Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Everybody loves a good view. Whether it’s a balcony in an apartment or a mountaintop in the wilderness, there is something empowering and humbling about standing high above your surroundings. For city view seekers, Kuala Lumpur is an unlikely gem. It often feels like a city of contrasts, as many developing capitals around the world do. On the ground level, the streets and buildings have a lived-in and aged grunge to them. But there are many skyscrapers and fancy condos that tower over the city too. During my two months in Kuala Lumpur, I found two amazing spots to enjoy an open-air view of the city below. One was the Regalia Skypool Rooftop, and the other was Heli Lounge Bar. I’ll take you on my journey of experiencing both.
Regalia Skypool view
We pulled up to a shiny apartment block which to me looked more like a hotel. I learned afterwards that Regalia Suites indeed functions as both. He pressed the elevator button to the top floor, and we began our steady ascent through the insides of the entire building. The doors opened to a tiled landing. I admired the glimpses of a view already peaking at me through the panelled windows. He guided me through the entrance of the enclosed rooftop bar. Countless tables lay set neatly with pristine silverware over folded napkins beside spotless wine glasses. Walls hardly existed on this level of Regalia. Instead, large spanning windows separated the restaurant from the outside world. ‘Let’s check out the view,’ he called over to me and motioned towards a staircase that I hadn’t noticed, leading outside.
This was the rooftop that I was hoping to see. A balcony terrace infinity pool on top of the city. It was just like the rooftops I had seen in photographs enticing people to come live the high life in Kuala Lumpur. Simply being here, watching the water reflect the sky and overflow above the far-stretching cityscape, felt like luxury. I looked down over the glass railing and saw little squares of colour in neighbourhood groups. And further, into the distance, the overgrown forests, jammed parking lots and winding highways. I also noticed just how many skyscrapers dwelled in the city. Watching the world from this perspective was fascinating. It felt as though I could observe the happenings of every bug-sized trailing car for hours and not get bored. Having had my first glimpse of a Kuala Lumpur rooftop view, I was hungry for more.
Heli Lounge Bar
Helibar was a place that we hostel staff always pointed out to guests. It was just a 7-minute walk from the hostel itself, and there was free entrance. But over and above the convenience and budget-friendliness, it was the best place in the city to watch the sunset. Helicopter pad by day and open-air rooftop bar by night, it was unlike any viewpoint that I’ve been to before. What made it particularly impressive was the absence of any railing around the rooftop edge. It simply ended; giving you an extra bout of adrenaline when enjoying your drink on the edge of the skyscraper. Due to its use as a helicopter pad, the view is a complete 360-degree rotation of the cityscape. And this is exactly why it is an amazing place to grab a sundowner with friends.
The iconic KL tower stands in the shallow distance, and you can watch as the sun goes down and its lights begin to beam varying colours. Before sundown, the bar is pretty relaxed and casual. You can show up in the afternoon with your summer flip flops and a tropical tank top and you will be lead in without a second thought. If you arrive in the evening though, you’ll have to put in a little more effort. Think hotel sky bar or a higher end club. Helibar also gets pretty busy during sunset, so to ensure you get a seat on the rooftop, aim to arrive before 7 pm.
There is an assortment of trendy seating areas on the rooftop, from colourful deck chairs to birdcage inspired couch nooks. Come evening time, a DJ is also set up to add some ambient beats to this picturesque scene. Of all the city views I’ve been lucky enough to see, Helibar was definitely one of my favourites.