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Top Things to Do and See in Malaysia - Visit The Batu Caves
How to get there
The Batu Caves are located about twelve kilometres from the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Giant stalactites and stalagmites are found inside the caverns of a huge limestone hill that was formed over 400 million years ago in the district of Gombak near Kuala Lumpur.
The Batu Caves destination is a popular tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur. It is also a place of worship and a cultural place for the Indian and Hindu people in Malaysia. Several shrines and temples have been established inside the caves.
There are several ways to get to this local attraction: by car, train and taxi. The cheapest mode is by train. There is a direct train from KL Sentral Railway Station to the Batu Caves Station, the fare is cheap as chips, only a couple of ringgit (Malaysian currency) per person. The journey takes about 40-45 minutes. The caves' location is only a short walk from the train station.
A religious site
The Batu Caves site is dedicated to the Hindu god called Lord Murugan. A gigantic statue of Lord Murugan located at the entrance of the Batu Caves can be seen from the highway that runs parallel to this famous stretch of limestone formation. The golden statue was completed in 2006 and stands at a height of over 42 metres. It is made of concrete and steel bars.
The Hindu festival of Thaipusam is celebrated here in January or February every year. Thousands of visitors and Hindu worshippers from other parts of the world flock to this pilgrimage site during Thaipusam to either witness or participate in the religious ceremony.
Fun things to do
There are many interesting stalls outside the Batu Caves, selling food and drinks, toys, souvenirs, Indian fashion items and Hindu religious items.
Beautiful garlands of flowers are part of the traditional Indian culture. These fragrant garlands are worn by the Hindus during worship ceremonies and other festivities.
Henna art body painting is popular among the Indian women during religious ceremonies, weddings and other important occasions. The henna dye is made from plant materials. Unlike tattoo ink, the henna dye is not a permanent ink and will disappear after a week. There is a henna art stall near the entrance of the caves that offers beautiful body painting for a small fee.
A Hindu temple is located near the entrance of the Batu Caves. All footwear must be removed before entering the temple.
Hundreds of rock pigeons wander around the courtyard in front of the temple and cave entrance.
Experiencing the caves
Entry to the caves is free but visitors can make a voluntary donation in one of the donation boxes provided.
The most interesting (or challenging) part of the Batu Caves tour is climbing the steps to get to the caves. The steps were originally made of wood but they have been replaced with the existing concrete steps. There are a lot of steps to climb to get to the caves in this enchanting limestone hill. A long stairway consisting of 272 steps is not too difficult for those with good health conditions. Comfortable shoes, a sunhat and a bottle of water are essential items to have on a stinking hot day!
Some of the steps get narrower and steeper towards the top. There are numerous landings along the way for those who want to catch a breath or enjoy the view of Kuala Lumpur in the distance.
Watch out for the monkeys!
Wild monkeys inhabit the surrounding areas of the caves. Many visitors are excited to see monkeys leaping from one pole to another right in front of them or over their heads. Occasionally, an unsuspecting visitor who has a fear of monkeys will freak out and scream at the sight of a baby monkey.
Some visitors may think the monkeys are there to "meet-and-greet" the people, but in reality, these animals are on the lookout for any food the people may have to offer them. Monkeys are territorial in nature and they tend to be aggressive at times. They will snatch anything that looks attractive to them, like snacks, fruits and even mobile phones and small cameras! The monkeys will attack and bite if provoked! Avoid feeding or touching these monkeys. It is best to ignore them and watch the steps in front of you.
Climbing the steps
Along the way going up to the caves, there is a landing on the left that leads to the Dark Cave. Access to the Dark Cave is restricted as the Malaysian government wants to preserve the untouched caverns that are found in the two-kilometre network of natural formations in the Dark Cave area.
Visitors can enter the Dark Cave on a guided tour at a designated time by purchasing tickets from the information booth outside the Batu Caves.
After climbing countless number of steps, you will find yourself totally out of breath and standing at the entrance of the biggest cave called the Ramayana Cave. After so much effort to get up here, the limestone formation looks huge and totally amazing.
Upon entering the cave, you will be mesmerised by the size of the Ramayana Cave. The gigantic cave is well lit and the atmosphere inside the cave is serene and cool as compared to the hot and humid temperatures outside.
As this is a religious place, it is advisable to treat the caves and worshippers with respect. Try not to make too much noise or leave any rubbish around. There are several shrines where there will be worshippers praying to their gods. Statues of Hindu gods can be seen in various areas in the caves as well as carvings on the limestone walls.
There are more steps to climb within the large cavern. The steps lead to a few smaller caves behind the main cave. There are many amazing rock formations, stalagmites and stalactites in the different caves.
It was a rewarding experience and descending the steps was much easier when leaving the Batu Caves!
Have you been to the Batu Caves?
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