By Wei Jian Chua — Fancy a trip to Kuala Lumpur? Batu Caves is surely an attraction that you would not want to miss. I cannot believe that of all my 27 years living in Malaysia, I have never been to Batu Caves until last week! It was an impromptu trip with my cousin who flew all the way from New Zealand for a short vacation here in Malaysia.
Exploring Batu Caves
Batu Caves got its name from the Batu River that flows past the limestone hill. It is a well-known pilgrimage site for Hindus in the region, especially Australia, India and Singapore. Besides being a religious site, Batu Caves is also popular among rock climbers. There are more than 150 climbing trails starting from the ground level near Damai caves, the northeastern side of the compound.
Tip #1: Decent dress code is advised
As Batu Caves houses a Hindu Temple, no shorts or miniskirts are allowed. A casual T-shirt and jeans will do the job.
9 am: Start our journey to conquer hundreds of steps
We took an early KTM Komuter Train from KL Sentral to Batu Caves Station. As we headed out of the station, we were greeted by the shining golden statue of Lord Murugan, towering at 43m above us and right behind the statue was the famous 272-step “Stairway to Heaven”.
Do you know that the Lord Murugan Statue is the second tallest Hindu deity statue in the world?
The 272 steps might look daunting at first, but it truly wasn’t. We had lots of fun taking photos and selfies as we worked our way up. There was also an artificial waterfall on the left side of the stairway.
Tip #2: Beware of cheeky monkeys
There are a lot of monkeys roaming wildly at Batu Caves especially along the stairway. Although not aggressive, they are notorious for snatching things away from tourists. Keep your shiny jewellery and watches safe!
As we approached the peak, we were awestruck by the spectacular view of the limestone cave. The cave chamber was massive! Further in, there was another flight of stairs which led us to the sacred temple of Batu Caves. It is an actual temple where Hindus regularly congregate despite being a major tourist attraction. There was a huge cave opening right above the temple which allowed natural light to shine on it. A remarkable sight indeed!
After spending a full hour admiring such majestic work of nature, we decided to call it a day. As we made our way down, we noticed a separate pathway on our right leading to one “Dark Cave”. We have never heard of this Dark Cave before and thank god we did not give it a miss as it turned out to be the highlight of our trip!
Tip #3: Take the Dark Cave Tour especially if you are a nature lover
The Dark Cave Tour is a 40-minute guided tour which cost RM25 for locals and RM35 for foreigners at the time of our visit.
We were guided by an amiable and knowledgeable young lady into the cave caverns. Everyone on the tour was given a mini torchlight as we explored in pitch black darkness. The tour explained the Guano Ecosystem of the cave and its internal geological formation. If you are a nature lover, you must not miss this hidden gem!
Where to Stay
We ended up spending the entire morning at Batu Caves before heading back to our hotel. We stayed at Ahyu Hotel which is just a stone’s throw away from Masjid Jamek LRT Station at the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. This affordable boutique hotel is new, clean and has decent staff service. It is also amazingly value-for-money if you are travelling in pairs or with a group of friends.
For solo travellers, I’d like to recommend The Bed KLCC, an awesome pod hotel that I’ve stayed before.
Getting to Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur
Klang Valley Public Subway Integrated Map / Source / www.mymrt.com.my)
Getting to Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur is very straightforward. You can either book a cab (or Uber/Grab Car) from your hotel or take public transport like we did. As our hotel is located just a few minutes walk away from Masjid Jamek LRT Station, we took an LRT from Masjid Jamek to KL Sentral (Line 5 in the map above) and transferred to the KTM Komuter Seremban Line (Line 2 in the map above) to Batu Caves Station. I am really impressed by the integrated subway network around Klang Valley as it makes touring around Kuala Lumpur so much easier than in the past.
The journey to Batu Caves was indeed an eye-opening experience for me. I have never realised the beauty that KL has besides all the skyscrapers and theme parks. Do read up a bit about Batu Caves history before you head there to better understand its magnificence.