Wheelchair users undergo an abbreviated and harmless pat-down.
The first stop on the tour was the Skybridge, connecting the two towers at a height of 558 feet. The bridge is two tories high, with the lower level used by tourists and the upper level by the tower’s occupants.
Our group spent between 10 and 15 minutes on the Skybridge. I spent this time talking with my press guide and taking in the view of Kuala Lumpur.
Because the tour sticks to a strict schedule, you will have only a limited amount of time in each section. If you’re concerned with capturing photographs, make sure to get that out of the way first or you will run out of time. My group was offered no more than 15 minutes at each level of the tour (there are three).
The next stops are at the top of the building, culminating with a visit to the 86th floor observation deck. That put me at eye level with the tip of twin tower #1 (pictured at left). I visited on a clear day, which meant I could see the entirety of the city below. I was also able to make out the KL Tower in the distance.
The entirety of the tour is wheelchair accessible and barrier-free. Accessible bathrooms are available on the course level (before the security checkpoint), and in the mall which is connected to the PETRONAS Towers. For more information, or to plan your visit, consult the official website at www.petronastwintowers.com.my.
Kuala Lumpur Tower
The Kuala Lumpur Tower, abbreviated KL Tower and also known as Menara KL, was built in 1995 as a communications and broadcasting tower. Measured to the tip of its antenna at 1,381 feet, the KL Tower is the 7th tallest freestanding telecommunications tower in the world.
In addition to its use as a broadcasting conduit, the KL Tower is also a popular tourist attraction. Its rooftop pod, reaching a height of 1,099 feet, holds the observation deck and a revolving restaurant. Due to its location atop a hill, the tower’s observatory is the highest viewpoint in Kuala Lumpur that is open to the public. As such, it serves as the Islamic astronomy observatory to observe the crescent moon, which marks the start of Ramadhan. I visited the KL Tower at the start of Ramadan, but was there only in the daytime.
Tickets & Admission Cost
The KL Tower observation deck is wheelchair accessible. An elevator will take you straight to the top. Admission is available fat a price of 52 MYR (~$13 USD) for adults. I paid for my ticket with the KL Pass, generously given to me by the Kuala Lumpur Tourism Board. The revolving restaurant, Atmosphere 360, offers lunch and dinner buffets, plus afternoon and hi tea services for a set price. I did not dine at the restaurant, and cannot speak to its quality.
My Tour Experience
I visited the KL Tower on a Wednesday afternoon, so the crowds were fairly thin. I presented my KL Pass at the ticket desk, and was at the top of the observation deck within 5 minutes.
It was a pretty cloudy day, so the view wasn’t as beautiful as it could have been. That said, I was still able to make out the city below, and loved the view of the PETRONAS Twin Towers in the distance.
The observation deck offers a 360-degree view of the city. Bars in front of the windows prevent people from leaning against them (and falling through to the ground). Despite the barrier of the safety bars, I was still able to reach and press my camera against the windows to take glare-free shots. The small number of people in the tower was great too, as I captured some cool photographs like the one above.
After I left the tower, I learned that there was another level I missed – an open air sky deck. While I can’t confirm that the elevators go to that level, I suspect that they must, based on some photographs I have seen. I hope to return soon to take in the incredible views from sky deck, more than 300 meters above the ground! The glass floor sky box, which extends over the side of the building, is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible (stairs).
Bonus: KL Tower Mini Zoo
At the end of your visit to the KL Tower’s observation deck, you can check out the Mini Zoo that is at the foot of the tower. The Mini Zoo is only partially accessible to wheelchairs, but the upper level is, and I was granted admission at a discounted rate. Basic tickets to the observation deck do not include admission to the zoo, so you’ll have to shell out a few extra dollars.
I was able to interact directly with birds, bunny rabbits, a baby kangaroo, an iguana and other creatures. I fed some monkeys, but unfortunately only through the cage. While this isn’t the most accessible or most impressive zoo out there, it’s a nice place for a photo op and an opportunity to interact with some animals. The baby kangaroo was very precious, but the photos did not turn out well enough to share. If you’re not keen on touching the animal species I mentioned above, I’d pass on the zoo, as it’s unlikely to impress you.
I love going to the top of tall structures. A subset of my own bucket list is tall buildings, and I want to visit the 25 tallest buildings, along with the 25 tallest freestanding towers. I’ve already been to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and hope to make it to the tallest tower (the Tokyo Skytree) soon.
The views are usually great, but I am also interested in the architecture and engineering. It’s hard not to be amazed by the innovation and hard work that has gone into building these gigantic structures. The buildings themselves are often as breathtaking as the view from the top!
If you had to choose only one, would you be more excited to visit the PETRONAS Twin Towers or the Kuala Lumpur Tower? Let me know in the comments below!