Big City Tales

A Haven of Modern Architecture and Ancient Shrines in Kuala Lumpur | March 12, 2013

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The KL Tower (far left) and Petronas Towers (far right) dominate Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.

A big part of the appeal of cities like Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is how modern super-structures are seamlessly integrated into ancient landscapes very much steeped in local traditions. Visitors to Kuala Lumpur experience the best of both worlds: all the conveniences and trappings of today’s world plus all the marvels and wonders of days gone by. The city is, indeed, a haven of modern architecture and ancient shrines.

Downtown Delights

Offering a 360 degree view of Kuala Lumpur from its observation deck, the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower) is a popular tourist destination that is also a fully functioning telecommunications tower. The tower’s antenna is 421 metres high with the observation deck being 276 metres above ground.

If scaling tall heights is not your idea of fun, the KL Tower also features a large pedestrian mall complete with souvenir shops and soothing pools gently cascading a steady stream of water – all at ground level! The base of the tower is also home to 1 Malaysia Cultural Village, a large expanse of space dedicated to celebrating the cultural diversity and rich traditions of the country’s major ethnic groups and indigenous tribes.

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The skybridge is a double-decker walkway that joins the twin towers at the 41st and 42nd floors.

For intrepid city planners intent on giving Kuala Lumpur the look and feel of an ultra-modern super city, one mega-structure was not enough. Enter the Petronas Towers (or Petronas Twin Towers) to the downtown landscape. When the towers first opened in 1998, Kuala Lumpur enjoyed the status of having the world’s tallest skyscraper, and the city’s bragging rights continued until 2004.

Now ranked as sixth tallest, the Petronas Towers still holds the distinction of having the world’s tallest two-storey bridge. The skybridge is a double-decker walkway that joins the twin towers at the 41st and 42nd floors. For a small entrance fee, visitors can visit the skybridge on the 41st floor on its own, or pay a little extra for a stop here as well as all the way to top – 86 floors high in the sky.

Cavernous Caves

Located in the Gambok district just north of Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves are a step back in time from both a geological and spiritual standpoint.

While the limestone rich hills that make up the caves are estimated to be 400 million years old, the origins of the Hindu shrines and temples in the area are more recently established and date back only to the late 1800s/early 1900s.  Regardless, the look and feel of the Batu Caves is a definite contrast to Kuala Lumpur’s downtown concrete jungle and is worth the short trek to get out there.

Greeting visitors at the entrance to Batu Caves is the world’s tallest statue of Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity who is honoured during the annual Thaipusam festival celebrated on a full moon in January/February.

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The Lord Murugan statue at Batu Caves is covered with 300 litres of glittering gold paint.

Another unique feature of the Batu Caves entrance is the steep stone staircase consisting of 272 concrete steps leading from Lord Murugan’s statue to the caves, shrines and temples above.

Of the many caves and temples, the largest and best known is the Temple or Cathedral Cave that is noted for its vaulted ceilings and the numerous Hindu shrines it contains.
Whether its modern architecture or ancient shrines that capture your traveler’s imagination, you can be sure to get your fill of both in Kuala Lumpur – enjoy!

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