Entrapped in Petronas Towers

Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur MalaysiaIt’s true you can see them from almost every place in Kuala Lumpur. Even though they are no longer the tallest building in the World they are still very impressive (451.9 metres). I mostly associate them with Entrapment starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones.

The twin towers were built on the site of Kuala Lumpur’s race track. Test boreholes found that the original construction site effectively sat on the edge of a cliff. One half of the site was decayed limestone while the other half was soft rock. The entire site was moved 61 metres (200 ft) to allow the buildings to sit entirely on the soft rock. Because of the depth of the bedrock, the buildings were built on the world’s deepest foundations. 104 concrete piles, ranging from 60 to 114 metres (200 to 374 ft) deep, were bored into the ground.

We came back from Batu Caves and got out from the train at Bank Negra deciding to somehow find our way through the streets of Golden Triangle. It’s not a long distance and PT are a distinctive landmark. When we got to the towers it turned out that the tickets for the day were already sold out even though it was around 2pm. So make sure you get there in the morning or book in advance. Adult ticket for Non-Malaysian costs MR80 and you can buy it online here.

Malaysia F1

What makes them beautiful for me is the steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art. The design of each Tower’s floor plate is based on two interlocking squares, creating a shape of eight-pointed stars. Architecturally, these forms describe important Islamic principles of “unity within unity, harmony, stability and rationality”. The towers are depicted through its outline, which resembles the letter “M” for Malaysia.KL Tower

As we could not get to Petronas Towers we moved on to see Kuala Lumpur Tower (Menara Kuala Lumpur). The tower is the highest viewpoint in Kuala Lumpur that is open to the public. So we had a better view for MR99. There is another price option. You can only go to observation deck (enclosed with glass) and pay MR56. As we were going to the highest floor only one elevator could take us there. It took a while so we had time to observe the people queuing and our surroundings. Have a look at this spectacular ceiling in the elevator area.

Before leaving Ireland we were watching a few videos of people base jumping from this tower. Once we were there we met no daredevils but had to sign devils pledge. Let the pictures speak for themselves as the panorama of Kuala Lumpur reviles itself. Let me just say I was really impressed. Jus one more think. We’ve seen both towers during the night and they look so much better. The coloful lights making the all the difference. I didn’t get a chance to take a shot but believe me it’s so worth it to see it. I’m sure you will find plenty of those online anyway.

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KL Tower
KL Tower
KL panorama
Panorama of Kuala Lumpur
Merdek Square Kuala Lumpur

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Kuala Lumpur, Batu Caves, Malaysia

KL Sentral

Batu caves are located 13km North from Kuala Lumpur. It looked for me actually as a part of the city. We took a train (KTM Komuter) to get there from KL sentral. It took a bit over 30 mins and costs RM2 per person. We found the trains really cheap in Kuala Lumpur and during one day we stayed there we used them quite often. We had about 20 minutes to the next train and so we waited on a platform watching trains and people come and go. What caught our attention was a cart only for women (koc untuk wanita sahaja). koc untuk wanita sahajaAt the floor of the station were marks clearly showing where this cart is going to stop. The only thing is people seem not to care and on more than one occasion we saw men sitting together with women in the pink compartment. The fines for damaging the train are really high and there are rules of conduct displayed in every cart, so no kissing!

The way from the train station to the entrance of the caves is really short maybe 3 minutes unless you stop to take pictures of the macaque monkeys. There are plenty of them there playing with the food and posing to the pictures. Batu Caves are set in a range of limestone cliffs. The shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan – god of war and victory is located inside hence the huge golden statue at the entrance to the caves. It’s the second tallest statue of Hindu deity in World (42.7m).

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There are 272 concrete steps leading to the cave. They are quite steep and in this heat many people had to take a break while climbing. The panorama of Kuala Lumpur when you get to the top is quite impressive. The Cathedral Cave is 100m high and has amazing shafts in the ceiling through which rays of light illuminate altars and statues. These statues depict Lord Murugan, Shiva, Ganesh and Durga. In a chamber behind the central shrine is a statue of another deity, Lord Rama.

While we were there some ceremony was taking place. It made me think of baptism so it might have been namkaran which is the Hindu practice of naming a baby. I don’t know anything about Hindu ceremonies so forgive me if I’m talking nonsense. On the way up towards the top of the stairs we saw entrance to another cave. We went in on our way back. It’s called Dark Cave and offers educational and adventure caving trip, run by volunteers from the Cave Group of the Malaysian Nature Society. It is a two-kilometer network of relatively untouched caverns. Stalactites jutting from the cave’s ceiling and stalagmites rising from the floor form intricate formations such as cave curtains, flow stones, cave pearls and scallops which took thousands of years to form. We just missed the tour and because we didn’t have much time to see KL decided to skip it. The ticket costs MR48 If you would like to read fun story about it you can do it here. And now enjoy the pictures.

