One of our first adventures when we arrived in Malaysia was none other than visiting Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. One of Malaysia’s top tourist destinations, Batu Caves was the perfect way to jumpstart our trip.
You can check out our vlog above where we explore Batu Caves (0:28 – 3:30), or keep reading below to learn more!
What the heck is Batu Caves?
If you’re a Malaysia connoisseur, skip this part, but if you’re just starting to do trip research, you might be wondering what Batu Caves is, and whether or not it’s worth adding it to your trip itinerary.
Batu Caves is a series of caves that reside in a limestone hill located about 13 km north of KL. This cave system is not only a popular tourist attraction, but is also a place of Hindu worship – with many Hindu statues, shrines, and offerings throughout.
Getting to the Top:
At the base of the cave is a giant golden statue of Lord Murugan (Hindu god of war), and right behind it is a long set of stairs that lead you up to the cave entrance. The steps are definitely doable, but shouldn’t be underestimated.
There are only 272 steps, but they are pretty steep. We feel like we’re in good shape and are used to climbing/walking, but we were both out of breath by the time we got to the top!
What we appreciated about the steps is that we were able to stop every once in a while, and look back at the amazing view of Kuala Lumpur below. It was definitely impressive, and an awesome shot of the city on a clear day.
Inside the Caves:
We went earlier in the morning, so the only cave that was open to the public was the main cave, or Cathedral Cave (it’s also called the Temple Cave). At the mouth of the Cathedral Cave, there were hundreds of birds swarming around, which only added to the mysteriousness of it.
Right as we entered, we saw a few Hindu statues, and as we walked down the first set of stairs into the cave, we noticed many people gathering to pray and worship at one of the shrines. If you want to join in, be prepared to take off your shoes.
As we walked through the cave, we reached another set of stairs that brought us up to what I feel is the most beautiful part of this tourist destination, and probably one of the main reasons why it attracts so many people each day; the natural skylight.
For me, this was worth every one of the 272 steps to the top.
Let’s talk about the Monkeys:
A friend of mine visited Kuala Lumpur only about a month before we went, and after looking at her pictures, I knew that we couldn’t see Batu Caves without also seeing wild monkeys.I’m not sure if it was the time of day that we went, but we didn’t encounter any until we were inside of the cave.
According to Hinduism, monkeys are sacred and are the physical form of Lord Hanuman. Because of this, they’re free to roam the caves and are well taken care of. The monkeys of Batu Caves are wild, but aren’t afraid to get close if you happen to bring food.
The Dress Code:
Something I didn’t take into account when packing for our trip to Malaysia was the dress code at most religious sites. I knew that August weather would be hot and humid, so I packed a lot of short dresses and shorts, and all of my shirts were either short sleeved or sleeveless.
Women: No short pants or dresses – if your shorts or dress are above the knee, you won’t be allowed to enter the cave. Short sleeved shirts are allowed.
Men: For men, there really isn’t a dress code, but if you want to enter any of the temples inside the cave, you have to wear long pants.
Thankfully, they do rent out wraps that you can wear into the cave at a really cheap price. The table with wraps sits right before you get to the steps, and there are “security guards” that make sure you’re wearing appropriate attire.
Unlike the free Cathedral Cave, visitors have to buy tickets to explore the Dark Cave. This cave was closed when we visited the cave site, but is something you should look into if you want to dive deeper into the cave system.
Discovered in 1878, the Dark Cave is home to the rarest spider in the world (the Trapdoor Spider), and showcases a wide variety of rock formations. The Dark Cave offers both adventure and educational tours, and is definitely something to consider if you have extra time to spare during your visit to Kuala Lumpur.
6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Free (except for the Dark Cave)
Scarf / Wrap Rentals: 5 RM (2 RM is refunded when you return the wrap)