“Let’s just go there quickly to explore other places.”
I can still remember how Quennie and I talked about exploring the important places to explore in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We’re already on the city during that time, checked in at our temporary home; and the bedtime fast approaching.
We could’ve had almost 3 days to explore the whole city before taking a bus going to Singapore. The original reason why I chose Monday morning as our flight. Arriving to the city early, we’ll have more time to explore especially those places that we’re not able to visit the last time we came here; at least on my thoughts. But as usual, it didn’t went according to what’s planned.
Being at Manila airport as soon as 4 in the morning, flying for 4 hours, and commuting from KL airport to our accommodation including all the walking while carrying our respective backpacks and rolling our respective luggages in our hands seemed to have took a toll on us.
Arriving in our homestay at almost 2 in the afternoon, we decided to just rest “for a while” not knowing that we’ll wake up at almost 5 in the afternoon. Although KL and Manila share the same timezone, my wife and I were used to seeing the sky almost getting dark. But in the contrary, the sun is still up and is known to go down at 7 in the evening. Knowing that there’s really not that much time to do extensive exploring, we decided to hit the malls to take our dinner and do just some walk-arounds. We went to Sunway Putra first, which is just a walking distance from our residence and the very familiar KLCC Mall then arrived home at 11 PM.
Now technically, we only have less than 48 hours to explore the rest of what the city has to offer and can still change depending on which time we’ll be able to ride the bus going to Singapore.
What my wife and I were specifically talking about on the top paragraph was the Malaysia’s iconic Batu Caves.
WHAT ABOUT IT?
During the time I was looking for places to go in Malaysia particularly Kuala Lumpur, most blogs and travel guides that I read say that the Batu Caves is one of their must-visit places. Thus, including it into our list.
But let me say first that this place is technically not located in Kuala Lumpur. It’s situated in Gombak District at the State of Selangor located approximately 20 km Northwest of the Malaysian Capital.
My wife and I booked the ticket going to Kuala Lumpur and the return ticket from Singapore as part of our honeymoon travel scheduled one month after our wedding ceremony January of last year.
But days before that scheduled trip, we just found out that my wife was already several weeks pregnant back then. Leading us to tailor our trip into a more pregnant-friendly one: more convenient and less walking. We decided to ditch going here upon finding out that there’s 272 stairway steps we need to take. Of course I don’t want to risk nor endanger my wife’s pregnancy.
Fast forward, various events lead us to the same destination just this year’s lenten week. Determined to visit the cave we failed to visit back then. Although for another time, my wife and I, took ourselves behind the 8-ball again for being too laidback. Not realizing we only have a limited amount of time to explore what the city has to offer.
GOING TO THE CAVE
Quennie and I left as soon as 9 in the morning. We decided to go to the Batu Caves first knowing it’s the farthest one from the City. Not at least after we took our quick breakfast at a fast food chain near the Masjid Jamek RapidKL Train Station.
According to my prior research, the only way to the Batu Caves is thru riding the KTM Commuter Line (Blue Line) alighting at its northernmost station (Batu Caves Station). So coming from Masjid Jamek, we rode the rapidKL Ampang Line (Yellow Line) going to Bandaraya station since it’s one of the stations that have access going to KTM Blue Line stations.
NOTE: You can also ride the Sri Petaling Line (Brown Line) going to Bandaraya if the train is going to Sentul Timur.
The distance from Ampang Line’s Bandaraya station to KTM Komuter’s Bank Negara station seems to be longer than what most blogsites that I read specified. Although it’s directly accessible. We endured a very long walk only to find out a not-so-good news.
The KTM Komuter trains from that station going directly to Batu Caves are closed. At least for the mean time I presume. Maybe the rails or the stations in between are being rehabilitated. Just a wild guess. Maybe it’s okay now. But don’t tell me I didn’t warned you. My wife and I almost got pissed of when we just found out.
Still determined to reach the Batu Caves, we went back to Bandaraya Station and took the train going to Sentul Temur and alighted at LRT Sentul Station (Ampang Line – Brown). From there, we went to the stop where the free shuttle going to KTM Sentul Station (Blue Line) picks up the passengers. We asked first a station attendant where to wait for the shuttle in which he gladly answered but with a warning that the shuttle usually arrives every 30 to 40 minutes (or more). Well, we still waited hoping that it will arrive faster that what the attendant said. But as expected, he’s right.
The shuttle going to KTM Sentul arrived at around 40 minutes but the travel time from LRT Sentul just took around less than 5 minutes.
Upon arriving at KTM Sentul Station, we can either purchase a one-way token going to the Batu Cave station or vice versa for MYR 3.00 (approx USD 0.77 or PHP 40.00) each way per person or a round trip card for MYR 5.00 (approx USD 1.28 or PHP 67.00) per person. Of course, since we had to go back to the city, we bought the latter.
After approximately 20 to 30 minutes, we’re finally here.
AT THE PLACE…
The entrance to the Batu Caves is still approximately half a mile away from the train station so we still have to walk for several minutes. But along the way, there are already lots of interesting spots that we saw.
Near the train station was the “Ramayana” Cave in which according to a little research, was built as a tribute to an Indian epic of the same name.
By the entrance stands the statue of “Hanuman,” a devotee and aide of “Lord Rama” which serves as the protagonist of the said epic.
Few steps away lies which I just found out to be a Hindu Temple.
This was upon seeing the sign “no shoes” on its stairway. I just learned throughout our trip, by visting this cave in Malaysia and the Little India in Singapore, that it was a common practice on Hinduism to remove their shoes when entering their place of worship as respect to their deity.
We decided to not enter and continue walking when we saw an entrance to what they call the “Cave Villa.” Albeit curious about it, upon seeing that there may be an entrance fee, we ditched the idea of entering. Besides, my wife and I still had other places to visit.
While writing this blog, I did a little research about what the Cave Villa and I just found out that it’s an Art Gallery and a Hindu-themed restaurant with a walkway bridge above a koi pond and water garden. That may be this very random photo that I took that day we visited it.
After several minutes of walking and photo taking, we finally reached the iconic statue of another Hindu deity called Lord Murugan with a huge stairway beside it, indicating the main entrance to the Batu Caves. This is where most people try to have their selfies or grammable photo with it. We managed to take few photos of it despite the scattered rain showers along the area; stayed for a few minutes then decided to move on to our next destination. Yep! We still failed to take that same 272 steps we looked forward to before (LOL!).
CONCLUSION AND OTHER NOTES
Past our laziness, improper planning, and some travelling mishaps encountered; we could’ve explored more of this place. Coming here earlier and prepared with proper research, the whole Batu Caves tour could take a whole day or less depending on your preference. You can visit them all or just cross out some of them. I saw a tour package from the apps Klook and KKDay which the tour may take just half-day. Make a choice whether to book to these packages or just do-it-yourself.
Also, it would be great if all of us should learn to be responsible travelers by helping keep their place clean and trying to respect their practices. If their practices contradicts your beliefs, at least try not to be rude.
Anyway, this incomplete trip of ours gave us another thing to look forward to when we returned here. It may take a while though since my wife and I we’re planning to focus on new places for the moment. But when we finally did, I may blog about it so I’ll keep you updated about it.
For now, visit http://www.visitselangor.com/batu-caves/ for an accurate guide about visiting Batu Caves.
Have a nice day everyone!