Travel Destinations

Kuala Lumpur: Batu Caves – The World with Her

Imposing statue of the God Murugan

A typical visit, which is not essential, on a trip to Kuala Lumpur is the one that takes place at Batu Caveson the outskirts of KUL, 13 kilometers from the center.

Batu Caves
View from the entrance to the main cave

On the visit to the Batu Caves is used approximately half a day because, to reach them by train, it takes about 30 minutes plus waiting for it, which passes approximately once every 15 or 30 minutes.

Kuala Lumpur Public Transport
KOMUTER KL Sentral Platform Batu Caves

Those of us who publish in blogs usually illustrate our entrance to the Batu Caves with the gigantic statue of the figure of the God Murugan that guards the caves and has become their iconic figure.

We talked about its importance for Hinduism, its steps, the monkeys that inhabit it, the Thaipusan Festival, etc. So we all collaborate in creating a need for the traveler to have to visit them when traveling to Kuala Lumpur, but nobody talks, or almost nobody talks, about the interior of the caves, the neglect in maintaining them, and how disappointing they are. they can become.

So, since we are not in possession of the absolute truth and, furthermore, there are part of the Batu Caves that can be interesting, the only recommendation that we are going to make is that you read the opinion of different travelers to end up deciding if it is worth spending half a day of your trip to visit them; although I already warn that, in these decisions about whether or not to visit a site, we are very stubborn and prefer to check first-hand what we have read about a place in order to form an accurate value judgment. Sometimes it has been very good for us.

Largest cave Batu Caves
Interior of the Cathedral Cave

The name of Batu that the caves receive comes from the nearby river Sungei Batu or “Rocky River”. The mountains that house the Caves of Batu they are 400 million years old and many, many years ago, their hollows served as a refuge for the first inhabitants of the peninsula. Later, and being the habitat for hundreds of bats, the first farmers who arrived from China collected the guano from the caves to use it as fertilizer.

But until the end of the 19th century, the Caves of Batu They were just that: some caves that housed human settlements, had a different flora and fauna and were far from the city in the middle of the jungle. Then a wealthy Indian merchant arrived and decided to turn them into a Hindu religious site dedicated to the god of war Murugan. So, it is from 1892, when the Caves of Batu they became what they are today: a religious place of the first order that hosts one of the most important celebrations in Tamil: The Thaipusam.

God Murugan Statue
Stairway up to the Cueva Catedral

Surely you have seen somewhere images of Hindus who pierce their bodies with steel rods and pierce their backs with metal hooks from which hang strings that pull them, leaving the skin in a rare balance between fervor, masochism and collapse. That’s him Thaipusam Festival which is celebrated by the Tamil Hindus between the months of January and February in places like Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. It is the ceremonial sacrifice and the offering of the devotees to the god Murugan with which they return to him the favors they have received throughout the year.

Most important Hindu temple outside of India
Hindu rituals inside the Batu Caves
Kuala Lumpur Hindu Temple
Hindu temple inside the Batu Caves

In 1920, the staircase, originally made of wood, was replaced by the concrete and its 272 steps of today. And, finally, in 2006, the imposing statue of the God Murugan was located, which today presides over the complex. The statue, which is 42 meters tall, is the tallest Murugan owns in the world.

Stairs Batu Caves
The 292 that lead to the largest cave of the Batu Caves

the caves of Batu They are a set of caves, although most visitors only access the main one, the Cathedral Cave, which is reached by climbing the endless staircase. It’s the one with the big golden statue at its entrance.

caves of malaysia
Impressive Batu Caves

The expectations placed on this cave are high; I don’t know if it’s because of the length of the climb, because the blogs talk about its 100-meter height, its holes in the rock that let the sunlight peek through, the long-tailed monkeys that crouch throughout the visit to see if they steal some food, or the Buddhist temples inside. But, the truth is that the entrails of the cave can be somewhat disappointing – and I am being very, very correct. The lower part of some walls is painted in green or blue, simulating baseboards of old plastic paint; there is rubble piled up in some corners, the electrical installation is exposed and, finally, we can find monkey poop, pigeon poop and bat guano, as well as plastic bottles, paper, fruit peels, empty coconuts,… nonsense of cleanliness and order, go.

