Walking to Kuala Lumpur’s Twin Towers
Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is smaller than many Asian capitals. It’s 33rd on the list of Asia’s largest cities. Because of this, some visitors like the idea of exploring it on foot. Its multi-cultural flavour makes it a vibrant place to explore. There’s a drawback, though: its draining tropical heat and humidity make even a short walk exhausting.
For senior travellers who want to go walking without running out of steam or dissolving into a puddle of sweat, there’s a happy solution. It’s a covered walkway that stretches between two of Kuala Lumpur’s main tourist areas, allowing pedestrians to stroll the distance in air-conditioned comfort even when the day is at its hottest.
Called the KLCC-Bukit Bintang Walkway, it runs for 1.2 kilometres from the Bukit Bintang area, one of the city’s main entertainment and accommodation areas, to KLCC, site of the famous Petronas Twin Towers and the large Suria KLCC mall.
It’s a combination of an elevated walkway from the Pavilion to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and a tunnel from there to Suria KLCC. The overall walk is likely to take you just over 15 minutes.
For much of the way, the walkway is above street level, standing on large, concrete pillars. Opened in 2012, it’s modern, wide, air-conditioned throughout and protected by Nepali security guards at various points, making it safe and comfortable for those who use it.
If you’re starting from the Bukit Bintang end, head for the Pavilion mall, regarded by many as one of the best in Malaysia. When you’ve finished shopping or browsing, make your way to level 3. Outside the main body of the mall, there’s a strip called Connection, which is lined with restaurants and bars. At the end of it, your walk to KLCC begins.
You start by taking a pedestrian bridge above a busy street, Jalan Raja Chulan. Once you’ve crossed, keep right and follow the overhead sign to enter the walkway proper. There are several exit and entry points along the walkway but the signposting is clear, and as long as you follow it, you shouldn’t go wrong.
The walkway has glass sides for most of the way and there are views of bits of the city: streets, buildings, palm trees, open areas. Later, as you approach the KLCC end, there are no windows and the walls are lined with artwork and advertisements.
As you approach the KLCC end, there’s an escalator down. At the foot, turn left into the KL Convention Centre. The first thing you’ll see is the entrance to Aquaria, a large aquarium beneath the convention centre that merits a visit if you have time. It features more than 5,000 sea, freshwater and land species. It’s open daily from 10 am to 8 pm, with last admission at 7 pm.
If you’re heading for KLCC, keep walking past Aquaria and the food court just beyond it. Shortly afterwards, you’ll have a choice: enter the pedestrian tunnel to Suria KLCC or take a set of stairs to the right that lead up to the surface and KLCC Park.
Even if you’re bound for Suria KLCC, it’s well worth taking the time to visit KLCC Park. It’s helpful to memorise your route so that you can easily return to the walkway afterwards.
It’s a 20 hectare (50 acre) park with walking paths, a jogging track around the perimeter, a lake with fountains, a children’s playground and a wide range of indigenous trees, many of them identified on information boards.
The banyan trees and tall palms are impressive, as are some of the lesser known trees, such as the Elephant Apple trees (Dillenia Indica) along the lake shore, so named because elephants in the wild eat the large, green fruits.
The park offers excellent views of the Petronas Twin Towers and other tall buildings and is popular with photographers. Here’s a link to a map of the park: http://ontheworldmap.com/malaysia/city/kuala-lumpur/klcc-park-map.html
It’s a short walk from the park to Suria KLCC and you can do it at ground level if you like. It’s fun, though, to return downstairs and complete the entire trip in the walkway.
This final stretch is underground all the way. I timed myself on my most recent visit. It took me around 10 minutes to walk from the Pavilion to Aquaria, and a further six minutes to reach Suria KLCC.
The six-floor mall is located directly between the Petronas Twin Towers, once the world’s tallest buildings and still the tallest twin towers. When viewed from below, their size is mind-boggling.
You can travel to the observation deck on the 86th floor, and the Skybridge that links the two towers on the 41st floor. You can buy your tickets online or join the queue at the ticketing counter on the concourse level.
Suria KLCC itself is a huge, modern mall that offers upmarket shopping, plenty of restaurants and a cinema complex. You’ll probably want to spend at least an hour or two here.
If you are starting your walkway trip at the KLCC end, or doing a round trip, the entrance here is a little harder to find because of the sheer size of the mall. It’s located on the concourse (Level C). It’s easy enough to ask at an information desk. Or you can look for the branches of Maybank and Guardian pharmacy close together; the tunnel between them is the walkway.
The walkway is open daily from 6 am to 11 pm, with last entry at 10.55 pm.
Header image: Elizabeth Galitskaya | Dreamstime