Batu Caves just outside Kuala Lumpur Malaysia are a fascinating place, which I like to visit. The cave is probably the most famous and popular Tamil shrine outside India. I have been there a few times. The Gods know I am not religious, but I am interested in cultures, their roots and history. I can sit in a church the same way and meditate as I can enjoy the glory of a mosque, the Buddhist monasteries I visited and the fascinating statues of an Indian Temple. These are places like a lonely beach, an hour diving in blue water doing nothing, or going for a walk through a ancient forest. Therefore, the Batu Caves are just extremely exciting to me. They combine magnificent nature with the Indian/Tamil spirituality, which I still don’t know enough about.
Getting from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves
In this video I take you from the center of Kuala Lumpur with public transports all the way to the awesome tourist spot. Follow me along while I am getting from Bukit Bintang via Monorail to KL Sentral, and from there with the MTR directly to the Batu Caves. All that for less than US$2 in under 1 hour.
Usually you ask at a tour desk at your Hotel or a taxy driver will offer you a “great bargain”. The first may make sense, if you book a whole day trip and get to multiple locations, the second is a pure rip-off as you can expect to pay about 200 Ringit, just for a guy driving you there and back. You can do the same for 20 Ringit, both ways, that is roughly 4 US$. And trust me, it won’t take any longer, unless you miss a train and need to wait an hour. But an hour stand-still can happen in the rush-hour in KL in a taxi too.
The Hotel of my choice, Hotel Ambassador is in the center of Kuala Lumpur. While that is a perfect stay for budget traveler, I simply like it because of the perfect location with a lot oftourist spots of KL in walking distance, like the KL Tower or the Petronas Towers, but also many Malls and with Jalan Alor, a great street-food location.
It is just a 2-minute walk from the hotel to the monorail station AirAsia Bukit Bintang. For 2,50 Ringit it brings you to KL Sentral. It is about 10 minutes,maybe 15. That is the central transportation hub where all lines come together. As a matter of Fact, it is a huge shopping mall, where the entrances to the commuter trains are somewhere between a myriad of shops. It may appear a bit confusing at first, but there are many signs for directions, and a lot of friendly people at information desks, or guards, which will point you in the right direction.
The MTR station from where one can go direct to Batu Caves is somewhere in the middle of all. But it is no rocket-science to follow the signs. A ticket costs something like 6.50 Ringit, equivalent to US$1.5. The trains leave each hour just before the full hour. The ride takes about 40 minutes. Batu Caves is the last MTR station on that line, so you can’t miss it. My advice would be to buy the token for the trip back right away, before going to the actual site. That safes you the falling in line for the trip back. I almost missed my ride back, as I all token machines were not working, and the line at the cash-counter was so long, that I needed around 20 minutes to get my token for the ride back and I got on the train a few seconds before the doors closed. The guys behind me in the line did not make it and had to wait an hour longer for the next train back to KL Sentral, or wherever they need to jump off.
What to expect at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur
If you are not familiar with Hinduism, it may appear a little bit strange. The Indian gods seem for many eyes a little bit weird, maybe even brutal and evil. Also the extreme colors the gods and temples are kept. If you are not only going for “been there – done that” reasons, it is not hard to spent 4 hours there. Climb up the 300+ steps to the cave. It is written 272 steps in all tour guides. That is true right to the cave entrance. But then are plenty of more steps right after the entrance. Enjoy the playful monkeys all over the place, but keep your belongings close, they are fast to grasp things, and off they go. The cave is big, but not spectacular. At the other side of the cave is a opening in the ceiling where the sunlight shines bright on an altar if you visit there around lunch-time.
Food at Batu Caves
After going down again, have a rest in one of the excellent Indian Restaurants on the left side next to the souvenir shops. They serve excellent tasty vegetarian food. I have no idea what I ordered, but I was so stuffed and could not stop eating. One was a kind of fresh baked naan bread with 4 different sauces or dips, which were all different and I would simply pay real money for if I could get that in Dumaguete. The other one was some veggie-curry, with cucumber salad and 2 different dips and sauces, served with a boat-load of rice. I even enjoyed the rice, as it saw corny and fluffy, not watery tasteless cooked to death rice, which is what the rice in the Philippines is, having the only purpose to fill the stomach, but do nothing for the taste. And, you can trust me… I am a sworn in carnivore, if I say vegetarian food is good, it means something!
What else to do and to see at Batu Caves
On the way to the train station is another small cave with some nice figurines and scenes from the Hindu-culture. While I have no idea what that all mend, I simply enjoyed it. While the religious big caves are free to visit, this cave with the exhibitions costs a few Ringit, but I can’t recall exactly what is was, it was not a lot and worth the visit. There is also a outdoor garden, with fountains and little bridges. On the side of that is s little performance area, where a few times a day a 30-minute cultural show is performed. It is not a huge attraction, but a nice add-on to the complete package. As it is not the main attraction, and most people going to Batu Caves for the main caves, you may have a great time there, just enjoying the beauty and view of each and everything, for another hour or so. At least I did!
The way back from from Batu Caves to KL was exactly the other way around, as the “Getting to”.
Sadly, my battery went flat and it started pouring down, like there is no tomorrow, so I had to shortcut my trip a little bit. However, I still had the chance to get some great shots of the surroundings and the cool Indian Temples there, with a decent light.
For this video above, I used a GoPro Hero7 Black with a SANDMARK Pole selfie-stick (which I can also use for diving) and a chest strap, when just walking around.