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Friday, December 28, 2012

Batu Caves: Of Olden Caves and Primates

Malaysia Day 2

I woke up a bit late the next day. Probably because I was exhausted from the MNL-KUL flight , plus the stress brought about by the unexpected turn of events. I also went "home" a little late that night from KLCC. I had no fixed plans that day so I figured I'll just make a short visit to the Batu Caves.

I left the hostel at around 10:00 AM that morning and look at the photo below. The streets were still empty! They really start their day late that's why they are still up and the city is still so alive at late night hehe.

Bukit Bintang at 10AM

Going to Batu Caves is as easy as 1-2-3. As I've mentioned on my previous post, as long as there is a train station near you, going around KL is a breeze. You just have to go to KL Sentral and ride the KTM train to Batu Caves and that's it. However, note the arrival time of the train. Maybe because it was something new to me and I was excited, I didn't take time to notice this. I ended up waiting for the train underground for 20 minutes. I should have walked around and checked out the shops in KL Sentral had I noticed it.

waiting for the train

Travel time from KL Sentral to Batu Caves takes 30 minutes. KTM Commuter train is kind of slow and it stops a bit longer than usual than the other KL trains.

This is the first thing you'll see when you arrive in Batu Caves. Hanuman is an ape-like humanoid Hindu deity, who is an important character in the Hindu epic Ramayana


Yes, Batu Caves is a Hindu shrine. It is one of the most famous outside of India. They celebrate here the Hindu Thaipusam festival in Malaysia. I think we all know that there are many Indian communities in Malaysia.

great view from the pond

You will also pass by this very zen looking view. I'm not sure though if this is a man-made pond or if it's connected to the Batu River where the cave was named after. A lot of tourists take photos with this backdrop too.

Batu plight of stairs

Then, you'll finally get a glimpse of the stairs all the way up to the caves. It seemed like being guarded by Murugan (a Hindu deity). It is his tallest statue in the world measuring 140 ft. This shrine is dedicated to him.

free monkeys everywhere

You will see a lot of monkeys in the area. They also became part of the attraction in some way. People, especially children are delighted to see them so free and yet not so wild. It felt a bit like India where they just let the animals roam around freely anywhere.

The stairs

Make sure you're ready for this when you get there. It takes 272 steep steps to get to the caves. A friendly reminder, don't forget to bring a bottle of water with you. :)

Temple Cave

Batu Caves has three main caves and other smaller ones. The first main cave is called the Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave. It has a high ceiling and Hindu shrines.

let there be light

Batu Caves is said to be already 400 million years old. It became famous for its limestone hills. In the late 1800s, an Indian trader promoted it to be a place of worship. There used to be a wooden stairs before it was replaced with a concrete one.

a lollipop eating monkey

I told you, people love these monkeys. They feed them with whatever they have. :)

entrance to Art Gallery and Museum Caves

There are two more smaller cave temples at the base of the hill. I passed by them before I descended the stairs. It is the Art Gallery Cave and the Museum Cave which exhibits Hindu statues and paintings. They also offer there a mini-cave tour which I was interested in. I would have wanted to check them out if I still have a lot of time. Ticket prices are also expensive, by the way.

As expected, descending the hill was much easier and faster. I was also happy to see that there were a lot of solo travelers like me.

final Batu Caves shot

One of the few disadvantages of traveling alone is the difficulty to take photos of yourself haha! You know, bringing and setting up a tripod is not applicable sometimes.

onboard KTM going back to KL Sentral

I had fun exploring Batu Caves on my own. I didn't get tired, unlike the Korean guy behind me who fell asleep at the train immediately haha. This was just one of the two instances I've been alone during my 12 days in Malaysia. It was just a quick visit. After this, I still had to meet my friend in Chinatown after lunch. I never expected I'd be meeting more. Coming up next in these series. :)

This is Part 2 of my Peninsular Malaysia travel series.

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