Having been inspired by the absolutely unreal sight that is Kuala Lumpur’s buildings by night, we decided that the first stops in the city were to be the two most famous to check out the views and their interiors. Being that our hotel room literally gazed right at the Petronas, we headed off there bright and early to join the queue – entry to the towers is limited to 1000 people per day on a first come, first serve basis so people start lining up by around 7.30am each morning for the ticket office which opens at 8.30am. For some reason, queueing is something that feels exciting in Asia as there always seems to be something epic at the end of it. With so many ‘biggest’ this, and ‘best’ that, you start to realise that when people actually bother to wait hours for stuff, that its probably worth waiting for.
Excited patience turned to absolute side-splitting hilarity pretty damn quickly though as we reached our turn at the ticket counter. Upon seeing H-J’s parents, the staff member issuing the tickets made a quick enquiry as to the years of their respective births. “1955”, announced Brian, rather puzzedly. “1956” followed the younger, spritlier Janie…
“Oh great”, said the lady, unaware of the can of laughter she was about to open…”that means you qualify for Senior Citizen rates on your ticket.”
While the parents looked shocked and dismayed (and probably in danger of heart attacks at their age, let’s face it!), sympathetic as usual, Dan and H-J were writhing in absolutely ecstatic waves of thigh-slapping, side-splitting, abdominal exercising laughter, the likes of which continued right through the hologram information lady, and on the way up the first of the elevators to the Skybridge on the 41st floor.Janie, not a huge fan of heights, braved the glass cage to walk daringly along the bridge while H-J tried her best to distract her doing something akin to a Wheel of Fortune style set of movements.
The Skybridge is the highest two story bridge in the world and, scarily, not actually attached to the main structure but instead designed to slide in and out of the towers to prevent it from breaking when the towers swing and sway in high winds! Its an amazing feat of engineering to say the least.
Next stop was the observation deck on the 86th floor! If looking out the windows onto the KL skyline isn’t impressive enough for you, other entertainments lie in the form of videos, a gallery outlining height comparisons of towers around the world and a particularly cool interactive guide to the structure itself viewed by scanning your ticket over various points on a screen. Its a bit of a tech geek dream.
The Petronas Towers aren’t the only sky scrapers in town worth a whirl though – the KL Tower perched up above the city on a hill allows its visitors a 360 degree view. Being towered-out this stage, Janie declined the second tower of the day, so the other three of us trooped up to see the sights. Which, kinda weirdly, included a pair of iguanas on the path to the lifts. The views were killer, even if we were squished in amongst a tour group of 300 giggling Japanese high school students. Who, it turned out later in the day, were also to be found squished in the lifts at our hotel! Sorry world, but we’re bitter ESL teachers on holiday – NO teenagers, thanks! Anyway, back to the cricket.A quick descent back down in a mere 52 seconds – interestingly, two seconds less than the ascent, woo gravity! – it was off to find non-tower-related tourist activities to occupy the rest of our stay in this cool as shit city.
Time for a tick-list of things Kuala Lumpurian…
And of course, more of the flashy and alluring lights at night carry on.
Aww stuff this tourist crap, we’re hungry again. While you might think we’d had sufficient on night one to last us a couple of days, you’d be far from wrong. Having enjoyed the roti so much the day before, we found a local cafe specialising in exactly that.
Roti, roti everywhere – what to choose?!
Plain roti is always a good bench-mark so we happily ordered some of those and some more of those delicious roti telur with cheese. Delightfully eggy, cheese, bready goodness. That’s pretty much all the food groups in one mouthful. Yum.
It also seemed like a good idea to sample mee goreng and its fellow carb laden nasi goreng in its home land. Both superbly delicious, in case you’re wondering!A quick walk down the road, further down the riverbank which we cover extensively in at least three blogs about street art… And to more belly filling delights, this time provided by a super happy looking dude and a gigantic oven! And then, there was a food from a really random, kinda grubby looking back alley hut where workers appeared to be escaping their days and scoffing down gorgeous smelling meals. No one here spoke English but some pointing and shrugging, as always, led to a great feast of chicken, curry and something resembling chapati – yum!Alas, our time in KL was drawing to a close and the towers starting to become further and further in the distance when we realised that something was amiss…
For those dedicated readers of ours, you may have during the course of our adventures become somewhat used to and generally amused by the fact that our best laid travel plans usually go awry leading to entertaining tales of woe or discoveries of the weird/random/underwhelming. But in a strange twist, since leaving Korea everything had been going, well, rather swimmingly. We’d had no strange occurrences, misunderstood nothing significant, been fascinated, surprised and delighted at every turn, and had a rather ‘normal’ trip…?!
Luckily, upon arriving at the KL Central train station in order to cross-country down to Singapore, H-J realised she had left the passports in the safe back at the hotel. An hours drive away in peak traffic…Precisely one hour before our international departure. Brian and Janie boarded the train (having wisely bought their travel documents along with them) while H-J and Dan promised to see them somewhere – hopefully on the train but more likely in Singapore having arranged alternative transport. A frantic and distraught phone call back to the hotel had H-J convincing the staff to “at least try” to get the passports to us within the magic hour. It was looking pretty hopeless but one never knows until one tries, right? And the pacing back and forth began…
And wouldn’t you know it?! Our blessed journey continued with the passports arriving just in the nick of time for us to throw a humongous tip at the hotel’s driver, run to the train and settle in for the journey. Exhausting stuff!
A HUGE shout out to the Renaissance Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The service and style of the place was beyond exceptional even prior to this incident but their saving our butts so close to deadline has made us enamoured eternally. The hotel is gorgeous, the location awesome, the staff incredible and the passport delivery service beyond compare! Thanks Renaissance!
And that about wraps up our time in Kuala Lumpur. It was certainly brief but we packed a bit in, both to our schedules and our tummies. The city has left a huge impression on us and we know that we’ll be back sometime to explore it further and see what the rest of gorgeous Malaysia has to offer…