Regretfully, going up to the observation deck at the PETRONAS Towers in Kuala Lumpur is one of the things I have not yet managed to tick off my bucket list, but being higher and much cheaper than the PETRONAS Towers, the KL Menara Tower is also a sufficient way of seeing the Malaysian capital from up high!
One thing that the PETRONAS Towers and the KL Menara Tower have in common (apart from being tall) is that they are surrounded by green parks and both have family oriented activities nearby to entice visitors and keep them here for as long as possible. PETRONAS Towers have the grand KLCC Park and a shopping mall, Suria KLCC, at the base of the towers, as well as a science centre and an aquarium. The KL Menara Tower meanwhile has a fine piece of secondary rainforest called Bukit Nanas at its feet, as well as many family activities such as a 4D Theatre, and heritage exhibitions showcasing true Malay lifestyles. Yet because the admission to KL Menara is cheaper (47RM compared to 80RM), many people see this as a viable alternative to PETRONAS, which admittedly is the icon of all of Malaysia.
The KL Menara Tower was constructed in 1995 and stands 1,381ft tall. It is used for communications purposes mainly, although it houses a revolving restaurant and an observation platform which is the highest point in Kuala Lumpur that is open to the public. It is situated at Jalan Puncak, which is just about within walking distance from Bukit Nanas Light Monorail Station. I walked from the station, and stopped off for a much-needed drink at the Shangri-La hotel enroute, although you may want to consider getting a taxi from your hostel directly to the KL Tower.
The elevator is very fast on the way up and on the way down, and although not as fast as the ones used over at Taipei 101, it nevertheless took just 60 seconds to reach the observation platform. It was very busy up there, and I struggled to get good views through the windows due to the hoards of people standing before me. However, when I did manage to get a view to myself, the views were amazing, and it was very strange to actually look down on the grandiose PETRONAS Towers from here!
As an adult, I felt some of the activities on offer here were a little tacky, but I guess if you were local and had a few small kids to entertain, then a half-day at KL Menara Tower may be a sufficient way to pass the time. As an adult, however, I think you come here for the views of the Tower and little else.
Looking back through all photos from Kuala Lumpur, it looks like for some reason I did not get many photos of my experience through Bukit Nanas Reserve, which is a shame, as it is a great piece of true secondary rainforest in the middle of the concrete jungle that is contemporary KL. Maybe I was too concerned about being bitten by some of the little critters that we were warned about entering the reserve, such as snakes, scorpions, and hornets?! However, I recommend trekking through Bukit Nanas on your way out of KL Menara Tower. It is only a small reserve – it took me no longer than 20 minutes to navigate it all the way through (Taman Negara it is not!) – but there are some nice places to relax and have a picnic should you so desire, and there is dedicated gardeners around attending to the foliage all the while, so you are not very far away from civilization, even if you adventure through on your own!
Finally, I want to share with you a video of my experience from the KL Menara Tower: