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17 sensational observation towers that aren't in Paris

By: Matt Hickman on Aug. 5, 2016, 10:39 a.m.
Menara KL in Kuala Lumpur

Photo: Photo: John Pavelka/flickr

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Menara KL

Marathon schmarathon. Why propel yourself across a flat expanse of land when you get hurl yourself up 2,058 steps to a finish line located at 928 feet above ground level?

Now in its 14th year, the KL Tower International Towerthon Challenge – essentially, a timed race to the top of Kuala Lumpur’s landmark telecommunications tower — is one of the world's most unusual — and grueling — annual sporting events. And people go bananas for it. For those who wouldn't make it past step number 500 without calling it quits, the antenna-ed edifice otherwise known as Menara KL (total height: 1,381 feet) is home to a host of other, elevator-accessible (a quick, 54-second ride to the top!) attractions including a revolving restaurant with popular dinner buffet, spacious observation deck and an Islamic heritage museum at the tower's base. And while's the tower’s impressively sized head could potentially pack in a lot more open-to-the-public attractions, a majority of the space is dedicated to radio and television broadcasting.

It's worth noting that the tower isn't the Malaysian metropolis's tallest structure. That title is held by the Petronas Towers, twin skyscrapers that, from 1998 to 2004, reigned as the tallest buildings in the world.