What if I told you it’s a waste of time – and money – to go up the Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers?
Bear with me (even better, beer with me) while I explain my theory, which was reinforced by a recent trip to the Malaysian capital; a trip that, perhaps unsurprisingly, involved me knocking back a couple of beers in an exotic bar with a view.
Just as you can’t have your cake and eat it too, when you’re up an iconic building like the Petronas Towers you can’t photograph it at the same time. Well, not in any real sense that captures how it features on the skyline anyway.
And what’s the Paris skyline if not for the Eiffel Tower? Or the iconic New York skyline without the equally iconic Empire State Building?
That’s why, for the best views, you need to go up a really tall building near these buildings. It’s not exactly rocket science – but it works.
In New York you go up the Rockefeller Centre; in Paris you climb the Arc di Triomphe. In Kuala Lumpur you visit the Sky Bar.
How’s that for the longest build up ever to a blog post about a bar or pub?
But it’s not just any bar. Found on the 33rd floor of the Traders Hotel, Sky Bar is the place to go for the best view of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur bar none (see what I did there?).
Swimming pool by day and chilled-out bar by night, Sky Bar boasts sensational views of Malaysia’s most iconic structure, as all the photos on this page will attest. However, only one side of the bar has a view – which means you’ll need to be early, lucky or extremely patient if you want the best seats in the house.
The early bird gets the worm or, in my case, the seats with a view. My girlfriend and I visited Sky Bar at 3:30pm; not too early to be drinking, thank you very much, but early enough to get a seat.
We had no problems; decked out in the finest – clean – clothes we could muster from our backpacks after three months backpacking around South East Asia we settled into prime viewing position with a couple of beers and margaritas.
Nearly two hours later we were in the same seats, nursing the same drinks and still posing like idiots.
Normally you need to put your name on a waiting list for the best seats at Sky Bar but we didn’t have to worry about that – there were at least two spots by the window where we could have sat.
However, if drinking at 3:30 in the afternoon isn’t you thing then you will inevitably have to put your name on the list and wait your turn in the “cheap seats”. How long you’ll have to wait is anyone’s guess but at least you will be rewarded with a view of the towers lit up at night.
Flashy, elegant and surprisingly affordable, Sky Bar is free to visit – catch the free shuttle from the Suria KLCC mall at the base of the towers – but once you’re up there you will, of course, have to buy at least one drink. It is a business after all and not a public viewing platform.
Drinks start from 15 ringgit for a Coca-cola or 32 ringgit for a cocktail. Happy hour goes until 9pm, during which time you can grab two cocktails for 37 or two beers for 26, and there are week day specials (Monday has two-for-one Mojitos at 42 ringgit and Tuesday two-for-one Daiquiris at 37 ringgit).
I think you’ll agree with me that, while they’re far from the cheap prices backpackers find in places like Vietnam or even Thailand, it’s a very reasonable price for a drink in a flashy bar with a view.
And, best of all, it’ll cost you less to have two drinks at Sky Bar during happy hour then it will to go up the bloody Petonas Towers.
Seriously, the days of free access to the Petronas Towers’ sky bridge are long gone; now it costs 50 ringgit to get up to the bridge at the 42nd floor.
And you certainly don’t have the same view of the towers as you do at Sky Bar.
While you’re here, don’t forget to check out these top 10 facts about the Petronas Towers. Because knowing about these magnificent towers will only add to the enjoyment you get from visiting them.