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Petronas Twin Towers (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

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The Petronas Twin Towers (also known as the Petronas Towers), in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were once the world's tallest buildings when measured from the level of the main entrance to the structural or architectural top. The Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world, and they lay claim to being the world's tallest high rise of the 20th century. Critics point out that this applies to only one of four height categories defined by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat - although the three additional height categories were only introduced as the tower neared completion in 1996, as opposed to the original category which had been in use since 1969.

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    • More +
      02.06.2011 11:23
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      Unmissable!

      The Petronas Towers are without doubt the most famous of Kuala Lumpur's attractions and buildings and any trip to the city should include a visit to them. Designed by South American architects and completed, after seven years' construction, in 1998, they were the tallest skyscrapers in the world until 2004 (when they were overtaken by Taipei 101). They still hold the title of being the tallest twin towers in the world and standing on the 86th floor of 88 in total, it is clear to see why.

      Aside from this accolade, the Petronas Towers may be familiar to you from TV and film. They were the subject of a recent documentary about French urban climber Alain 'Spiderman' Robert, who successfully climbed to the top of one of the towers without safety harnesses and using only his hands and feet on his third attempt (his first two attempts resulted in arrests before he reached the top). Looking at the towers from both the top and the bottom, you've got to wonder about the sanity of Robert - I sure as mustard wouldn't be that desperate for thrills and fame! The sky bridge also features in the ending of the Sean Connery film Entrapment. They are also home to the oil giant Petronas, which becomes apparent very quickly once you are inside the building.

      During your visit to the towers, you can choose to visit just the sky bridge - a glass encased walkway that connects the two towers at the 41nd floor - or you can pay extra to go up to the 86th floor, where the views across Kuala are absolutely phenomenal. Both levels are pretty high though and neither is for the feint hearted.


      ===Pe Prepared===

      There are only a set number of people allowed to ascend the towers each day and the only way to get tickets is to queue up in the morning of the day you want to visit. It is as you would expect a very popular attraction and so tickets go quickly. The ticket desk is located in the basement of the left tower, below the massive shopping centre, and opens at 8am each day. We began queuing at around 7.45am and were nowhere near the front of the queue. When we finally did reach the front around an hour and half later, we were given tickets for next available visit at 4.15pm. Considering that the sky bridge closes at 7pm and you need a good hour in the building, we were only just able to get tickets at all. It is a bit frustrating having to get up extra early to get in line and spending the best part of your morning in a queue, but that is the way it is unfortunately and it is worth it. After we got over the initial surprise that our entry time was going to be so late, we were actually pleased because it meant we had the most part of the day to go off and explore the city before coming back. I think it would have been much more annoying to get an entry time in the middle of the day because there wouldn't have been time to do anything else. Having said that, you get issued tickets for the next available slot and it is just luck of the draw as to when that might be - you can't choose.

      There is a cafe and (strangely enough) a gym down in the basement where you queue, so you can get a drink or something to eat whilst you are waiting in line, but only if there are two of you - there are plenty of security guards keeping an eye on the waiting folk and their expressions suggest that queue jumping would be more than frowned upon. I thought the security guards were particularly bossy, especially considering how nice we had so far found the people of Malaysia so far - it would seem that they take their job extremely seriously.

      The times are allocated every 20 minutes, but you do get much longer in the towers, the times are given to ensure that there aren't too many people in there at any one time. It's actually great because there is plenty of room and you don't feel rushed or that there are too many people around for you to be able to really enjoy the experience.

      Your ticket advises you to return to the towers at least 15 minutes before your allocate time. Once you get there, there is an exhibition area that will keep you entertained until your time arrives. I'd actually recommend getting there a good amount of time before because there are some interesting exhibits that you'll probably want to look at. There's a model of the towers that demonstrates the effect that lightning has on them. It's quite impressive and is a working model that shows the towers being hit and what happens. There's also a funky little thing where you stand under an archway and it calculates your height then tells you how many of you stood on top of each other it would take to reach the top. There are also lots of nice displays that tell the story of the creation of the towers.