Batu Caves

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Kuala Lumpur – one day in the captal of Malaysia

kuala lumpur panoramaWe departed from Dublin with Etihad Airlines. The plane looked very comfortable. First time we not only had individual screens but also USB and network plug ins, charged plug in and a console to play the games. The movies were recent releases and offered wide selection of World cinema. Etihad AirlinesI have to say the flight attendants were very nice and made us feel welcome. For the first time I wasn’t cold on the plane, rather very warm. At some point during the flight one of the passengers in the row opposite to ours started to call for help. He looked like he couldn’t breathe. One of the girls came over but she seemed to be really frightened and did not know what to do. After a couple of seconds more staff came over and one of them took over. She loosened his collar and made someone to bring him water and oxygen mask. He refused the oxygen mask. More and more staff came and it began to be warmer and warmer and really hard to breathe for me as well. Then the temperature in the cabin dropped. They moved the passenger to business class so we only saw him looking much better by the end of the trip. On another note I have to say food was really good during this flight.

KL SentralIn Abu Dhabi we got the first glimpse of warm temperatures awaiting us on this trip. The air was really humid. The city looks strange from the air. All sand and perpendicular streets with long distances between buildings. Some amazing constructions though.

The plane to Kuala Lumpur was quite empty and we had really nice flight attendants again. He offered us to take different seats if we wish to sleep.

We landed at 10.30pm local time. Exchange rate as always at the airports was pure steal. We took a train to KS Sentral. It was really easy to find it and buy tickets (MR35 one way). We wanted to take subway once we got to KL Sentral but it was not running after midnight so we had to take a taxi. In most of the places we visited during our trip there is a Teksi counter where you pay for the taxi (MR10 + MR5 after midnight fee). They give you a ticket and then you give it to driver. Our driver naturally didn’t know where our hostel (Explorer’s guesthouse) was. He dropped us out on a crossroads. Luckily it turned out to be 20m away from there. I have to say the room even though it was without a window was quite nice. The view from the roof top terrace was on the skyscrapers and nearby building site. We saw people sleeping on the streets and rats running around them. We saw a lot of those pests during our trip.KL Sentral

We could not sleep and to kill time checked the Internet. Someone rang the doorbell and it turned out the receptionist was sleeping on one of the couches in the common area. It’s a common practice in Malaysia as it turns out. The next day we started from having a breakfast just around the corner and visiting Batu Caves. Since this post is long already next one will be devoted to the caves and further sightseeing.

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Malaysia and Borneo

Flag of MalaysiaI just came back yesterday from my trip to Malaysia. As probably everyone coming back from holiday (unless you had a very bad experience) I have now a strange feeling. One hand it seems already like it was ages ago on another I can’t believe I’m back and have to go back to the regularity of my life.  Over the next week I will live my memories sharing them with you guys and I hope you will find them entertaining and maybe useful while planning your own trip.

Firstly I and A. left together with Etihad from Dublin to Kuala Lumpur (interchange in Abu Dhabi). After 3 days we were joined by our friends I. and D. When we were planning the trip we thought we will be travelling together and the plan was as follows:

Arrive at Kuala Lumpur, see Batu Caves, go to Kuala Selangor to see the fireflies, see Cameron Highlands and Taman Negra, then up to Langkawi, ferry to Georgetown in Penang, fly to Borneo and see Mulu National Park. Back to Kuala Lumpur and home. Our friends were supposed to go to Thailand to spend there two more weeks instead of flying with us home.

malaysia-map

In the end the trip looked like this: Kuala Lumpur and Batu Caves, train to Alor Star, ferry to Langkwai, flight to Georgetown, flight to Kota Kinabalu, bus ride to Sandakan, flight back to KK and back to Kuala Lumpur. Our friends flu from KK to Hongkong.

General information:

Malaysia consists of two parts: Peninsular Malaysia where majority of the people live and north part of Borneo. Malaysian Borneo had little to do with the Peninsula until arrival of the British. It was ruled by Brunei Sultanate. In 1841 as a reward for helping him to crush the rebellion Sultan of Brunei made James Brooke (British) the Rajah of Sarawak, the first of three White Rajahs. Sabah remained under loose control of Brunei, it was mostly rented to different people before finally in 1888 coming under British government protection together with Sarawak.

Malaysia prospers thanks to demend for its rubber, palm oil, tea and tin as well as oil and gas reserves. Malays form 51% of the country’s 28 million population. Chinese make up about 25% and people of India about 7%. Majority of Malaysians are Muslim but Sharia is not forced upon all of the citizens only those practicing Islam.

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