Yeti Daytrips: The Batu Caves

There is a lot going on at the Batu Caves. Three different caves, loads of stairs, troops of monkeys, not to mention the ferris wheel, convenience stores, and Jain restaurants serving veggie banana leaf curries at the base of the stairs.

The largest statue of Lord Murugan in the world.

The largest statue of Lord Murugan in the world.

The Batu Caves are only 8 miles from Kuala Lumpur. They feel a bit like a disneyfied India–all the cool, exotic foods and sights without mangy dogs, bewildered buffalo, or shit in the street. You could sign up with any tour in the city for about 50 bucks, but that would be really stupid.

Instead, hop on the KTM Kommuter: round trip it costs a dollar and takes about half an hour.

Malicious Macaque Monkeys

Malicious Macaque Monkeys

Once there, you can wander around the bottom for a bit, but eventually those 272 stairs (but who’s counting?) have to be faced. They’re actually not at all tough, unless you have to dodge an aggressive monkey. It’s quite popular; 5000 people a day come out here. But on Thaipusam, the Hindu festival (and when we where there) a million people come out. Devotees shave their head, paint them gold, pierce their cheeks, wear 100 lb Seussian hats on their head, and then walk the 8 hours from KL. To further prove their devotion, they start walking at midnight.

Cathedral Cave

Cathedral Cave

Cool light (less cool camera)

Cool light (less cool camera)

113 year old temple

113 year old temple

400 million year old limestone

400 million year old limestone

While most tourists come to visit only the caves, the limestone hills and crags in the surrounding area offer some of the best rock climbing in Southeast Asia.
Around 170 bolted routes present great climbing challenges for sport climbers. The routes, rated from 5A to 8A+, have something to offer for climbers of all skill levels. For less technical climbers, there are many opportunities for hiking, scrambling, and bouldering in the area.

Finally, as you walk back down, you are confronted by what can only be described as a weird-ass thingy. There truly is a lot going on at the Batu Caves.

Weird-ass thingy

Weird-ass thingy

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2 responses to “Yeti Daytrips: The Batu Caves

  1. I will never forget the stairs! I was there in the late 90’s. I’m sure it’s busier now.
    I don’t remember weird-ass thingy, and I barely remember the caves and temple, but I will always remember the stairs and the macaques. I was chased by one in KL so I was wary!

    • There are a lot of stairs, eh? In the heat especially, it’s pretty brutal.

      Chased by a monkey in KL sounds like a great story. I haven’t seen any monkeys in the city–maybe they’ve been gentrified.

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