PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS! The more I read about them, the more excited I am to have gotten to see them. They are fascinating and gorgeous to behold (but kind of boring if you stay too long at the top)!
A highlight for our trip to Kuala Lumpur (KL) was the must-see Petronas Towers. We’d ended up in KL because it was a cheaper destination to apply for our Thai tourist visa. We’d missed visiting the capital during our stay in Penang and the Towers were a bucket list item for James.
For me, the Petronas Towers were the main fact I knew about KL. We caught sight of them from the train and it was cool to recognize them as a landmark. That was about as much thought as a I gave them though. To later stand in front of them though, they were dazzling.
I was actually surprised with how impressed I was with them. I think a factor that makes them so interesting is that they dominate the sky. Looking up to the towers, there are no other buildings fighting for focus. They held the title of tallest building in the world for 6 years and remain the tallest in Malaysia.
And while their height is cool, what drew me in was that sparkle! Per wikipedia (all quotes from this source):
“The Petronas Towers feature a diamond-faceted facade consisting of 83,500 square metres (899,000 sq ft) of stainless steel extrusions.”
The stainless steel caught the sun and captured my attention. It was pretty during the day but magical at night. They felt almost other-worldly from an advanced civilization and act as two gorgeous beacons in the night. I honestly do not know why they are so fascinating to me, but wow, they were gorgeous.
As a tourist requirement, we made plans to go up into the towers, which require arriving before tickets go on sale to get your pick. We arrived about 15 minutes before tickets went on sale, at 8:15am, and there was already a long line and the morning tickets were quickly gone. I love the towers at night anyways so we paid our 60 Ringits (about $25) each for the 8pm tour.
Tickets allowed us to go to the Skybridge on the 41st floor (which if I am to believe the internet, there are free tickets for this level, about 1000 per day.) At 170 m (558ft) above the ground, you can see a nice view of the city below from either side and we spent time watching the dancing light show in Lake Symphony below. It lost its interest pretty quickly for me though so I started to take in small details, like how the brackets reflected off the steel to create an “A”.
Perhaps if I’d researched, as I did now, I would have been more interested in the Skybridge which is NOT attached to the towers
“…but is instead designed to slide in and out of the towers to prevent it from breaking, as the towers sway several feet…[in] high winds.”
Sure, there were no high winds that day but “what?!” That is crazy and cool and explains the slight incline to walk onto the bridge.
After a time, our paid tickets allowed us to go up to the Observation deck on the 86th floor, sitting 360m (1,118 ft) above ground. From the second tower we had a beautiful view of Tower 1 and its amazing pinnacle.
The pinnacles on each tower are why the Petronas Towers had the distinction of tallest building, whereas the roof of the The Willis Tower (former Sears Tower) is actually 63.4 m (208 ft) higher that the tower’s roof. The pinnacles are considered part of the structure though, providing warning lights and further enhancing the Islamic minaret design of the Towers.
They were created in two different countries: Japan and Korea and are apparently amazingly heavy for they weight 176 TONS! Tons! The towers are built of high strength concrete and EACH tower weighs 300,000 tons though! Each! The foundation for each is approximately 32,550 tons also!
One last fascinating building details is that early in construction they tested and found that one of the concrete batches failed a strength test and caused an entire floor to be demolished.
“The halt in construction had cost US$700,000 per day and led to three separate concrete plants being set up on the site to ensure that if one produced a bad batch, the other two could continue to supply concrete.”
Perhaps my previous life as a Project Manger makes me giddy over numbers like this, whoever was in charge of risk management probably had a VERY bad week when all this was happening. $700,000, haha! (And yet the cost of the towers was $1.6 billion so this was probably a terrible drop in the bucket.)
So, we took pictures of the top and wandered through the rest of the observation deck which was dedicated to information about the towers. It also had a model KL highlighting where the towers are in the city. Again, I was quickly bored, perhaps due to our long day exploring KL.
Soon we were back into an elevator to take us to the Skybridge floor to switch to another set to get us back on the ground. The elevators were amazing quick and efficient and soon we were gazing up at them again, my favorite way to view.
Seeing out from the Petronas Towers was not as impactful as seeing them the first time at night. It is a Tourist must-do though so James and I can put that check next to the bucket list item but any future trips to KL I’ll be happy just seeing them sparkle in the night sky.