A visit to Kuala Lumpur is not complete without a visit to the Petronas Towers. In fact, I would go as far as saying that a trip to Malaysia is not complete without visiting these towers. They have become a symbol of the country, and miniature figures of the Petronas Towers and t-shirts featuring the towers are sold as souvenirs all across Malaysia. You might be wondering what is so symbolic about these buildings. After all, there are a lot of skyscrapers across the world. Isn’t this just another tall building that has become an Instagram spot? Not at all. I enjoyed visiting the towers much more than I expected, and in this guide, I will share why you should visit too, how you can visit, what to do there, and how much it will cost you.
Intro To The Petronas Towers
There are two reasons that tourists would want to visit the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The most popular reason is to take a photo of the towers from outside, (or have a professional photo taken). This is completely free and you’ll meet a whole bunch of tourists and photographers hanging out at the bottom of the towers.
The second reason to visit the Petronas Towers is to go on a guided tour and go inside the building. To the skybridge on the 41st floor and the observation deck on the 86th floor. However, I decided the tour wasn’t worth the money. The price is high, and costs 35 MYR plus a 65% foreigner tax, so, a total of 98 MYR. And besides, you cannot see the beauty of the towers from inside. If you do want to take a tour, you need to reserve a ticket in advance.
Note on Scams: While walking to the Petronas Towers, we were approached by a family claiming to be refugees from Syria with no money or food. We were later approached by numerous other people with the same story. We are not sure if this is a scam or if these people have truly fallen on hard times. But, I should warn you, that you might encounter these people near the towers.
How Tall are The Petronas Towers
The Petronas Twin Towers were constructed between 1992 to 1999. At the time of construction, this was the tallest building in the world, a title which was held for six years, until they were surpassed by the Taipei 101 building in 2004. They are still the tallest twin towers, in the world.
The exact height is 452 meters. The towers are the tallest building in Malaysia. They are 138 meters taller than the highest building in Bangkok, The Maha Nakon. There are 88 floors, which are all used as office space.
The Skybridge is a double-decker bridge located on the 41st floor. It’s 170 meters above the ground and it is 58 meters long. The Observation Deck is located on the 86th floor, 370 meters above the ground.
What to Expect at The Petronas Towers
I initially thought the Petronas Towers would be nothing more than a tourist trap or an Instagram spot. A cliche thing to do. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the place has a lot of character, and people are in good spirits. It is genuinely a nice, welcoming place to visit.
I fell into the first group when visiting the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, I was interested in visiting the towers from outside and taking a few photographs. I was not much interested in going inside the towers (although you can walk through the main entrance which leads into a shopping mall).
The towers are beautifully illuminated at night and shine bright over everything else in the city.
I hadn’t expected the towers to be as popular as they are, but all throughout the day, and even more so at night, there are crowds gathered at the bottom. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing either, the pro-photographers know the tricks to get a photo of you without any other people in the background. Plus the constant hive of activity adds a lot of life and soul to the place.
Visiting The Petronas Towers For Photos
This wasn’t my first time visiting the Petronas Towers, no. I had actually visited before, back in 2015, when I had a layover at Kuala Lumpur Airport and decided to head into the city for dinner and a glimpse of the Petronas Towers.
I vividly remember having an iPhone 6, (a flagship phone, back then). However, the camera tech at the time was not wide enough to capture the entire glory of the towers in one shot. It was somewhat comical, watching everyone struggle with the same problem.
There were a bunch of locals selling ‘fish-eye camera lenses’, a plastic device which clips over your camera lens to convert it to a wide-angle lens. I brought one. These entrepreneurs were making a killing, no doubt. But they had found a problem and were literally selling the solution. I was happy to support that. Plus, these guys were likeable, had no aggressive sales tactics, and seemed genuinely just happy to have tourists interested in visiting their city.
And voila, with the fish eye lens clipped onto my camera, I was able to take a photo of the Petronas Towers. Almost 10 years later, I no longer have that photo, and I no longer have the clip-on lens. It was time to re-visit, and this time I’ll publish the photos!
Revisiting the Petronas Towers
In 2024, I revisited the Petronas Towers seven years after my first visit. I couldn’t help but remember the guys selling camera lenses at the bottom of the towers and wondered what had happened to them. After all, camera technology had advanced to the point where I now had five lenses built into my phone, so their product was redundant. I wondered if they had adapted and found a new product to sell, or if they had been forced to move on.
Professional ‘iPhone’ Photographers
Arriving back at the Petronas Towers, almost seven years later, I was pleased to see that the entrepreneurs who had previously sold camera lenses at the Petronas Towers had adapted to the changing market. They were now providing professional photography services for tourists, using the towers as a striking backdrop.
The cost is around 10 MYR, per photo, which is negotiable. But most importantly, their photos were some of the best I had seen. These guys were clearly skilled photographers, and they were able to use their skills to capture the beauty of the Petronas Towers in a way that I could not have done myself.
But what if I told you the photographers use the latest iPhones, instead of a Pro-Camera setup? You’ll see them with their self-constructed camera rigs. A frame with the phone centred a huge camera light next to the phone, to get the best shop. And a few power banks strapped to the rig to keep them going.
But if they are using the same iPhone you are, what’s the need to pay to have a photo taken?
With today’s technology, everyone has access to the same high-quality cameras. It’s more about how you use it, and the guys who take photos of tourists in front of the Petronas Towers have become experts at their craft. They have been taking photos of the same building for years, and they know the best angles, lighting, and exposure settings to use. They know the best focal points, camera orientation, and zoom level. The lot. Even going as far as to demonstrate the best poses, for tourists to copy.
