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Day 14 : Friday 23rd March 2007

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Kuala Lumpur

I awoke unaided at about 8:30am and felt relatively fresh, so headed up to the lounge for breakfast before spending a while getting ready and then venturing out to see what I could see. I decided to head for the centre of town, which was a short ride on the metro system - another system that was fairly easy to use/navigate for a tourist.

I alighted at KLCC stop, which is situated right at the bottom of KL's iconic Petronas Towers, the tallest buildings in the world when they were first erected (now superseded) although since the destruction of the WTC in New York, I believe they're the tallest twin towers anywhere in the world. I wanted to visit the Skybridge which links the two towers just under half way up, but when I got to the ticket desk (it's actually free but you have to book a time) they were selling slots for the 4:45pm tour. As it was only just past 11am, this could mean a wait of over 5 hours. I wasn't prepared to do this - in any case the Skybridge is only half way up and the view is blocked on two sides by the towers themselves. A shame nonetheless.

I then decided if I couldn't go up and look out, I'd circle round the base and look up!! It took about an hour or so to slowly circumnavigate the base, including a nice park on one side of the building. The heat was awful though and I was very hot and sweaty by the time I sough refuge back in the shopping mall at the base of the towers.

Luckily for height junkies there is another option in KL, the Menara tower which was built only one year before the Petronas towers and is almost as tall. Better, you can go right to the top of this one. I noticed from my map that it was a couple of stops back on the subway, so headed that way, but when I emerged from the amusingly names Bang Wangi stop, it was still a little confusing as to how to proceed to the tower, which is surrounded by a nature park. I eventually followed a sign which led through the nature park up a very steep ascent and I'm afraid to admit that after all this climbing in the atrocious heat I was a complete mess with large and embarrassing sweat patches all over and the perspiration dripping off me. Undaunted I pressed on though and RM20 later was riding the mercifully air-conditioned lift to the look out over 200m up the tower. The view was stupendous and more than made up for the missed Sky bridge visit.

On exiting the tower, I made my way down the opposite way and found myself unsurprisingly on the wrong side of the hill for the subway - this was corrected with a 20 minute walk, but at this point I really had no option but to return to the hotel given my state. Luckily the subway ride was quick and cool and I was back at the hotel within minutes.

Once there, I quickly changed and had an extremely refreshing dip in the hotel's very large pool. After that I simply reclined and relaxed, reading a bit and writing the obligatory postcards which I'd somewhat shamefully left right until the last minute . I had a delicious burger and chips by the pool and after quite a while being poolside, I decided to head back upstairs where I completely my freshening up with a wonderful rainfall shower in my room.

I went up to the 33rd floor for evening canapés in the lounge and was disappointed that there was no champagne available - maybe after all these hotel stays and first class flights my expectations are becoming too high? Anyway, I had a couple of beers and some sushi, which was far from the best I'd ever had. I quickly returned to my room and resolved to take it easy for the rest of the evening, watching TV on one of my two 50" Plasma screens and ordering a delicious room service of vegetable vindaloo and assorted naan breads .

Petronas Towers and surrounds

Menara Tower