Cityscapes: Petronas Twin Towers or KL Tower?

Model buildings and tiny toy cars. Everything looks miniature and enchanting when you’re on top of an observation deck, looking down at a city basking under the sun or encased in a cloud of fog. At night, the city bares another side of its soul as colorful lights illuminate its skyscrapers and iconic buildings.

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers

If you’re like me, you don’t get queasy at the thought of being hundreds of meters above ground. Instead, you take delight in the scenic view and the opportunity to see the city in all its glory, from its cluster of majestic buildings to its long, curvy stretches of river-like freeways.

If you’re visiting a famous city, you should at least considering visiting one observation deck. And in the case of the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia there are two iconic buildings to check out – the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower.

When you’re on a tight schedule and/or a tight budget, you’ll end up visiting only one and it can be a tough choice if you know you won’t return to the country anytime soon.

Luckily, I’ve been to Kuala Lumpur thrice and managed to see both on separate occasions. In this post, I’ll help you decide which one to visit.

Ticket prices

It cost me RM85 to join the Petronas Twin Towers tour during my first trip. Ticket prices have not changed so far.

Petronas Twin Towers ticket prices:

Adult (13 to 60 years old) – P85 (around P1,100)
Senior citizens (61 years old and up) – RM45 (around P600)
Children (3 to 12 years old) – RM35 (around P470)
Infants (below 3 years old) – Free
*further discounts for Malaysian nationals with MyKad or the national ID card

KL Tower

KL Tower

When I visited Malaysia for the second time though, my friends and I decided to check out the KL Tower instead because we didn’t want to spend too much. We ended up buying tickets for the observation deck for RM52 each.

KL Tower – Observation Deck ticket prices:

Adults – RM52 (around P695)
Children (4 to 12 years old) – RM31 (around P415)
*further discounts for Malaysian nationals with MyKad or the national ID card

Visiting the Sky Deck of KL Tower though would set you back a bit more.

KL Tower – Sky Deck ticket prices:

Adults – RM75 (around P1,000)
Children (4 to 12 years old) – RM55 (around P735)

Paying a thousand pesos for an hour or so on Petronas’ observation deck might seem pricey for some but KL Tower’s Sky Deck is almost as expensive with fewer features (which I will tackle later). Also, if you have kids, Petronas offers better discounted prices. If you’re mostly adults and you want to save money, you can opt to buy cheaper tickets for KL Tower’s Observation Deck.

Travel tips:
For both trips (April and May), I bought my tickets in person. The lines weren’t that long. However, when I visited for a third time in December during the Christmas Season, tickets for Petronas Twin Towers were already sold out. They were apparently sold out online weeks before. Be sure to check online if there are still tickets for the dates of your visit and if they are open.

Height

At a height of 451.9 meters, the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers is Malaysia’s second tallest building. It used to be the tallest building until the construction this year of the 106-storey skyscraper The Exchange 106, which is 492 meters high. On the other hand, the Kuala Lumpur Tower’s roof is 335 meters high. Its antenna adds to the structure’s overall height, which is at 421 meters.

The KL Tower Observation Deck we visited is at 276 meters. If we bought tickets to the Sky Deck, we would have gone up to a height of 300 meters high. By comparison, the Petronas Skybridge is 170 meters high. The last stop of the Petronas tour, however, will bring you to the 86th floor, which is 360 meters high.

Because of the height difference, there will be a difference in perspective, which you will notice when taking photos. For me, I prefer going as high as possible to better appreciate the view.

View from 86th floor of Petronas Twin Towers

View from 86th floor of Petronas Twin Towers

View from KL Tower's Observation Deck

View from KL Tower’s Observation Deck

Things to do

For RM85, you get to join a guided tour of the Petronas Twin Towers. This involves seeing interactive displays of the towers’ construction and its height comparison with other tall buildings around the world. The first stop is the Skybridge, which is the world’s highest two-storey bridge. You go higher and reach the 86th floor, which is also like a mini museum about the building, complete with scale models and some interactive screens.

Skybridge of Petronas Twin Towers

Skybridge of Petronas Twin Towers

My experience with KL Tower, on the other hand, was a bit limited. Since we only chose to go up the observation deck, there was nothing else to do but walk around the place and look out of the window. I believe those who opt to go up the Sky Deck will have a better experience since they can experience and take photos at the Sky Box, which extends from the Sky Deck ledge and allows visitors to walk on glass and see the view below them. There’s also a Sky Café where you can buy drinks.

Both tourist spots have souvenir shops and other attractions, which I didn’t have enough time to experience.

My verdict:

I think the main factors that most tourists will consider when visiting such buildings are the cost, the view and the experience. Personally, if I were to advise people which tower to visit, I would suggest Petronas. While it is more expensive, it is taller and more interesting, from an architectural perspective. I’m a bit of a nerd so I enjoyed learning about how it was built. I liked that there was a tour guide who talked about the building earlier in the tour.

There were no tour guides when we visited KL Tower and I was quite bored when I was done looking around out of the window. However, I do think that you can take better photos at KL Tower’s Sky Deck because of the Sky Box and the café, which allows you to have an unimpeded view of the cityscape.

In the end, it’ll depend on your priorities and plans. I would suggest though that you visit at least one. While it’s nice to have a photo outside the Petronas Twin Towers, going up an observation deck will make you realize how rich and diverse Kuala Lumpur is, with its mix of old and new buildings.

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