First Published on November 7, 2017
Even if you are holding a railing on the 68th floor and you have some solid ground to stand on, you are bound to have a few butterflies in your stomach. Especially, if you are standing on a glass that shows you a vertical drop of 800 feet plus to the actual ground. Add to that the moving traffic that does not care who is going to crash land down…..Ok! That is me just winding you guys up. Hey, but you cannot deny those teeny goosebumps you might have got just thinking about it. And imagine – I did this! I did not just stand on the glass that showed me a view 800+ feet below but also, walked on it – at the Komtar Penang.
The Rainbow Skywalk at Komtar Penang was literally, the first activity our Penang tour by Malindo Air And Penang Tourism Board. Frankly, It was that perfect “kick start” to our tour with that teeny bit of adrenaline which set the pace for Penang – the place that we were going to explore over the next 4 days. What made it so – well, that is exactly the story that I am going to share in this post.
Introduction to Komtar Penang
There is no way that you see a tall building staring at you from every angle and you are not curious to know more. That is what exactly happened to me for I had this huge landmark building staring at me from the time I entered George Town. And it followed me to even my room for what I saw from my window was the 6th tallest tower in Malaysia.
KOMTAR actually is an acronym for Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak. The building was named after the 2nd Malaysian Prime Minister who had commissioned it in 1974. Just as the Penang Street Art was done to add life to the heritage town, so was this building. It was completed in 1986 and was originally just 65 floors. Later, three more floors and Malaysia’s highest skywalk was added to it and this is what I was about to witness.
Arriving at The Top
The building that was called Komtar today has several shops, food joints, gaming and entertainment centers occupying it. And that is where our destination – The Top was. As you can guess from the name, it’s primary attraction was “The Top” on the 65th and 68th floor but that is not all that it had to offer.
The Top has an indoor theme park at Komtar Penang. It has several interesting sections like the Aquarium, a Jurrasic park, a 7D theater, mirror maze, Penang State Gallery and more. It is a perfect outing for families, kids and adults – who irrespective of age are bound to get their fun side out. I so missed my little minx here for guess who I met at the entrance- her latest heartthrob – Harry Potter!
Had she seen this, she sure would not have even budged until she was initiated into the Gryffindor house and had bought that cloak. It is good that I went there first. Now that I know, the next time, I will put her blinders on so that she can walk straight up to the elevators that take you to the skywalk – pretty much like what we did!
First taste of Komtar Penang Skywalk
As much as I would have liked to tackle the mirror maze or see the Aquarium, this time it was not to be. Straight up into the speed elevators, we reached the original topmost floor – 65th floor at Komtar Penang Skywalk. This is called The Observatory. The first thing that you are ushered to is a small video presentation of the history of Komtar Penang. And then, with a dramatic end, the rest of the observatory is thrown open to you.
It was as if even the experience leading to Rainbow Skywalk was being given to us in doses. The observatory had a solid floor and a roof on top – pretty much like a normal level. Our path was along the periphery of the 65th floor of the spherical building. This allowed us a 360-degree view of George Town, Penang. Mapped on the glass windows were pins of various landmarks that you could see from there – which I thought was quite a smart idea.
Enjoying the scintillating views of Penang, I thought to myself – hey, the skywalk seems to be a piece of cake- must be just a small area. This is when I got my first dose – the first taste of things to come. A glass-bottomed floor that showcased the busy lanes of George Town and hey, we were to walk on that!
When you actually look down, it seems ok but it is when you step on the glass and look down, suddenly, your tummy gives a jerk. And that isn’t the end of it. If the first step is a jerk, the 2nd step forward on that glass bottom is a lurch. Nothing can prepare you to walk on that see-through floor, some 700 feet above the busy intersections of Penang.
There was a family attempting their walk and I saw the kids crawl along the glass. I thought maybe, that would be easier, but actually, no, it is even more airless!
Me? I thought I would tackle it with my head held high. Looking straight ahead, I walked along the length of that glass floor and then stopped in the center, to look down. Boing! Nope- not any better! There was no stopping those butterflies from creating havoc in my gut.
Rainbow Skywalk at Komtar Penang
Eventually, logic took over to tell me – “Woman! There is Solid ground, it has already taken your weight and the glass is not cracking! There is a handrail – if you need to hold it and even more solid ground if I move to the right.” Ah well, they all settled down – the butterflies and I finally enjoyed the view below. Now I was confident of tackling the actual Rainbow Skywalk that was on the 68th floor. I mean – 3 more floors above was going to be easier to conquer, right?
I thought I was acclimatized to the height but wait,here came in the next dose. Not only was the Rainbow skywalk has no roof, it was far out into the SKY – away from the building floor. Glass all through and no scope of moving to solid ground if the glass cracked!!!
The butterflies returned. However, this time, I got courage from two facts – one that I was not that heavy as compared to the combined weight of the 7 people who were already on the skywalk. Second, I had done far more adventurous stuff than this. Resolved and determined, I stepped onto the glass.
It took me a few glides before I started walking normally. I reached the center to take some shots of the beautiful city views from here and within a few minutes, it just felt normal to be there. I finally, put those butterflies to rest as I posed for some beautiful pictures that are now going to be my memories for life!
The views from Komtar Penang
When I was on the 65th floors, the views seemed lovely through those glass windows. However, they sure were the best from the 68th where you could see past those glass windows. Zooming in with my camera, I saw plenty of interesting places in Penang. Like this floating village or the Chew Jetty – a settlement that was built on stilts.
What was particularly charming was the evident old-world charm that coexisted with the modern establishment in George Town. The old houses amidst those well-designed, smooth roads was what made Penang stand apart!
On the Wishing Chair at Komtar Penang
The 68th floor was not just about the Sky view but had a lovely Fine-Dining restaurant. With an indoor and outdoor seating, it seemed to be that perfect place for a romantic evening. I could so imagine how magical it would be with the city lights at night while you sat across a candlelit table.
Sigh! This was one of those times where I wish Ash was with me. We could have taken a penny and thrown it across to the cauldron at the end of a rainbow – just like what you see my blogger buddies do. I mean there is always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, right?
Or maybe taken a picture together on this lucky horseshoe chair! Maybe he will be – the next time I go to Penang again. They say that this is the “Luckiest Chair in the World”. Maybe I will get lucky with my wish 😉 (Sshh! Let’s keep that a secret for now – shall we?)
Ah well – for now, I will leave you guys to drool over the whole walking on glass experience. I know that you guys are completely game for it! Hey, it really isn’t so scary – I was being the Drama Queen – but you know that, don’t you? 😉
- The Komtar Penang tower can be found here on the maps. You can see it from most places in George Town and reaching here is extremely easy. You can either walk it here if you are staying close by or just take a cab or a bus to it
- You can reach George Town through convenient flights from Kuala Lumpur or even the rest of the World. Malindo Air has several flights that get you here.
- Alternately, you can drive to Penang from Kuala Lumpur.
- Komtar Penang is one of the must-visit places in Penang. You can find the various entrance tickets and other fees on its official website here.
- Carry a light shawl if you are going in the evening as it tends to get a little chilly then.
- To walk on the skywalk, you will either have to remove your shoes or wear the temple socks that they offer at the counter.
- Stick to the instructions given by the guide and do not attempt to lean over the railings or the skywalk
- Remember to check my travel guide to Malaysia for additional tips.