      ===And So Begins The Journey To The Sky===

      Once your allotted time arrives, you are given a visitors pass and are directed through a security check a bit like the ones you get at airports. If you have a bag, it will be taken off you and put in the cloakroom, so it might be worth considering not taking one if you don't want to be parted from it. You go into a little theatre where there is a presentation. I thought this was going to be about the towers, but it's actually about Petronas and how wonderful the company is and how much good stuff they do for the city and the world! To be honest, by the time it had finished I felt like I had been brainwashed and that is probably the intention. It's not very subtle to say the least. It doesn't last very long though, so not too bad.
      Next you go into the lifts up to the sky bridge. There is a definite sense of anticipation about the journey because it's taken so long to get to this point. To demonstrate how far you are going the side of the lift is covered in little LED lights noting each floor and it's quite exciting watching them whizz by as you ascend the building at what can only be described as dizzying speeds.

      The sky bridge is actually a lot bigger than it looks from the ground (probably because it is so far away from the ground!) and it offers fabulous views of the surrounding areas. You can walk the whole way across and there are a couple of glass 'modules' that jot out so you almost feel like you are floating. I have an issue with being able to see underneath me, so I didn't particularly enjoy the fact that you could almost do that from the sky bridge. It's hard to imagine that you will be going up to almost twice this height next, when you consider just how high you are from this viewpoint.

      ===Onwards and Upwards===

      Once you've had a good 15 minutes to have a look around (you are called by the colour of your pass) you move on to the next bit which is not one, but two lifts to the 86th floor. The building tapers in towards the top, so the first lift can't take you all the way up. It's unnerving to feel your ears popping halfway up this lift as well. When you get to the final destination, the room is not overly huge and you can immediately see all the way around you to pure nothingness. The windows around the room are floor to ceiling so there is no escaping the fact that you are up amongst the clouds. It was a weird feeling being up there because I was flabbergasted by the height of the sky bridge and this just took my breath away. There are some seriously tall buildings in Kuala Lumpur but even the tallest of them is way down below you. I swear I could feel the building swaying as well. Something else that I loved was the fact that you could see the top of the other tower and you could work out exactly where you were and how far from the top you were by looking at that one. It actually looked quite menacing as well - a bit like one of the Daleks from Dr Who!

      Up in this room, they've seen fit to but some more exhibits. I thought this was a bit of an odd decision as the attraction should surely be the windows - but hey ho, who am I to decide. There was a model of the towers which was a bit pointless. There was also a display of the tallest towers of the world, which I thought would have been better placed down stairs in the first exhibition. The two things that I did quite like were the telescopes around the edge of the room - they were free to use and good for spotting random things in the distance - and the model of the city, which showed where the other points of interest were so you could look for them out of the window. You get about twenty minutes up here, which I thought was enough time to admire the views and have a look around.

      ===What's The Cost?===

      There are various package prices for visiting the towers, depending on what you want to do. To visit the sky bridge alone is 10RM (Malaysian Ringitts) which is an extremely reasonable £2.50, working on the exchange rate we got of 4RM to the pound. To go to the 86th floor as well is 40RM (£10). I would strongly recommend paying the extra and going all the way, because it is so worth it. They also do packages where you get a deluxe three course meal and these start at around 200RM per person for lunch and 350RM for dinner. There's also a gift shop in the basement that sells the usual paraphernalia should you wish to get a souvenir of your trip and it's not particularly expensive.

      So, it is safe to say that I would highly recommend visiting the Petronas Twin Towers if you are in Kuala Lumpur, despite the attempts at brainwashing visitors, although you definitely have to plan your visit well in advance to make sure that you get the most out of it and that you don't miss your chance to look down on the world from above!

