Photo: Waves at the Petronas Towers.

KL Tower

Our rating:

One of the tallest free-standing towers in the world, KL Tower is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most recognisable landmarks, particularly when it is lit up at night.

Set at the centre of small Bukit Nanas (which was once home to the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, now known as KL Forest Eco Park) the 421 metre tall tower delivers spectacular 360 degree views across Kuala Lumpur and, despite the hefty admission, is worth visiting (as long as the weather is decent) as the views are truely impressive.

Blending reinforced steel and concrete into nature is hard. Photo taken in or around KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Blending reinforced steel and concrete into nature is hard. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Primarily a telecommunications tower, KL Tower took five years to build (from 1991 to 1996) and opened to the public on 23 July 1996. While we get building it atop Bukit Nanas gave the builders a short-cut to some extra height, it is worth noting that when the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve was first gazetted in 1906 it encompassed almost 20 hectares of forest—today, as developer have slowly but surely nibbled away at it, less than 10 hectares remain “protected” so do take the tower’s claim of “blending the tower seamlessly with nature” with a dose of salt as the tower took a significant chuck of that reserve.

The company behind the tower has developed a whole collection of tourist traps around the tower to try and milk a few more ringgit out of visitors—according to onsite literature, there is an upside-down house, a mini zoo an aquarium, a theatre and an F1 simulator all that you can take advantage of by spending more money—with built in double-pricing. We say ignore all this garbage (you can see the upside down house on the way in as it is right beside the carpark) and just go for the views.

Save your money. Photo taken in or around KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Save your money. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Even with the view, there are two pricing options. You can go for the “Sky Deck” which is the highest publicly accessible point (300 metres) and has two “sky boxes”: glass platforms you can stand on over the air—not for the feint-hearted. There is also no seating at all on this level, except for in an overpriced cafe where they’ll scold you if you ignore the 58 “no photo” signs and try to take a photo from inside the cafe without buying a drink. The second deck, called the “Observation Deck” is lower at only 276 metres and glass encased, but does have seating and because of the angle of the glass you are better positioned to look down, which is quite interesting.

The pricing is 105 ringgit for foreign adults and 55 ringgit for kids (75/39 ringgit for locals) for the Skydeck and the Observation Deck or 52/31 ringgit for foreign adults/kids (32/21 for locals) for just the Observation Deck. We got the combined ticket (for both decks) and are glad we did (even if the cafe thing is really annoying) but if you’re counting your pennies, go with just the Observation Deck. Tickets can also be purchased online, so search around for special deals and so on. You can also buy direct from the official tower website.

KL has some rather large holes. Photo taken in or around KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

KL has some rather large holes. Photo: Stuart McDonald

This is a very popular site with the tourist bus crowd and the queues waiting for the elevator up and down can be very substantial. Early morning is good, but expect considerable waiting times in the rest of the day, especially in late afternoon. As already mentioned, do keep an eye on the weather. On a clear day you can apparently see the South China Sea and the Genting Highlands—our day was pretty hazy so we made do with the sights closer in, it was still very interesting.

If you visit the KL Tower it makes sense to visit what is left of the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, now KL Forest Eco Park at the same time, as the entrance is behind the carpark and leads pretty much straight to the rope bridges which will let you walk through the tree tops all the way down to the southern end of Jalan Raja Chulan from where you can continue on foot to Chinatown.

Work in progress. Photo taken in or around KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Work in progress. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The tower sits at the centre of Bukit Nanas. You can walk there (as we did) via Jalan P Ramlee and Jalan Punchak but you’ll be a sweaty stinky mess (as we were) by the time you reach the base of the tower. There is a free shuttle bus from the main gate up to the tower, every 15 minutes, which saves you turning into a sweaty mess. The closest monorail station is Bukit Nanas which is still a solid 20 minute walk from the lower gate. The purple GoKL free bus service also goes to KL Tower.

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KL Tower
2 Jalan Punchak, off Jalan P Ramlee
T: (03) 2020 5444 F: (03) 2034 2609;
Admission: Combination ticket for foreigners 105 ringgit for adults, and 55 ringgit for kids, 75/39 ringgit for locals

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