Kuala Lumpur is everything Rachel and I love in a city. It’s seeped in culture and history but offers an exciting, cosmopolitan vibe for the modern-day traveler. Its monorail makes getting around the city a breeze. And we were almost never bothered by touts selling everything but the kitchen sink.
As a keen photographer, I craved the idea of getting a decent picture of the sleek city skyline. Like many before me, I was especially interested in getting a shot with the spectacular Petronas Towers in.
The first stop we made was the Kuala Lumpur tower. According to the reviews on tripadvisor, a site whose reviews I’m losing more and more respect for, the KL tower was the best spot in all of KL to get a good picture of the city – a ‘must visit’ for all travellers to KL. Apparently, the super-speed elevators there were also amazing.
The tower turned out to be the worst tourist spot I’d ever visited. The ‘amazing’ elevators were precisely that, minus the ‘amazing’. With no windows, it was impossible to get a sense of how quickly the lift rose. It may be a wonderful feat of engineering, but an amazing experience it was not.
The tower was crammed with tourists. The view wasn’t bad but from a photography view-point it was a waste of time. I was extremely disappointed. The thick glass separating us from the outside world caused a massive amount of glare – not to mention a general lack of sharpness in the picture.
I’m also not keen on tourists, generally Asian, pushing me out of the way while I’m taking a picture. Unfortunately that is 50 ringgit, 15 dollars, I will never see again.
This is the shot from the KL tower. I’ve photoshopped a lot of the glare out but you can see how hazy it is.
We had considered going up the Petronas towers to get a good shot, but again, that’s 50 ringgit (it’s not free anymore) to take a picture through glass. And it would be difficult indeed, some would say impossible, to take a shot of the skyline with the Petronas Towers in the picture, while still inside the Petronas towers.
Eventually (and thankfully!), we discovered the Sky Bar at the top of the Traders hotel. Situated at the other side of the park to the towers, the bar in this 5 star hotel was incredible. Not only did it have a swimming pool, it more importantly had a breathtaking view of the city skyline, with the towers smack-bang in front of you.
The drinks are expensive but if you arrive before 9pm, I think, it is 2-for-1 on many drinks. It worked out 30 ringgit for 2 drinks. That’s 20 ringgit cheaper than the KL tower, without the annoying tourists. The bottom half of the view was blocked by glass. However, the top half of the view isn’t.
Rather conveniently, you can also rest your camera on the ledge to ensure a clean shot. This is actually quite a blessing considering they don’t allow tripods in the bar.
In the end, with a cold beer in hand, a trendy bar around us, and a lovely sunset, I got the shots I wanted. Any keen photographers going to Kuala Lumpur, if you’ve got money to burn, by all means visit the two sets of towers, but don’t miss out on the Sky Bar.