But in addition to their photography skills, these guys are also great tour guides and make tourists feel comfortable. Posing in front of a landmark can be a cringe-worthy experience, but these guys make it seem normal, relaxed, and enjoyable.
Why You Should Have a Profesional Photo at Petronas Towers
They take, stunning pictures.
You’ll see the photographers around the base of the Petronas Towers. They’ll be more than happy to show you their camera roll, take a look, they have genuine skills in photography.
But, the thing I like most about the iPhone photographers at the Petronas Towers is how much character they add. They are passionate about their work, joking, smiling and actively enjoying themselves. Making good money and enjoy engaging with tourists, who are interested in their country.
They seem to be just honest people, who produce incredible photos. This is literally the only time I have ever recommended paying for a photo service at any tourist attraction. But if you decline their services, that’s fine too, they are usually very respectful and won’t push you for a sale.
Going Inside The Petronas Towers
If you want to go inside the Petronas Towers, you’ll need to book a tour. It used to be free until 2010, however, the price has increased each year since then. The current rate is 98 MYR for a foreign tourist to enter.
Tours can be booked using this link: https://www.viator.com/tours/Kuala-Lumpur/Petronas-Twin-Towers-Admission-Tickets-E-Tickets/d335-20961P54. Or you can book a private tour package here: https://www.viator.com/tours/Kuala-Lumpur/Private-Tour-Kuala-Lumpur-with-Petronas-Twin-Towers-Observation-Desk-and-Batu-Caves/d335-20961P15, which also includes a trip to the Batu Caves, another iconic thing to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Admissions are limited to 1000 visitors per day, which is broken down into tour groups of 20 people. These tickets do sell out, so it’s advised to book at least a day before.
As I said, we didn’t go inside the towers because the cost was too steep, and the view, was something we had already seen. Having a rooftop pool in the condo block we stayed in meant we already had similar views of KL city.
If you decide to take a tour of the Petronas Towers, you can do so between 10 am and 6 pm, except on Mondays, when there are no tours. The tour package includes a visit to the Skybridge, which is located on the 41st floor. This bridge can be seen from the ground connecting the towers together. From the Skybridge, you can enjoy stunning views of KLCC Park.
The tour also includes access to the Observation Deck, which is located on the 86th floor. The Observation Deck offers panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur. The tour lasts for about 40 minutes in total. You spend about 15 minutes on the skybridge, and about 15 minutes at the observation deck.
Because I don’t have a lot of detail for you about going inside the towers. Here are some decent guides from people who have: thetravelauthor, wowiwlakers. A cheaper alternative is to visit the KL Tower instead. Not to be confused with the Petronas Towers, this building is the second tallest in Kuala Lumpur, however, tickets are cheaper, costing 50 MYR per person. The added bonus is that you can see the Petronas Towers from here.
When Is The Best Time To Visit the Towers
You can visit the Petronas Towers at any time of day. There will always be other tourists and local photographers around. If you want to take a tour of the towers, you need to visit between 10 am and 6 pm. But if you want to take photos, the best time to visit is in the evening.
After sunset, around 7 pm to 9 pm, the towers are beautifully lit up. This is a great time to get a clear shot of the towers. There is also a small outdoor market, with food trucks a few hundred meters away, where you can get a quick and affordable meal, (Sembang Matic is the market name).
Here are the directions to the food court: [Google Maps link]
More Facts About The Petronas Towers
- The skybridge on the 41st floor is a popular tourist attraction, but it is also an important safety feature. In the event of an emergency, the skybridge can be used to evacuate people from one tower to the other.
- The Petronas Towers are 100% occupied by business. One tower is occupied entirely by the Petronas Petrol company themselves. The other building is rented out as office space to top companies like Microsoft, Huawei, Bloomberg and Reuters.
- The towers were built quickly. Construction began in 1994, and they were completed in 1999. Two construction companies were involved, one for each tower. It cost just 800,000k USD per tower to build.
- One tower was constructed by Samsung C&T, and at the time of completion, it was the tallest building in the world. The same company beat their own record when they constructed the Taipei 101 tower in 2005, then beat their record again, when they constructed the Burj Khalifa.
- The Suria KLCC Shopping Centre is located on the ground floor inside the towers. It can be a good place to get lunch.
How To Get To The Petronas Towers
Public Transport in Kuala Lumpur is incredibly easy to use and efficient. To get to the Petronas Towers, you need to ride the Red Line Train (LRT) to KLCC Station, KLCC is just six stations from KL Sentral and a ticket costs 2.70 MYR. Once you arrive at KLCC Station, walk outside and it is impossible to miss the Petronas Towers.
This station is also near KLCC Park, which is free. Here is a full list of all the free things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
There is a bus station outside the KLCC Station, although I recommend taking the train as the easiest solution. Another option is to use Grab to book a taxi. Grab is reliable and cheap in Kuala Lumpur, although I recommend avoiding using it at peak hours when the roads are too busy.
Petronas Towers. TL; DR.
Too long, didn’t read? Here is the short version, of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
The Petronas Twin Towers are an iconic landmark in Malaysia. I enjoyed visiting them more than I expected. The tour is not worth the price, but it is cool to see the towers from outside, illuminated at night, which is free. You can take your own photos or use a professional photographer, which I recommend doing. To get to the towers, take the Red Line to KLCC station. You can visit at any time, but it’s best to go just after sunset and then eat dinner at the nearby street market.
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