When you have only two days in Kuala Lumpur, you have to pick your spots. For me and countless visitors to the Malaysian capital, though, a quick side trip to the Batu Caves is a must-do. A Hindu temple, impressively set within a cavernous limestone cliff, protected by a shimmering 140-foot gold statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan, with mischievous macaque monkeys roaming around trying to pilfer your snacks… it’s a no-brainer, right?
Getting to the Batu Caves
Another great thing about the Batu Caves is how convenient and cheap it is to get there from the central parts of Kuala Lumpur. On the city’s efficient KTM Komuter rail, it’s an easy 30-minute ride from KL Sentral to the Batu Caves station, and the one-way fare is 2.60 Malaysian ringgit, which is about 65 cents US. From there, a short walk lands you right at the gold-coated feet of Lord Murugan.
On the other side of the coin, I should mention that it’s 272 steps up to the main Temple Cave entrance. These steps will definitely present a challenge to some and may be a deal-breaker to others—pace yourself and rest when you need to. Solid workout though—activate those glutes and feel the burn.
The aforementioned macaque monkeys are a wily bunch. It is fun to watch them scamper around and I appreciated the challenge of trying to catch them in fleeting moments of stillness. But hold on to your valuables (i.e., food). Better yet, hide it, consume it or don’t bring it.
Inside the Batu Caves
After the climb, you’ll come upon the entrances to the caves. The main cave, known as the Temple Cave or Cathedral Cave, is free to enter (they do take donations). As you catch your breath from those 272 steps, you can marvel at the cave’s vaulted ceiling and stalactites.
There are several other cave experiences with varying admission costs. I didn’t venture to any of them, but this Batu Caves primer from Malaysia Traveller provides the skinny on these other options.
Not surprisingly, there’s more monkey business inside the caves, though this macaque seems to be over it.
You’ll come across various Hindu altars and statues along the way. I particularly liked the silhouettes created by these statues that are sitting on a ledge near the Temple Cave entrance.
Larger-than-life Lord Murugan
The Lord Murugan statue is truly larger than life and quite an impressive sight to behold.
Marking the entrance to the Ramayana Cave is a 50-foot statue of another Hindu deity, Lord Hanuman. Also larger than life.