      You can get more information at www.petronastwintowers.com/my

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    • More +
      02.12.2007 17:18

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      Just have a try!

      There is a shopping complex attached to this towers. Foreigners like to go shopping the shopping complex, Suria KLCC because it is a big shopping complex. There are lots of outlets selling branded products there. Gucci, Rolex, Prada, Couch, Tiffany.. U could almost buy anything branded there if you have the cash! The environment of the complex is soothing and comfortable. Foreigner from west country simply could'nt resist the sunshine there. The overhead roof is made up of glass. thus sunlight can come in!
      You could go to the shopping complex after visiting the twin towers. twins towers was the no1 highest building of the world, before 101 building emerging in taiwan. Everyday, the authority just allow a certain numbers of visitors to go to its crossbrige at floor 88. If u really wish to go to the area where the 2 towers connected, guess u need to go earlier to get the free tickets! while you are in the towers, you would be able to see all Kuala Lumpur. It would be a magnificent view!

      Twin towers, simply the best...

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    • More +
      04.05.2007 18:11
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      Something not to miss when visiting Malaysia or Singapore

      BEING A CIVIL ENGINEER, I am always fascinated with mega-structures - buildings, transport networks, tunnels, bridges, towers, dams, and other construction works having interesting characteristics; not only with the height but also in terms of how the structure was built as well as the amenities and features within it. One of them is the popular Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) as the second tallest building in the world which I visited in April 2004.

      The Twins (Petronas) stripped off the crown from Sears Tower, Chicago (US) where I also visited in 1997 a year before the Twins got the title. By 2003, Petronas is already surpassed by Taipei 101 (Taiwan) for being the current tallest building with a towering height of 509 meters (1677 feet), 56 meters (224 feet) higher than Petronas. Even though it is considered now as the second tallest building, Petronas still remains as an interesting economic icon in Asia which draws a lot of tourists and the like any time of the year.

      HOW TO GO THERE?
      The Twins (Petronas) can be reached by air thru KL International Airport (2006 World Best airport), or by land car, bus or train from Singapore or Thailand. It takes 45 minutes by car and 20 minutes by bullet train from the KLI airport.

      My visit to Petronas was not planned since my final destination was Bangkok from Singapore by train. I do not have any idea how it work being my first land trip to Thailand via Malaysia. I was instructed by my friend who happened to work in Singapore that I better take the train than bus for safety reason. I chose the former, however I have to purchase my connecting train ticket in Kuala Lumpur since the train going to Thailand is being managed by different operators. In other words, I have to wait for 6 hours in the central train station in Kuala Lumpur to catch my train to Thailand after a 4-hour long trip from Singapore. If I decided to take the bus from Singapore, it will only take 2 1/2 hours to reach Petronas. So, to make my short stay in Kuala Lumpur interesting, I decided to take the bullet train and reached the city centre within 10 minutes.

      Petronas is located in the city centre of Kuala Lumpur and I observed that the place is not busy compare to Manila, Bangkok or Singapore downtown areas. I took off from the train just in front of the twin towers and proceeded to adjoining area connecting to the towers which also serves as the main entrance at the foot of the building. This where a shopping mall called Suria KLCC is situated.

      WHAT IS IN THERE?
      Suria KLCC is a six-level crescent shape shopping mall with a centre court to have clearer view of the tip of the twin towers through the transparent rooftop which also allows a natural lighting of the area from the sun. The mall caters to over 300 stores, including cinemas, restaurants, coffee shops and food courts. As you moved towards the Information Desk which is strategically located at the centre of the lobby, I was able to view some of the finest Malaysian products such as jewelleries, silk clothes, and handicrafts.