Batu Caves
Interior of the Cathedral Cave
Animals Batu Caves
Dozens of monkeys inhabit the caves

But the Cueva Catedral is not the only one that can be visited. And it is here, where the true interest of the Batu lies. Going up the stairs, to the left, is the dark cave, the dark cave, whose entrance costs RM35 for adults (€7) and RM25 (€5) for children. They say that what is interesting about this place are the creatures that inhabit the depths of the earth. This site is the habitat of a rare species of spider called Liphistius batuensisa living fossil, but you can also find centipedes, bats and countless other creatures that live in extreme conditions of darkness and humidity.

Visits Batu Caves
Dark Cave

You do not need a prior reservation to enter, although the average waiting time is half an hour, after which, when a group is gathered, a guide provides you with a helmet and flashlight and begins a 45-minute view of the depths of the Earth.

abyssal animals
Exhibition of beings found inside the caves

In this same cave, another tour “adventure” that lasts between 3 and 4 hours and costs 80 RM (16€).

Closed and dark places make me feel a bit overwhelmed, even more so if you start to sweat when you enter them, so I cannot give my opinion about visiting the dark cave; although it is true that all the opinions I have read about this visit are very positive and, in general, the same ones who show their complaints about the main cave speak wonders about this visit.

Visit inside Batu Caves
Entrance to the Dark Cave

At the base of the Cueva Catedral there are other smaller temples. The best of them is ramayana cavejust at the exit of the roofed part of the subway, to the left, behind the figure of the Hanuman monkey god. You have to pay 5 RM (1€) to enter, but its interior -dedicated to Rama- is richly decorated with paintings, sculptures and an imposing figure of the reclining god. Also, a short walk along a bridge over a pond full of turtles and fish, takes us to Valluvar Kottam and the Caves of the Art Galleries. The cave walls of Vallutvar Kottam they are covered with statues, inscriptions and murals. In this cave there is a sculpture of a five-legged bull. They say that it once existed, but that its owner gave “this monster” to the temple where it roamed freely among a harem of cows.

God Hanuman
God Hanuman, Batu Caves
Access Batu Caves
Exterior Batu Caves
Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Hindu temples in the Batu Caves

The exterior of the caves is full of itinerant stalls and “without ambulating” of food, drinks and souvenirs.

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur
Stalls at the Batu Caves
Eat at the Batu Caves
Street vending in the Batu Caves

The visit to the caves, except for the cases mentioned, is free and the hours are from 06:00 am to 09:00 pm. The dark caveHowever, it is open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on weekends from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

How to Get to Batu Caves

How to get to the Batu Caves
Information Panel KOMUTER to the Batu Caves

To get to the Batu Cavesthe most comfortable way is to take the KOMUTER (KTM) -train- whose departure header is in KL Sentraly ends at the station Batu Caves. The price is 2.50 RM (0.50€) each way. To save time, you can also go on LRT (Monorail) to the station Putra and there take the Komuter; or even take a taxi there. But you can also get to Batu Caves by car, taxi and public bus.

Easiest way to get to the Batu Caves
KTM Komuter KL Sentral – KUL

The buses that arrive until Batu Caves they are the 11 / 11d that is caught in Bangkok Bank Terminus, Jalan Tun(near Puduraya Terminus); Cityliner Bus Servicesbus number 69, from the HSBC Bank Bus Station in Leboh Ampang (near LRT station Masjid Jamek) or the U6 bus from Titiwangsa. The 11d bus also passes through Central Market and 69 by Jalan Pudu.

And one last thing! Do not forget to carry a “rebequita” in your backpack. On public transport in KUL the air conditioning is on full blast and, on the way back, after having sweated a lot during the visit and the climb to the Cueva Catedral, the journey becomes very long with really low temperatures.

Remember that you can also watch our video on the Batu Caves.

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