Our first and last stop in Malaysia, as well as our last stop in Asia, was the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur. This Malaysian capital is packed with steel-clad skyscrapers, lush green parks, adorned mosques and mega-sized shopping malls. We couldn’t have asked for more in our last few days in Asia.
Even though Kuala Lumpur is a huge (and hot!) city, we stayed in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), where it is best experienced on foot. Only by walking through its countless streets can one capture all the action happening and truly experience one of Asia’s biggest metropolises. Walking also saved us the frustration of getting stuck in the frequent traffic jams. When the distance became too far, we made use of efficient public transportation options to take us the extra mile.
Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur is one of those cities with an iconic skyline. Besides the numerous skyscrapers, it’s home to one of the most famous buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers. This iconic skyscraper was the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remains today the tallest twin towers in the world at a height of 451.9 meters.
The towers are visible from pretty much everywhere in the city, but we wanted to get up-close and visit the skybridge and observatory. After a frustrated first attempt (all tickets for the day were sold out), all that was left was to enjoy the Suria KLCC mall and the KLCC park, where we had a grand view of the towers, as well as enjoyed watching the water shows that synced with music from time to time.
Even though we had a failed first attempt, we didn’t give up and tried a second time, but booked guaranteed tickets so we definitely wouldn’t miss it. The only thing outside of our control was the weather. It’s often common for the skies in Kuala Lumpur to be covered in a thick haze, so we prayed for a clear night to see the entire skyline.
On the day of the visit, the skies cleared after the rain and we were all set up to go up the towers. Our scheduled time of 7pm was strategic so that we could see the city during the day, sunset at 7:20pm and lit up at night. We checked in at the counter and were directed to the briefing video that was being projected on a curtain of smoke. It was a cool idea, but the results were quite poor as it was hard to see anything.
After the video, we headed to the elevator that took us to the 41st floor skybridge. The skybridge connecting both towers is the highest double-decker bridge in the world at 170m. Despite looking like an integrant part of the towers, the bridge is actually not connected to the buildings – there is a 10 inch gap, which allows the bridge to slide in and out of the towers along with movement due to strong winds.
The view from the skybridge was alright, but not breathtaking. The towers blocked both ends of the bridge and we were still too close to the ground to properly see the surroundings. Raindrops lingering on the windows also made it hard to take good photos. However, the skybridge did provide an interesting perspective, especially when we looked down at the two hinged support arches.
After the skybridge, the elevator took us to the observatory at the 86th level. Now this was the view we were hoping for. The observatory area was small, which explained why we had to schedule a set time to visit and only a small group of people were allowed at one time. We circled the entire observatory in the limited time we had, looking in every possible direction.
My favourite view was undoubtedly of the other twin tower that stood directly across from us, with a hint of the Kuala Lumpur Tower in the background. We were able to see the details on the tower as opposed to just two tall spires in the sky. It was a nice conclusion to our 45 minute tour of the Petronas Twin Towers.
Also located at the KLCC park was KLCC Aquaria. The oceanarium has over 250 different species and more than 5,000 animals organized in exhibitions that take you in a journey from land to rivers and swamps to the deep ocean.
We usually like to visit museums and zoos to learn more about history or wildlife, but this was a special occasion for me. It was the first time I’ve ever visited an aquarium. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched about it.
We were greeted at the entrance by piranhas (native from the Amazon) swarming around pieces of meat being fed to them. Famous for their sharp teeth, powerful jaw and voracious appetite, the feeding didn’t last long.
Right next door to the piranhas were a few open pools, home to a horseshoe crab and a few brownbanded bamboo sharks. The horseshoe crab species originated nearly 450 million years ago and because of that they are considered living fossils.
The next exhibit was the electric tanks, with electric eels, elephant nose fish and electric catfish. The catfish is able to produce a shock of up to 450 volts, while the eel can go up to 600 volts. Even though this sounds strong, it is very unlikely that these shocks would be deadly for humans as the currents and the maximum time of the discharge are far less than what is required to result in heart failure.
From there onwards were the weird and mysterious animal exhibits. Some of the highlights were the spotted garden eel, purple lobster, lionfish, and another living fossil, the chambered nautilus.
Then we entered the dense Amazon jungle exhibits. Here, there were red tail catfish, pacu, and one of the largest freshwater fish, the arapaima. We observed attentively as these huge fish swam around a giant tank.
For me, the highlight of the visit was definitely the 90 meters long underwater tunnel, representing the deep ocean. It was the most lively of all exhibits and also contained the most feared animals in the seas – sharks!
As we stood on a conveyer belt that took us through the tunnel, many sharks swam by with their jaws open, exposing the countless sharp teeth in their mouth. They did not look very friendly at all.
Swimming amongst sharks were other underwater creatures such as leatherback turtles, playful eagle rays, manta rays and its symbiotic pair the remoras. Even though it’s not even close to the experience of actually diving with these marine animals in the wild, it was still pretty cool to see so much diversity in the same area. We liked it so much we went through the tunnel twice.
The jellyfish and seahorse sections of the aquarium concluded our visit. Overall, I had a fantastic first aquarium experience and we learned a lot more about the marine life as well as the problems many of them face nowadays to survive. KLCC Aquaria made for a fun, casual outing.
The rest of our time in Kuala Lumpur was spent walking the streets and shopping malls, wandering through the wide variety of products available to our empty pockets. Kuala Lumpur will always hold a special place in our hearts as the last city during this Asia trip.
For more pictures from Kuala Lumpur, please visit the gallery!