A Batu Caves tour is a popular tourist attraction for those visiting Kuala Lumpur. It’s a Hindu temple located on the outskirts of KL in Selangor. The Batu Caves are a series of caves and temples naturally entrenched in a limestone hill, the entrance to the main cave is 100 metres above the ground. Batu Caves steps are nearly as famous as the temples itself, 272 concrete steps which were originally built out of timber in 1920. Before that it was every man for himself with a number of different tracks up to the entrance.
As this is a Hindu temple and a religiously significant monument, do dress respectfully and wear appropriate clothing including covering your knees and shoulders. I had a skirt on that that was just below my knees. The lady motioned to me about my skirt and I wasn’t sure what she was saying. I continued on and made sure that my skirt didn’t hike up above my knees while I was walking. I noticed that other people had sarongs around their shorts and skirts, I left realising that this was probably what she may have been referring too.
Viator currently has a Batu Caves tour advertised at $40 per person, this includes pick up from hotel and coach driver out to Batu Caves with a guided tour. We paid less than $10 for the 5 of us to visit Batu Caves by using public transport.
We were staying in an AirBNB apartment near the Bukit Nanas monorail station, which is a short walk along a covered walkway to the Dang Wangi light rail station. There are also some great hotels in Kuala Lumpur and this area is very central if AirBNB isn’t your thing. From here we caught the train to Pasar Seni, which was another short, covered walk to Kuala Lumpur station. The train from Kuala Lumpur station went straight to Batu Caves station at the end of the line and takes about half an hour. I can’t find the exact costings for the trains but I remember working it out to be $7.80AUD for all 5 of us. This is a substantial saving over taking a tour that would have cost us close to $200AUD.
We have caught public transport and in particular the train system on a number of times over our visits to Kuala Lumpur and I am keen to explore more utilising the train system. Both Ipoh and Maleka are really easy rides from Kuala Lumpur. Ipoh famous for street art and Maleka for famous for great food and a different vibe and definitely worth a visit if you have visited Kuala Lumpur a number of times like we have.
The limestone hill is visible from the station and you can see the temple grounds to the right from the exit. We went the weekend of EID (end of Ramadan) and it was very busy so it was a bit of a shuffle along to get to the entrance. When we got to the gates it was now obvious why the going was so slow, the crowd had to squeeze through a single gate to get to the forecourt. Once through here though it opens up and the going is a bit quicker.
The temple caves are free to visit but if you’re not dressed appropriately it will be a small fee for a sarong to cover up. Make your way though the entrance and head up the stairs. Take your time, they are pretty steep, I can imagine that a few people would have taken a tumble down those stairs as they are also narrow. There are platforms at intervals where you can stop and catch your breath, especially if you are like me and loath climbing stairs!
There is also another cave there that has glow worms, there is a fee for entry here but the kids weren’t keen on going in. In the main cave generally referred to as the Temple Cave, you are able to walk through and view a number of temple structures where people worship. There are steps on the other side where you can walk through to where the cave opens to the sky. There is a lot of flora growing up through the limestone hills, its a very pretty and tranquil area.
There are a lot of monkeys around the area and I had been warned before I visited that they can be quite aggressive. There are also signs everywhere requesting that you don’t to feed them. They are everywhere and I can confirm that they are very aggressive. I saw one jump on a ladies backpack, grab an orange juice from the side of her bag jump off and bite the plastic bottle at the bottom and then drink it.
I also got a pic of a monkey opening a bag of potato chips and eating them, monkeys came from everywhere and there was a bit of a scuffle to get the ones it dropped. I don’t know whether someone gave the monkey the chips or if he snatched them. I suggest you don’t take any food or drink with you when visiting or even take it in your bag. The monkeys are rather intimidating and are not at all frightened of humans.
Outside Batu Caves is a museum cave, there’s a small entry fee and it has a number of Hindu statues within a tranquil garden to relax in. The garden area is really pretty and is calming from the craziness outside, there is seating in there so that you can rest from the heat and relax for a little bit.
Outside the museum cave entrance there are a couple of small souvenir stores and a few ladies doing henna tattoos for a small fee. Our kids all had one each and it cost us about $8AUD per tattoo. It took the lady about 20 mins to do each child, the girls had traditional henna and Caelan had a scorpion. Just be mindful that due to the heat and the humidity it takes a bit longer for the henna to dry.
Unfortunately Caelan’s was a bit too thick and some of the henna dripped down his arm, he was still happy with it though, he did get a bit on his clothes which washed out eventually! The kids loved the attention that came with tattoos when we got home and no they didn’t get the uniform violation they were stressing about on the flight home (insert rolling eyes emoji!!).
We spent the best part of a day at Batu Caves, took me a while to make my way slowly by the Batu Caves steps! We had a late start and by the time waited for the public train and got out there it was about lunchtime. We had a drink and an ice cream while we were out there and come back to Jalan Alor for an early dinner in KL.
We had a lovely experience on the train coming back, the locals were quite intrigued by this Aussie family of 5 on the local train which by the way were cleaner and more comfortable than ours here in Melbourne. As it was a public holiday weekend it was very busy with people out and about everywhere. A lovely local lady walked up with her 2 kids and pushed them between my kids and gave them the universal shove to move over a bit. She then motioned to me if it was ok to take a photo. I by this time was giggling and asked if it was ok if I took a photo. They then jumped up and went back to their seats with their dad!
I was chuffed that we decided to do this ourselves, it was easy and saved us a fortune. It was also pretty straight forward, we only had to wait a bit for each train but we were in no hurry. The local people were helpful when asked and we weren’t quite sure why everyone was staring at us but it might have been because we were in the ladies only carriage!! Oops!
I rarely do organised tours, firstly because its expensive with 5 but also getting somewhere is half the fun! Its also generally where you are able to have some interaction with local people which is one of the main reasons I like to travel. Getting out and amongst it is what it’s all about. I would love to visit the Cameron Highlands and it is also relatively easy to coordinate from Kuala Lumpur via the bus system. That will be something for our next visit to Kuala Lumpur.
We recently stayed at the Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon Apartments in Bukit Bintang and we found that to be a great central location and close to public transport. He often only stop in Kuala Lumpur for a night or two, we recently flew to Langkawi via Kuala Lumpur. I was surprised at all the things to do in Langkawi with kids. We had a wonderful stay at the Meritus Pelangi Resort and Spa.
Have you been out to Batu Caves? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below, I love to hear feedback from others.
Sal & Co.