The Other Twin Towers

Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog

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A leaping me and the Twin Towers. Not Photoshopped, snapped by Bill from the gardens behind the towers.

The Petronas twin towers are two of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. They dominate the KL skyline with elegant aplomb, relegating the spindly Sky Tower to the periphery and magnetically drawing the eye wherever in the city you happen to be. Even if you normally hate cities, these fantastic constructions alone provide good reason to visit KL, if only for a day or two.

During the day, the towers appear loftily splendid but altogether earthly. At night however they are transformed into eerily luminescent sci fi citadels. Each floor is moulded into an Islamic star shape fusing 90 degree angles and circular arcs to stunning effect. I stood there slack-jawed and happy, just taking them in and thinking that perhaps the time of the futuristic megastructures of Blade Runner is already upon us.  

The only shame is that these stunning buildings are the home of an oil company.

Told you. Just gorgeous.
To be more precise, the Malaysian government’s own oil company, Petronas. Each day, Petronas doles out free tickets to visit the glass skywalk joining the two towers at the 40th floor. Oh yes, the tickets are free, therefore I shouldn’t complain about any aspect of the visit. But I will anyway. Because I can.

When we walk into the mini theatre on the basement level and don our plastic 3D glasses, it’s clear that the Petronas propaganda machine is in full working order. A tidy, well-budgeted 10 minute film comes onscreen and we are introduced to the people’s petroleum company with glowing 3D images of the most immensely ethical 3D company on earth.

Each batch of visitors wait their turn to watch the 3D happy smiley employees and the 3D happy smiley Malaysian public benefiting from 3D Petronas funded projects.

The base of the towers. The girl stood there looks like a rock star but she's just a tourist posing for photos.
one word for you: unnecessary.

As our batch ascends to the skywalk in the ear-poppingly swift lift, we all chant the following rhyme in robotic unison:

“We love Petronas, we love Petronas,

Malaysian petroleum is A number one.

We love Petronas, we love Petronas,

Oil and gas based products are productive and fun.”     

In reality, packed in as we were, we simply stand still and silent, Bill and I stealing glances at some of the beautiful young women who appear everywhere in KL. When we reach it, 17 seconds later, the skybridge itself is a disappointment. It’s not nearly high enough to see the rest of the city very well and, obviously, the view is missing its most important ingredient; the twin towers themselves.

And finally - the best angle I could get at 10pm as the gardens were closed and guarded by Petronas's rabid security ninjas, determined not to let dossy backpackers transgress to take beautiful photos of their buildings. Very wise.
But hey, it’s free �" so lighten up Salad.        

To conclude, I’d like to hit you with yet another of my blusteringly simplified generalisations. Drum roll please! Dum dum duuuuuum…
“The tainted wealth of oil extraction and distribution creates a lot of problems in this world.”  

However, with KL’s twin towers it has undeniably enabled the construction of something just a little bit wondrous. And to me, admittedly not the most ardent of eco-warriors, that’s cause for just a smidgeon of celebration. If you’re a real greenie then visit, enjoy, then sponsor a whale or something as environmental penance. Otherwise you’ll be missing out.

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A leaping me and the Twin Towers. …
A leaping me and the Twin Towers.…
Told you. Just gorgeous.
Told you. Just gorgeous.
The base of the towers. The girl s…
The base of the towers. The girl …
And finally - the best angle I cou…
And finally - the best angle I co…