Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia …



Hubby and I recently returned from 3 weeks travelling through various parts of Asia and our first stop was Kuala Lumpur (KL). We had previously visited KL about 15 years ago and decided to stopover for 3 nights on our way to Vietnam. As we had seen most of the sites on our last trip, we wanted to visit somewhere new and settled on the Batu Caves.


Taking their name from the Batu River that flows nearby, the Batu Caves can be found inside a large limestone hill which features 3 main caves and a series of smaller ones. It’s a very popular tourist attraction and is located approximately 13 kilometres from the heart of Kuala Lumpur.


On arrival, you’ll be greeted by a massive, majestic gold statue dedicated to Lord Murugan, a Hindu god of war. It was erected in 2006 and stands some 42 metres (or 140 feet) tall guarding the entrance.




Behind the statue is a long, steep staircase featuring 272 stairs which are painted in bright colours. It’s quite a climb to the top and don’t be surprised if you need to stop a couple of times on the way up to catch your breath. Once at the top, you’ll step through the mouth of the largest cave which resembles the shape of the head of a spear, into the main cavern called the Cathedral Cave, home to a sacred Hindu temple and shrines beneath a 100 metre high ceiling. On a lower level is Dark Cave but this is often closed to visitors and the third cave is called Ramayana Cave but we only visited the main cave. After you’ve spent some time exploring the cave, and before beginning your descent of the stairs, take a moment to enjoy a lovely view of the city.



We really enjoyed visiting the Batu Caves and here are a few tips:


  • Go early … to avoid the crowds, the heat and the humidity. Also, be aware that during the Hindu festival of Thaipusam (which will be celebrated some time in January/February to coincide with the full moon) numbers at the temple can swell to over one million people as devotees embark on a pilgrimage to the temple to celebrate and pray. Although the festival technically only lasts for a day, celebrations can commence many days before, with true devotees commencing preparations up to 48 days in advance. During this festival, you might witness worshipers piercing various parts of their bodies with skewers and hooks and others walking over nails or burning coals … all an act of devotion, sacrifice and penance. Those who participate will put themselves into a trance-like state with chanting and drums and report there is little bleeding or pain and that wounds heal quickly without scarring. I haven’t been at the Caves during this time but I would think it’s not for the faint-hearted, although it would be an amazing spectacle to see.




  • Consider your fitness level … it’s quite a climb to the top up 272 stairs … probably also not an ideal activity if you have any serious medical conditions.





  • Beware the monkeys … they are everywhere, darting amongst tourists and worshippers. They may look cute but they can be aggressive and cheeky! It’s not uncommon for them to snatch glasses from your head as well as anything in your hands, pockets or open bags … and these little guys are so good, they’d put the best pickpocket to shame! We weren’t afraid of them but we did heed some commonsense advice … don’t get too close (particularly for photos), don’t attempt to pat or cuddle them, don’t make unnecessary eye contact and don’t take any food with you as they will attempt to steal it.




  • Tip for the ladies … there is a dress code so, make sure your shoulders and knees are covered out of cultural respect. There are sarongs available for hire for a small fee if you do find yourself unprepared.



The Caves are open every day from 6.00 am until 11.00 pm. There is no cost for admission (but there are collection boxes where you can leave a donation) and they are relatively easy to get to. There’s no need to book an organised tour, which can be expensive. We simply booked a “Grab” (Malaysia’s version of Uber) and, from memory, it cost less than the equivalent of $5 Australian. Souvenirs and food are available in the courtyard area in front of the statue but we didn’t shop or eat there.



You can also catch the KTM Komuter train from KL Sentral. We caught the train back into the city once we’d finished exploring the Caves and it was relatively cheap and easy. Walking away from the entrance to the caves, turn right and walk maybe 100 metres to the Train Station.


So tell me, have you been to Kuala Lumpur and what is your favourite memory?