Image by Hector Garcia @kirai Getty Images

Resembling twin silver rockets plucked from an episode of Flash Gordon, the Petronas Towers are the perfect allegory for the meteoric rise of the city from tin-miners' hovel to 21st-century metropolis. Half of the 1500 tickets for 45-minute tours – which take in the Skybridge connection on the 41st floor and the observation deck on the 86th floor at 370m – are sold in advance online. Otherwise turn up early to be sure of scoring a ticket to go up.

Even though completed back in 1998, the shimmering stainless-steel-clad towers, designed by Argentinian architect César Pelli as the headquarters of the national oil and gas company Petronas, continue to epitomise contemporary KL. The 88-storey twin towers are the tallest pair in the world at nearly 452m and their floor plan is based on an eight-sided star that echoes arabesque patterns. Islamic influences are also evident in each tower's five tiers – representing the five pillars of Islam – and in the 63m masts that crown them, calling to mind the minarets of a mosque and the Star of Islam. They look particularly impressive when illuminated at night.