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If you have a spare half day in Kuala Lumpur, then we may have an activity a little different for you, combining urban and natural heights – the KL Tower and KL Eco Forest Park.
KL Eco Forest Park and KL Tower
First on the itinerary is KL Tower (also known Menara Tower), and as with Petrona Towers, it is visible from all over the city. KL Tower was launched in 1997 and at a height of 420m, is the seventh tallest freestanding tower in the world (with the Skytree in Tokyo currently taking the crown).
There are a plethora of things to do at the tower, including an aquarium, an upside down house and a 360 degree revolving restaurant – we opted to focus on the indoor and outdoor viewing areas at the top of the tower.
Our first port of call was the outer Sky Deck, with the lift taking just less than a minute to go from the footer from the very top (my ears kind of went pop). We were fortunate enough to visit on a clear, sunny day so we could see for miles around, with unspoiled 360 degree views of the city and surrounding mountains.
What is also quite nice is that you get to see the Petronas Towers from up high, making it in some ways superior to the towers themselves as you can include it in your photos – also there is no outdoor deck at the towers so photo opps are better at KL Tower.
The views here truly are stunning and the fact that you are outdoors with no obstructions (such as netting or perspex) makes this a must-visit attraction in KL.
Travelling around Malaysia?
There are several other attractions available on the outer sky deck, including a cafe and a glass ‘Sky Box’ – for the latter, make sure you grab a numbered ticket as you exit the lift at the top. Once you take of your shoes, you are then allowed on the clear glass walkway (a bit like a glass box) for two minutes or so (they have a timer!). A KL Tower photographer is on hand to take pictures which you can buy later or you can also take some of your own snaps.
You can then get the lift down five storeys to the indoor Observation Deck (again 360 degree views) – this allows you to get better views of the ground below but to be honest, it is a bit of an anti-climax after the Sky Deck. If shopping is your thing, there are lots of retails concessions and stalls on this level (keyrings, fridge magnets, model aeroplanes etc).
KL Eco Forest Park
Once back down at the foot of the KL Tower, exit via the same way you came in and head towards the Upside Down house / ‘I love KL Tower’ sign – look immediately in front of you and you’ll see a downhill path into what looks like woodland.
This is the KL Eco Forest Park (full title ‘Taman Eko Rimba’ or formerly known as ‘Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve’) and although right next door to the KL Tower, feels a world away from the hustle and hubris of city-life. According to the tourist board, “Kuala Lumpur is the only city in the world that has a natural rainforest situated right at its centre.” It was also ‘gazetted’ as a forest reserve in 1906 and is one of the oldest in Malaysia.
The main reason for our visit to the KL Eco Forest Park was the free forest canopy walk – the rest of the park looks like it has seen better days, as all of the park’s other attractions (e.g. the tea room or herb garden) are either boarded up or have been neglected.
However, even if you are not the biggest fan of heights, this is an accessible and unique way to see the city skyline amongst the lush tree foliage and canopies (although if your companions like to jump up and down on the bridges to make it rock, maybe not so much!).
You can also get photos with the KL Tower as the backdrop through the wood. Although there are pictures of monkeys on the official website, we didn’t really see any wildlife (if you don’t count the woman we saw wearing a ‘Three Bare Bears T-shirt’).
Even though it only takes about 5 to 10 minutes in total to navigate the KL Eco Forest Park mid-air walk in total (and as with any outdoor activity in Kuala Lumpur), make sure you bring some water and sunscreen for the walk as it is quite exposed up there.
At the end, it is easy to get back to the city hub as you can either jump on the free city circuit bus from just outside the bottom of the park, or head back towards the base of the tower and jump on a ‘hop-on, hop-off’ bus, or use a cheap ‘Grab’ taxi. Kuala Lumpur’s skyline is superb so definitely try these activities to see it as it is meant to be seen.
KL Eco Forest Park and KL Tower ticket pricing
During our visit in January 2019 ticket prices for the Sky Deck cost 99RM (price includes the Sky Box and Observation Deck), whilst Observation Deck only tickets cost 49RM. I personally would highly recommend spending the extra money to visit the Sky Deck for the wonderful unobstructed views of the city. The KL Eco Forest Park is free (yippee!).
Other Malaysia blog posts
- Top things to do in Langkawi, Malaysia
- Tasting local Malaysian delights on a Kuala Lumpur food tour
- Top things to do in Melaka, Malaysia
- Thaipusam Festival in Batu Caves
- Langkawi Mangrove tour
- An evening aboard a Langkawi sunset tour
- Georgetown’s street art in Penang – ultimate guide
- Island hopping in Langkawi
Download the Grab app
Grab taxis are widely used by both tourists and locals, and the fares are really cheap! Download the Grab app here and use the code GRABCKTRAVELS to earn a free ride when you sign up.
Sim cards and pocket WIFI
Having data on your phone whilst travelling is almost essential these days – from planning your route around the city, booking a Grab taxi or for staying connected with friends and family back home. SIM cards are pretty cheap in Malaysia with generous data allowances and are available to purchase from airports, malls and convenience stores (bring your passport along for identification purposes).
You can also prepay online and collect a SIM from KLIA2 airport. Just remember to make sure your phone is not locked to your local network provider before purchasing one.
Alternatively if you do not want to change your sim card then renting a pocket WIFI device might be for you. We’ve used them multiple times and love that we can both connect our devices to it, however the downside to the Malaysian ones is that there is a data allowance of 1GB per day. Pre-order one online with Klook for collection when you arrive at either KLIA or KLIA2 airport in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur accommodation
There is a great range of accommodation choices in Kuala Lumpur to suit all budgets. We went mid range and stayed at the Mercure Kuala Lumpur Shaw Parade which cost us around £30 a night (booked far in advance). The rooms were modern and really comfy, plus it had a rooftop pool (no views of Petronas Towers though).
Here are some other accommodation suggestions that you might find useful:
Some other hostel accommodations that come highly rated include:
Sunshine Bedz KL
Small and friendly hostel with with free breakfast, bar, pub quizzes and organised pub crawls. Check out prices and availability for Sunshine Bedz KL
Mingle Hostel KL
Chinatown hostel located in a renovated 1920s clubhouse with with up-cycled furniture, free breakfast, rooftop bar and on-site café. Check out prices and availability for Mingle Hostel KL
Step-Inn Too Guesthouse
Social hostel located in the Golden Triangle neighbourhood with high-speed Wi-Fi. Check out prices and availability for Step-Inn Too Guesthouse
If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels are comfy and have great reviews:
THE FACE Suites
Spacious and modern apartments with infinity pool, fitness centre, bars and restaurants. Check out prices and availability for The FACE Suites
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
Stylish hotel connected to Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station via a link bridge with a gym, 4 dining options and a spacious outdoor pool. Check out prices and availability for Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
Alternatively if you are looking for something more special then treat yourself to a stay at one of these beautiful hotels in Kuala Lumpur:
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Luxurious 5-star hotel with outdoor swimming pool, 3 on-site restaurants and bar overlooking the Petronas Twin Towers. Check out prices and availability for Grand Hyatt
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Stylish suites and serviced apartments overlooking the city skyline and KLCC Park with infinity outdoor pool, 10 award-winning restaurants and spa. Check out prices and availability for Mandarin Oriental
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Stylish hotel connected to Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station via a link bridge with a gym, 4 dining options and a spacious outdoor pool. Check out prices and availability for Shangri-La Hotel
Disclosure: The KL Tower passes were complimentary, but as always, opinions are all our own.
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