After a rather exhausting morning at FRIM (you can read about that here), we headed across to the Batu Caves area of the city, which still lays on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
On arriving at the Batu Caves, our first priorities were finding a toilet and then somewhere to eat. The eateries around Batu Caves are pretty low-key, and none of the places looked like they would be passing any food hygiene certifications. We took a peek at our guidebook and there was one particular one mentioned as recommended, called Rani Vilas Restaurant, which was a full vegetarian restaurant, and the food we had was actually nice, whilst the service was less so. I’m going to do a full separate post on where and what we ate and prices in more depth.
From there we started it was time to embark upon climbing up to the steps, but before we made it there we had to walk through a mob of monkeys (Crab-eating macaque) eating scraps of fruit thrown out onto the ground by the restaurants and shops.
The limestone caves are one the most visited Hindu shrines outside of India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the God of War and Victory – it happened to be his birthday on the day we were there. His bright golden Statue is unmissable at the front of the red steps which lead up to the top. Looking up, I actually thought I might collapse climbing up the 272 steps to the top after our already energetic morning – but my wise choice of two sugary drinks at lunch helped and I managed to walk to the top without any stopping – other than to take pictures and try and get the monkeys to be my friend.
The whole area around Batu caves is very much still being built, there’s temples and shrines being erected both at the bottom and within the caves themselves. Inside the cave there were piles of bricks and stones. The cave over the years has been opened and closed to the public with quite a lot of abuse and graffiti in-between. The main cave itself, is completely free to access – women have to be dressed with their legs covered, luckily I was wearing gym leggings that day – but there was a place to rent a sarong at the bottom if needed. We decided to go into the Dark Cave, which is a paid exhibit neighbouring the main Cave, after feeling a bit underwhelmed by the main cave, luckily that made the experience a whole lot better.
The Dark Cave is run independently and is a recognised conservation site, and was around a 45 minute guided tour in a small group, needing to wear helmets and carry torches through a pathway, the cave is home to thousands of both fruit and flesh eating bats (not human flesh though – phew!), the noise coming from some of them so loud! The cave is split into three main sections, the middle of which when we stopped and were told to close our eyes, turn off our torches and then open our eyes is completely dark – giving the attraction it’s name. I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere so pitch black before, I couldn’t see my fingers in front of my face at all! Walking through the caves we saw stalagmites and stalactites beginning to meet as the lime water dipped between them, If we go back in an estimated 1,500 years some of those will now be touching.
One of the main reasons this is considered a conservation site is due to the fact it’s home to the rarest spider in the world, The Trapdoor spider – which sadly (for me, Ben hates spiders), we did not see as the hide in the darkest part of the cave, away from where tourists can go. We saw other spiders, and lizards quite frequently on the way round, and were told that dogs often sneak in to the caves as it’s cool, but the monkey’s are too scared of the dark to venture in. We were told that there were also snakes, but sightings of them are quite rare – but we happened to find one on the way out in the trees.
The Batu Caves is ranked as one of the highest things to do in the city, and personally I felt like it was something that was more impressive standing at the bottom looking up at the stairs than the caves itself at the top. It’s kind of one of those things you have to see, but might not turn out to be a highlight of the holiday as you might expect, I’d recommend if you have time going into the Dark Caves as part of your visit – the entry fee wasn’t huge (35RM per adult – approx £6.70), and it was a much more interesting experience for us than the main caves.
Inside Main Batu Cave
Our evening was rather chilled, once we’d got home as you can imagine we were rather knackered – we chilled out for a bit, me indulging in the fact that there was a bath long enough for my lanky legs, then after changed we headed over the Petronas Towers in an attempt to book tickets for the next evening. Unfortunately despite being open for another 30 minutes, they wouldn’t serve us, so instead we booked online, had a little walk through the KLCC shopping centre, which is underneath the towers (that’s when I spotted the Bath and Body Works bag), and we had a walk back up towards our hotel in a bid to find somewhere to eat. We stopped at a place called BBQ nights which we’d spotted on Trip Advisor as a place that was ranked highly as a cheap eat – and it was lovely grilled food. After that we headed back to the hotel collapsing after a really long and exhausting day.
By the end of the day – and my phone was partially dead for some of it, my phone said we had climbed the equivalent of 58 flights of stairs, and walked close to 18,000 steps, I’d estimate you could add another 20% onto that for the time my phone was as sleepy as my legs were feeling.
Hope you enjoyed the first Malaysia post, Day 2 is coming up next week – this time we stayed in the city centre, and again – did a hella lot of walking!
Are you enjoying these in-depth posts or would you prefer them shorter? I know I always prefer things with lots of pictures and detail, but interested to know whether that’s the same for everyone else?