Kuala Lumpur: A day exploring the best of Kuala Lumpur including the Petronas Towers, City Centre Park, Menara Tower, Batu Caves, KL Bird Park, Independence Square, and the Central Market.
I set my alarm for an early wake up at 8 am, mostly to get to the Petronas Towers early to buy tickets as I heard they sell out fast. After a shower and extending my checkout, I took the subway to KLCC stop right under the Petronas Towers.
It was a beautiful clear day and no rain as expected from the weather report. The dominant towers can be seen all from all over the city and I can see why it has become a symbol of Malaysia. I took some pictures once I got out then headed to the ticket counter. As warned, the tickets were already sold out until around 3:15 pm… So I purchased my ticket for 7:15pm in hopes to catch the sunset.
Now I had to quickly shift my schedule around and reorganize the touring of the day. Looks like I would have to do the Batu Caves before the towers. I walked outside for some daytime shots of the tower in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park right in front of the tower. There were some student groups who laughed at and repeated “hello” to the silly foreigner (me).
I took a cab to the visitor’s center which was actually really close.
The Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC)
Built in 1935, MaTiC is actually housed in a historic British building, which explains its architecture. Speaking with a lady at the desk, I got some more information on how to tackle the day.
Kuala Lumpur Tower (Menara Tower)
Then I took a 15 minute walk to the KL Tower. They have a free shuttle from the entrance to the top of the hill. There I bought a ticket to the observation deck. I didn’t have much time because I had to check out of my hotel, so I did a quick tour of the tower and top, snapped some shots and headed back down.
The base had a bunch of tourist shops. There is also a revolving restaurant at the top, which is a good option if you catch it for the afternoon tea. There is an interesting comparison of all the tallest communication towers from around the world. I’ve been to 5 of the 7 tallest!
With a taxi back to the hotel, I checked out and stored my bag, then headed out to the Batu Caves. I took a commuter train from Putra station that went right to the base of the mountain. It was convenient and cheap (1 RM one way).
The station was right at the base of the limestone mountain. The scene was very lively with long-tailed macaque monkeys aggressively chasing people for food and plastic bottles (I kept my distance after seeing a girl get bitten by a similar monkey in Cambodia), an Indian couple getting married in front of the caves with many tourists taking pictures with them, which they welcomed with a smile, and plenty of people feeding the horde of pigeons. I climbed the 272 steps to the top that opened to the entrance of the cave.
The inside of the cave was dark and wet with water dripping down from the top leaving large puddles. On the other side there were more stairs that lead to an opening with another temple. There were quite a few tourists around taking pictures but also many locals there to pray.
There is another cave, the Dark Cave, that goes two kilometers in and you can spot bats and other creepy crawlers. I headed down and back into the city via the commuter straight to the “Kuala Lumpur” stop, which is the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.
National Museum of Malaysia
I walked to the National Museum, which wasn’t pleasant, mostly along a busy highway. The museum was not that impressive but worth a look.
From there, I went via the highway overpass to the Lake Gardens Park. This park has a bunch of different attractions and places to visit. It was about a 10 minute walk through the National Planetarium, passed the Memorial Tun Abdul Razak, and then arriving at the Bird Park.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
The largest free flight aviary in the world was quite an attraction! They had plenty of different birds flying and waddling all over the place.
Leaving the Bird Park, I hopped in a taxi and went to see the Islamic Arts Museum but unfortunately it was already closed.
Then I passed the National Mosque of Malaysia and admired the modern architecture.
Then my taxi took me to Malaysia’s Independence Square.
Merdeka Square is where the Malaysian flag was hoisted in 1957 marking the country’s independence. It has a large field that use to be a cricket green in the center where tourists were sun tanning. A lot of the buildings around the square were built during the British rule, so they have the traditional British architecture.
After soaking in the sun and snapping some pictures, I walked towards the subway station to make my way to the towers, passing by Jamek Mosque.
This large tourist trap is similar to most tourist markets in SE Asia, with plenty of overpriced souvenirs and “local” goods for sale.
Then jumping on the subway at Pasar Seni and I was at the towers before I knew it.
Petronas Twin Towers
Running slightly late, I ran to the tour group meeting point, next to where you purchase the tickets. The group was just getting in, so they didn’t go up without me! First you are given an introduction to the towers on an interesting projection over smoke display so that the movie played wavers if there is wind. It gave it a futuristic feel.
The elevator going up had walls of LCD screens showing you rising in the day as if there were windows. First stop was the Skybridge which is the connecting platform between the two towers. The bottom floor is for tourists while the top is for movement between the towers. Unfortunately I did miss the sunset…
Next you are politely herded back onto the elevators to go up to the 86th floor. Here you have some great views over the city and the neighboring tower. There are also a QR code reading display that gives you information when you hold your ticket up to the camera. What I found interesting was that the towers were built by two separate companies, the west by Japanese Hazama and Mitsubishi and the east by Korean Samsung.
Suria KLCC Mall
I headed to the base of the towers to check out one of the largest malls in Malaysia.
As I had an early flight to Brunei the next day, I toyed with the idea of resting in a spa for 5 hours before leaving the city at 3 am. As I still had to collect my luggage from the hotel, I decided to hop online and book another night, which I felt would be marginally worth the extra 3 hours of sleep. The annoying part is that I already checked out, so I had to check in again and move to another room. By the time all was said and done, it was midnight. I set my alarm for 3 am and quickly fell asleep.