One of the top tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are the Batu Caves and are a must-see for anyone who comes to the city. Located just 13km from downtown Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves are easily accessible and simply magnificent. There are lots of tour operators that run half-day trips to the Caves, but I decided to not waste my money on them. The problem with tours is that they rush you around the caves and are more interested in taking you to handicraft shops where they can earn some commission. Therefore, I chose to take a trip to the caves on my own.
There are 272 grueling and leg-burning steps that take us to the cave entrances and the statue stands guard to them. As I walked up the steps, I was quite entertained by a tribe of monkeys and took some great pictures as well. Once I had done the climb, I arrived at the main cave, which is called the Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave. It is quite massive and boasts a high vaulted ceiling but, the first thing I noticed was a towering golden statue of Lord Murugan. The statue was erected in 2006 and is the largest in the world that was dedicated to this deity. I didn’t have to pay any entry fee for visiting the Temple Cave, but there were collection boxes for making donations.
The second main attraction is halfway up the stairs and is called the Dark Cave. I found this cave to be a bit more adventurous as it was both educational and scientific. However, the problem is that the cave can only be visited with a guide and is not open all the time. It is said that this cave is home to the world’s rarest spider called the Trapdoor Spider and also an ancient animal community, which can be dated back to 100 million years.
The educational tour was about 45 minutes long. Headlamps and helmets were provided and some interesting rock formations were pointed out. There were also plenty of bats inside and it is better to avoid shining the light directly at them. There is also the Adventure Tour and I had booked it in advance, as per the requirement. This is about 3 to 4 hours long and involves scaling rock faces, getting wet and squeezing through small pot holes. I took suitable clothing along for it. There is some part of the Dark Cave that was off-limits because it has been preserved as a conservation site.
If you don’t want to see the Dark Cave and don’t want to climb 227 steps, you can always check out the Cave Villa. This lies at the bottom of the limestone hill and an entrance fee has to be paid. Over a carp pool, there are is a crooked bridge that I had to cross and it brought me to two more caves. These contain statues and paintings of characters from Hindu mythology and Indian poets, all looking bright under the colored lights illuminating the caves. There was also glass display tanks in one of the caves that were full of reptiles such as snakes.
The Ramayana Cave is also a major attraction, which is on the left side. As the name indicates, it revolves around the Hindu Ramayana and is decorated with scenes and statues pertaining to it. Colorful lights and fancy displays have made it a kind of Hindu theme park. A separate fee is charged for visiting this cave.
I also had some Indian curry and coconut juice from one of the restaurants there, all vegetarian as it is a Hindu temple. It was an educational trip and one I would recommend to all.