We are back and very much BOLDER! At Backpackies we once again bring you the wackiest reviews on the many attractions in Kuala Lumpur. (Also known as KL in short to the locals)
At backpackies we painstakingly take the pictures, do the writeup, go home, compile, bullshit and come up with a blog like this so when you read it. You go “Wow, this is awesome”!. So please do bloody read it and comment!
Whats so attractive about a bunch of 400 million year old lime rock you ask?
We are here to find out.
This series of lime stone caves in Batu Caves is an Indian temple dedicated to Lord Muruga,a popular Hindu deity among Tamil Hindus. He is known as the God of War and patron deity of Tamil Nadu. The founder of this temple was inspired by the “vel” shaped entrance of the main cave. He decided to build and dedicate this temple to Lord Muruga. Back in the 1920’s, when the temple was first built, wooden steps were used to go up to the Main Temple. This was then replaced with the 272 concrete steps.
For more reading information on this place please read Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur
We will touch on how to get to Batu Caves towards the end of this blog (as its such a pain in the ass, getting here on a budget and using the public transport)
Get here before 7.30am as it starts to get unbearably hot after that. This shot below of the main gate was taken around 7.45am. Plus if you reach here earlier, you beat the bus loads of tourists. So you get to explore the entire temple and caves at your own pace.
Batu caves is one of the most popular Hindu Shrine outside of India. The name “Batu Caves” was derived from the name of the river behind it called “Sungai Batu” or Batu River.
These caves rise almost 150 m above the ground, Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, has a 100 m-high ceiling, and features ornate Hindu shrines. To reach it, you need to climb the steep flight of 272 steps. At the base of the Main Cave is the Art Cave and the Museum Cave. These caves showcases some Hindu Statues and Paintings. Most of these paintings and statues tell the story of the victory of Lord Muragan over the demon Soorapadman.
To the left of the “almost vertical” staircase is another lime stone out crop. Walking there you will pass a huge 60 foot high Hanuman Statue (Monkey God) on a small temple on the left and another bigger temple to the right. The smaller cave seemed to be closed. We later found out that this cave was known as the Ramayana Cave. It was supposed to contain pictures and graphic statues telling the chronicles of Rama. When we checked, it was shamefully full of rubbish and the upkeep was obviously terrible.
In ancient times, these cave entrances were used as shelters by the indigenous Temuan people (a tribe of Orang Asli). Now rubbish takes shelter in this cave? The temple commitee should do something about this. It is a potential tourist attraction.
The picture below is the bigger temple opposite the Hanuman Temple. You are allowed observe the prayers,take pictures, pay respects and even donate at the donation box. You will need to take off your shoes at the steps.One more thing we forgot to tell you is, LEAVE YOUR NIKE’S back home. People here will come with a broken slipper and end up going back with a leather PUMA. You get the drift. Wear only the broken slippers your mother threw away.
Somehow, “feeding the pigeons” seems to be an activity on its own. We saw a few families buying bread crumbs and rice to feed them.
The golden Lord Muruga Statue is the tallest Lord Muruga Statue in the world. It stands at 42.7m (140.09 feet ) high and was unveiled in January 2006. It took 3 years to construct.
Plenty of people have asked us whether the steps are dangerous to climb and whether it is hard for older people to climb it. we must admit, the steps are a bit steep so it is safer to hold on to the hand rails. There are resting stops (wider slabs of concrete) separating the many steps. These are great for older people to stop climbing and rest in between. As you are reaching the top, the overhanging stalagmites and stalactites are pretty impressive when you look up at it.
These steps used to be made of wood back in the olden days before it was renovated.
Along the steps up and also inside the caves, are a gang of monkeys. They have grown pretty big sized (from all those fatty stolen food) due to tourist’s voluntary and involuntary donations. Take care of your bags and make sure you don’t have any plastic bags exposed or carry anything that looks like food. For they will go ahead and grab it from you. Trust me, they aren’t afraid of a little shout.
Looking back after your climb up, you can see the entire town below. It is an amazing sight.
For all you “Rocky Wannabes” the temple gates at the top of the stairs is as far as you get. No more jogging and exercise beyond this point. (Due to the fact that plenty of people come here to train and exercise in the mornings). And no victory shouting when you make it to the top of the stairs please! 😀
The caves can be a little wet due to the rain and fresh water from the mountains. So watch your cameras and other stuff you don’t want to get wet properly. Inside the caves are colourful indian god statues decorating the inside of the cave.
There are some stalls selling ugly souvenirs and junk food (which are normally used to feed the monkeys)
There is a huge opening in the middle of the big cave. When it rains, the water that flows down the cave walls form tiny crystals against the sun light. Wonderful!
In the last cave, there is like a high vertical wall chimny-ing to the top. Another group of monkeys live here. They seem to be the star of the show here. Everybody seems to be taking pictures of them.
Batu Caves receives millions of tourist and devotees from around the world here. The biggest celebrations here is the Thaipusam. Read more on Thaipusam . Celebrations are usually held in January or February
Getting to the Caves. Is a pain in the ass. There are direct taxis to the Caves, but they wont go unless you agree to a crazy price of RM 40. Getting to the caves, you can always hail a metered taxi which will cost you around Rm 16 one way. Once you are there, you are at the mercy of the taxi bandits. If you don’t agree on the price, just walk away. You can also walk out to the main road and hail a cab there.
The other way of getting here is by bus. You can take the 11/11d Buses from Bangkok Bank Terminal (Near to Puduraya Terminal) or Bus U6 from Titiwangsa. This is the longest method of coming. The other down side is that there are plenty of bus stops. And the route aint scenic at all.
Recently there is a new KTM service that connects Batu Caves to KL Sentral. Hooray you would think. God damn! You need to note down the timing of the train. Also, don’t be in a hurry to board it. (It doesn’t leave on time).
We ran for the train seeing that it had arrived. The station master told us that the train wont be leaving for another 45 minutes. So we sit and wait (disgruntled). When it was time to get on the train, we did. #!%^#$. The train took 1 hour to reach KL Sentral. The only comfort is probably the comfortable seats compared to the bus. And it is also cheaper than the taxi.
Best time to witness Batu Caves in full action is during the Thaipusam Festival. Check to see when it is held. This place will be filled with thousands of Hindu devotees from around the world. So expect it to get really packed and sweaty.
So heed our warnings and we pray you have a safe and enjoyable trip! For more free backpacking tips, do visit us on www.backpackies.com or if you have a facebook account, do add us on BACKPACKIES IS NOW ON FACEBOOK.
Till then see ya!