To the Batu Caves | Malaysia

Other than the Petronas Twin Towers, the Batu Caves is the other place I wanted to see in Kuala Lumpur when I started plotting the itinerary of my trip to the capital of Malaysia way back in 2007. That was my very first airplane ride courtesy of my brother who let me tag along with him. Coincidentally, that journey was what kick-started my wanderlust. A few days after arriving home, I quickly wrote a short narrative about it on the new defunct Multiply blogging platform.

Visiting Batu Caves with Cebu Pacific

However, of all the places we visited during that memorable four days, we missed out on Batu Caves due to lack of time "visit it next time, you will have another chance", my brother told me as if sensing that I would be indeed getting another shot at it.

History of Batu Caves

Named after the Malay word "batu", which means "rock", Batu Caves is one of the most visited Hindi shrine outside of India. Dedicated to Lord Murugan—whose 140 feet high statue outside the cave is the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world—the Hindu God of war, Batu's Temple Cave was first constructed in 1891 inside a cave where the limestone was formed more than 400 million years ago. 

Lord Murugan
Lord Murugan up-close. 
Designed in classic Dravidian architecture, the temple cave features a number of Hindu shrines with connecting passageways to the smaller Ramayana Cave, Museum Cave and Art Gallery Cave. The statue of Lord Murugan was only built in 2006.

Another Shot at Seeing Batu Caves

Several years later as I embarked on solo trips, I actually encountered another chance to visit Batu Caves. Spending a few days in Kuala Lumpur after my second trip to Myanmar, I finally visited Batu Caves. However, as if the travel Gods remembered my desire to see this during the earliest days of my traveling life, I was gifted with a couple of chances to once again climb its 272 steps—the most recent even serving as a tour guide to a sweet English woman.

the colorful steps to Batu Caves
The colorful steps to Batu Caves
The second time’s a charm without a doubt as I joined fellow travel writers and friends from Cebu Pacific on a media familiarization tour of Kuala Lumpur. By this time, the stairwell of Batu Caves had already undergone a major face lift. Gone are the plain colors of the steps and was replaced with a vibrant appearance—as the long stairway was repainted with various color schemes producing different range of hues when viewed from below and afar.

Marky Ramone Go posing with Elal Jane Lasola
We meet again my friend
The redesign work didn’t come without some controversy, as a number of heritage advocates accused the management of Batu Caves of breaching the law regarding the banning of renovations done "within 200 meters of a heritage site".

shrines inside temple cave
The shrines inside the cave
Setting the hullaballoo aside in my head, I savored the new look of Batu Caves taking a few photographs before dashing up racing with the mischievous macaques who are always out and about, ready to snag stuff from unsuspecting tourists.

I saw one snatched a plastic water bottle, another a bag of chips, another a banana. Most of them though were fed directly with bits of cookies by amused tourists thus creating foot traffic on the stairs. It was a quick stop and about a couple of hours later, we were in the bus heading to our next destination. I thought that would be the end of my Batu Caves incursion. Little do I know, I will be blessed with my third audience with Lord Murugan and Hanuman—whose 50-foot-tall statue stands inside the complex—just a few days later.

Playing Tour Guide to Rosanna

Since I extended my stay in Kuala Lumpur after my travel blogger friends departed, I met up with a few friends in the city. I met Rosanna through my friend Mayan and instantly, we got along well. That same day, I accompanied her on a walking tour around Kuala Lumpur. "I love to walk, and it is better to see the city this way" she tells me.

Rosanna Sutcliffe
We started from Chinatown to Masjid Jamek Mosque to Petaling Street to Little India until we reached Merdeka Square. I thought that would be it until Rosanna tells me "I want to see the twin towers" and so off we went to Petronas Towers on foot.

Rosanna Sutcliffe
Blending well with the colorful steps
If the Batu Caves isn’t located several Metro train stations away, we would have gone to it on foot. So, that evening before we went our separate ways back to our hotels we agreed to meet up the next morning for me to accompany her to Batu Caves.

Plotting his next move
My second day of being a tour guide was a lot relaxed as we only went to the Batu Caves and had dinner afterwards. I got to know more of Rosanna during the long rest we had sitting on a ledge inside the Temple Cave.

Rosanna Sutcliffe
Hello there
The day wouldn’t end there but my memories of Batu Caves is more than enough to dethrone the frustration of not seeing it during my first visit to Kuala Lumpur. Similar to events in life that covers up the misgivings of the past, Batu Caves showed me that chances are given to those who seek it over and over.

Whatever I search for remains a big question mark for now. At that time, I was just happy seeing the smile on Rosanna’s face—satisfied that I somehow made her time traveling in Kuala Lumpur a lil better.

How to go to Kuala Lumpur?

Cebu Pacific Air flies from Manila to Kuala Lumpur daily. Offering a lowest base fares starting at Php 2,088, it is the cheapest option to fly to Malaysia’s capital city. Enjoy "low fare, great value" with Cebu Pacific's creative pricing strategies as it manages to offer the lowest year-round fares for all its flights.

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