      Upon reaching the front desk where two young ladies gave freely their greeting smiles to me, one of them handed over a three-fold flyer of the towers, including a free day pass/ticket to reach the Skybridge at levels 41 and 42. Level 42 serves as the Sky lobby of the building. She told me that the visit to the Skybridge will end at 4pm, which is almost ten minutes away from the closing time. Without any further question, I hurried up towards the escalator and proceeded to the evaluator flat form where people are given hanging IDs as visitors tag. Luckily, I was the last person to be guided in the area but there were still few people taking pictures in the Skybridge who had the chance to stay longer just before the closing time. Being there between the twin towers is indescribable and can not be put into words. I felt that my body is too small in this towering structure overlooking the low-lying buildings beside it and other adjoining buildings, including the KLCC Park and Masjid As-Syakirin mosque. It will not take more than 15 minutes to have a complete 360 degrees view of the area and a full appreciation of the city centre, including the Mandarin Oriental hotel and ESSO building, and other structures that my eyes could still see from the Skybridge. Before I left Petronas after reaching the Skybridge, I went back to the mall and purchased a silk cloth for my beloved mother.

      Despite being a stranger in the place, I still maintain my sense of direction and able to reach the KLCC Park. This park features a children’s playground, wading pool, a fountain, footpaths, murals, sculptures and jogging tracks, including trees and shrubs found in the country.

      Aside from the shopping mall and the park, Petronas also offers a world-class concert area called, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas with an 865 seating capacity at the podium of the building. The place also serves as the home of the 105 piece Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra having incorporated a Malaysian architectural design thru motifs and patterns inside the hall. Finally, within the shopping mall area at Levels 3 and 4, the Galeri Petronas and the popular Petrosains (Petroleum Discovery Centre) are located, respectively. Petrosains is an interactive science centre that allows visitors to interact with the exhibits on petroleum science.


      ANY INTERESTING FACT/FIGURE ABOUT IT? (Excerpts from the brochure I got during the visit)
      **The towers were designed by the Argentinean-American architect Cesar Pelli and being considered as the most complex mixed-use building in the world
      **Height is 452 meters above the ground with 88 stories, and 300,000 tons –weight per tower.
      **Length of the Skybridge is 58.4 meters with 170 meters high from the ground. An annex that reaches 44th floor is attached to each tower. The double-decked Skybridge facilitates the movement between the towers and as an escape route in case of emergency.
      **Consist of 765 stair flights with 5,400 parking bays. There are 10 escalators for each tower, and 29- double-decker high-speed passenger lifts for maximum of 26 people where the executive lifts are the longest rise in any office in Malaysia and reaching the top floor within 90 seconds for a maximum of 10 people.
      **Total built-up area is 395,000 square meters and 213,750 square meters usable space
      **The design of the floor plate is based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares to create a shape of eight-pointed stars which also describes important Islamic principles: Unity within unity, harmony, stability and rationality. There are 8 semi-circles superimposed in the inner angles of the interlocked squares for usable floor space.
      **It consumed about 83,500 square meters of stainless steel cladding, 77,000 square meters of vision glass, 160,000 cubic meters of concrete, and 36,910 tons of steel.


      **FINALLY, my short visit to Petronas was a rewarding experience and having the chance again inside another mega building in the world was a worthwhile undertaking for an engineer. The ambience standing inside the Skybridge is not the same way when I was inside the top deck of Sears Tower (Chicago). There is a big difference between these magnificent structures in terms of viewing angles of the surrounding skyline. Unfortunately, there is not much towering structures could be seen around the Twins compared to Sears. However, what you can expect is not a jungle of buildings but instead low-lying infrastructures, buildings, and greeneries which dominate my vision – an optimistic view of Malaysia’s vast richness land resource for future development.

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      The Petronas Twin Towers (also known as the Petronas Towers), in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were once the world's tallest buildings when measured from the level of the main entrance to the structural or architectural top. The Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world, and they lay claim to being the world's tallest high rise of the 20th century. Critics point out that this applies to only one of four height categories defined by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat - although the three additional height categories were only introduced as the tower neared completion in 1996, as opposed to the original category which had been in use since 1969.