Day 2 we woke up, ate breakfast and headed for Batu Caves. For the trip I used places and points of interest that my Uncle recommended from his recent visit to Malaysia, as well as my, “36 Hours Travel Guide” published by Time.
Ever since viewing the photos that my Uncle sent me, I was memorized by Batu Caves, Tamil: பத்து மலை. I knew it had to be on our list to see and do. Luis was our faithful driver and tour guide, he had already seen and done Batu Caves, but decided to join us anyways. All 272 steps up and all 272 steps back down.
In doing some research I learned that, the cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. The limestone forming Batu Caves is estimated to be around 400 million years old. Some of the cave entrances were used as shelters by the indigenous Temuan people a tribe of Orang Asli. To be honest even looking at the photos now I couldn’t get over how small the place made me feel. The cave and steps leading up to it are just massive and endless.
Fortunately because my Uncle had recently visited, he let us in on the secret that once you climb up the first set of steps you might think that you are done, but ohhh no you are not…there are three more sets to climb if you want to get into the entire cave to see it all. I wished I would have remembered to grab my Fitbit off the charger before we had left S.Korea because I know we killed it on steps that day.
Outside of the Cave there the world’s tallest statue of Murugan, a Hindu deity. The status stands 140 ft and cost approximately 24 million Malaysian rupees. Murugan is made of 1550 cubic meters of concrete, 250 tons of steel bars and 300 liters of gold paint brought in from neighboring Thailand. WOW! Again with the feeling ever so small standing below or beside this status on the steps.
In respecting the Batu Caves Temples as a religious place of worship, there is a dress code to follow. Basically anything above the knee is not acceptable. Certainly not my white shorts that match my freakishly tall white legs. I had to pay a small fee to borrow a wrap to cover my legs to be permitted up the steps of the Cave. Once I got back I returned the wrap and was given my fee back.
We took multiple photos of the monkeys that live at the Batu Caves. Let me tell you, these monkeys have a prime setup with all of the tourist in and out of the caves. These little guys look so cute, but in reality these things are crazy! They swoop down so fast and grab anything that you’ve got in your hands. Bags, cameras, food, flowers, all fair game for the monkeys. We witnessed one monkey trying to take a yellow bag from a women and her husband as they tried to leave the caves. The woman made a huge commotion while flailing her arms and yelling, “NO!”. We then saw a small child with her parents carrying food that the monkeys immediately took without any hesitations. I read afterwards that these monkeys can be quite territorial and visitors needed to watch for biting. Again I read this afterwards. HA-HA so if you are visiting now you know before hand.
Whew! That’s ALOT of steps! Do you think you’d make it up them?