Kuala Lumpur–A brief visit to Malaysia’s capital in 2007

First time visitors to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur can’t help but notice how the Petronas Twin Towers dominates the skyline not just in terms of its size but its unique architecture.

As we approached the city on our bus from Penang in the north, the towers were impressive.

If by day, the towers don’t seem imposing or spectacular, see them at night.

Read all the minutia about the Petronas Twin Towers like how much it cost to build and how long and so forth.

With my Canon 20D on a tripod, the Petronas Twin Towers above, my exposure was ISO 200 f11 @ 4 sec. Canon 17-35mm f2.8L lens

Needless to say, it was the tallest building in the world… briefly.

Which building is the tallest currently, well it depends on what your criteria is, so look that up here.

Visitors to the Petronas Twin Towers can only go up to the 40th and 41st story in this 1.483 feet (88 story) building.

That’s the section you see where there is a walkway or “Skybridge” between the 2 towers.

Canon 20D, 17-35 mm f2.8 lens set at 35mm f8 a 1.3 sec ISO 200

The skybridge is 170 metres (558 feet) above the street.

Each morning the crowd arrives as early as 7:45am to queue for a fixed number of free tickets to visit the skybridge.

Unfortunately for us, we didn’t get there early enough so we had to be content in admiring this superstructure from the ground level.

No visit to Kuala Lumpur or “KL” would be complete without visiting the city’s humble beginnings. For this we boarded the light rail transit from a suburb Petaling Jaya to the heart of the city.

When we heard the announcement, “Next station Masjid Jamek,” we disembarked the air-conditioned train and walked to the street level below.

[revver 1239693 Kuala Lumpur’s origins]

Within walking distance is Dataran Merdeka or Independence Square.

This is the historic site where Malaysia was awarded its independence from the British 50 years ago.

I stitched this virtual reality image below together with my point and shoot Canon Powershot G3 using Double Take.

Wish I had taken the time and effort to learn how to make a decent panorama before my trip, but this will have to do.

In case you haven’t seen one of these types of pictures, move your mouse into the picture, click and hold down your mouse and scroll left or right. The picture should pan left or right. 

To zoom in, hold down the “Shift” key. To zoom out, hold down the “Ctrl” key. Those keyboard shortcuts are for the Mac. If you’re on a Windows machine, the “Shift” key works the same, I think the “Alt” key zooms out. Windows users, I can use some input here if this is true. Thanks.


While visiting the National History Museum in Merdeka Square (Independence Square) we were tickled that entry into the museum was 1 ringgit about 30 cents US but to use the restroom facility at a mall, we paid 50 sens about 15 cents US.

Makes me wonder if Malaysia’s National History Museum is suffering from such low attendance that they can’t possibly raise the entrance fee or the shopping malls should be charging for its visitors to use the restrooms.

We enjoyed our stroll through Pasar Seni or the Arts Market. Here we watched an angklung musician perform.

The Angklung, a uniquely south east asian musical instrument which is made from bamboo, is played little a baby’s rattle. There are different pitches obviously so the musician has to shake these with varying lengths of time to produce tones.

What I particularly enjoyed was his rendition of a very popular Cantonese song from the soap “Shanghai Beach.”  Puts a smile on my face and warms my heart that music appeal is universal. A Malay musician can appreciate and will play a beautiful tune from a Chinese soap. I wish I could have stopped this fine musician to get his name. Anyone reading this know his name?

One of the more memorable scenes of my trip back was in Penang, my birthplace. I saw a policeman riding his motorcycle without a helmet. Oh…he was on his cellphone too.

I’m told that scene is fairly commonplace. Most foreigners won’t notice such things or even care for that matter. But if you were a citizen and you see such flagrant disregard for the law, you will have nothing but contempt for those in charge.

On a positive but sad note, I came across a true blue Malaysian hero by the name of Raja Petra Kamarrudin. He is currently under arrest by the government for publicizing various articles on his blog which has been deemed anti-government and even anti-Islam.

I never met this man. All I know of him, is what I’ve read. His struggle to cast light on the excesses of Malaysia’s present administration has landed him in jail. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, yes the same one interviewed by the BBC, put him there.  Sign this petition to free him.

One of the more pleasant surprises about returning to Malaysia recently is KLIA. I’m assuming that stands for Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

I guess there’s a battle going on between Singapore’s Changi International, KLIA and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to be the region’s hub. We all know what that can mean in terms of revenue, those airport taxes can mean a lot. It’s easy money for the country/city.

KLIA is truly a welcome change from LAX. This airport is, for now clean and sparkly, and very bright. The signs in and around the various wings leaves a lot to be desired.

Malaysia Airlines ground staff needs to be more pro-active when it comes to directing its passengers on where to go once they disembark from their planes.

We had to ask which way to go to Immigration and then how to get to the connecting flight. And even after we were told the gate number, we had to consult one of those “You Are Here” map displays. Of course the way that display was oriented, it didn’t point us where we needed to go.

How were we supposed to know we had to catch a railcar to terminal “C”?

4 thoughts on “Kuala Lumpur–A brief visit to Malaysia’s capital in 2007”

  1. If you see this excellent Angklung musician, would you please ask him name and contact me? I’d like to identify him in my blog. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  2. Hey Quachee,
    If you ever get a chance, get some pictures of Thailand’s Bangkok airport. I’d love to see what it looks like. S’pore’s Changi airport has been around a long time, but I’m sure it’s always kept up in immaculate condition as with most things there. When I was with SQ, they had just moved operations from Paya Lebar.(the old int’l airport). Want to know something? Any of these airports beat Los Angeles International hands down any day. LAX is one of the worse in terms of congestion, getting around and services.

  3. hi pete

    nice reading yr trip to kl. the kl twin towers are still one of the more beautiful buildings around 🙂

    on the airport battles, there is a report that thailand’s one draw in the most crowd. one thing is also the pricing of tickets.

    oh ull be surprised to know some actually fly from kl-spore-then to their destination. or spore-bkk-destination.

    i think klia is nice and so is changi. but suvarnabumi has got style 🙂 (its not like any other airport) 🙂

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