If it's your first time visiting Kuala Lumpur, it will be incomplete without visiting Batu Caves. Alongside the Petronas Twin Towers, Batu Caves also remains one of the most iconic and popular tourist attractions because it has a famous 42-meter-high gold statue.
That massive golden statue is Lord Murugan. In Hindu mythology, Lord Murugan is the God of War and is worshipped by Tamil communities—people originally from southern India. Conforming to Discover Walks, Lord Murugan is the world's third-tallest statue of a Hindu deity.
K. Thamboosamy Pillai, a leader from the Tamil community, built a temple within caves in 1890 and created it as a place of worship to the Hindu religion. As a site of a Hindu temple and shrine, the Batu Caves is now a place for thousands of worshippers and tourists, especially during the annual Hindu festival, Thaipusam.
Batu Caves covers a series of limestone caves that are over 400 million years old and is located in northern Kuala Lumpur, the district of Gombak, Selangor to be exact. Although it is quite far from the city, there are modes of transport that can bring you here, such as KTM Komuter, bus, or taxi.
Since my husband and I stayed in a hotel near KL Sentral, we decided to go to Batu Caves using KTM Komuter. The cost is RM 4.6 for the round trip (so, it was only RM 2.3 for one trip). Unfortunately, the coin-like tickets are no longer accepted, so we had to purchase Komuter Link or Touch n Go card.
It takes about 40 minutes to Batu Caves from KL Sentral. The commuter was comfortable and the view was just breathtaking. However, the KTM Komuter arrives every hour, so you really need to pay attention to the timetable. Check the full schedule here.
If you want to know more details about using KTM Komuter, purchasing the Komuter link card, and reloading the balance, please read our story when using KTM Komuter from KL Sentral to Batu Caves.
The gate opens every day from 7 AM - 9 PM. I would say the best time to visit is the first few hours as it can be mostly free of other tourists. So, you can take many good pictures on the colorful stairs at Batu Caves. Besides, earlier is better since you don't have to deal with the heat yet.
If you can't visit it in the morning, you may come after 4 PM to avoid the high temperature. However, you won't exactly enjoy the place that much as it will be packed (well, depending on what your aim is). Especially during the annual festival Thaipusam in either late January or early February which will invite huge crowds.
As mentioned above, it is a place of worship, so people coming here are expected to dress appropriately and modestly by wearing clothes covering their shoulders and knees. Here in Batu Caves, you can rent a saree—a garment traditionally worn in India, in case you are not fully covered.
Is there any fee for entering Batu Caves?
The answer is no. My husband and I think that this is one of the reasons why Batu Caves is popular among tourists. There is no entrance fee for visiting the main temple area though there are pots for donation.
You need to pay the entrance fee for attractions like Dark Caves, Cave Villa, and Ramayana Caves. So, if you focus on visiting the main temple, you only have to worry about the cost of getting here. So, what are the best and must-visit attractions here? Let's get started!
It's impossible not to see this magnificent, colossal, painted-gold statue if you come to Batu Caves. This 42-meter-high statue is in front of the colorful staircase, which is the access to the Temple Caves.
Taking pictures with this statue is a must, I guess. However, my husband and I were having hard time to take good pictures since everyone wanted it too.
I also suggest you to always wear mask here. It's not about the COVID-19 per se, but the pigeon's dropping smell can be unpleasant.
After taking pictures in front of Lord Murugan statue, you can venture back down to the staircase and find an area leading to the Temple Caves. But, there's a stopping area at the midway point bringing you to Dark Caves.
Living up to its name, this cave is really dark and no lights are installed here. Dark Caves is special because they've got protected flora and fauna. In fact, some of the animals here will not be found anywhere else in the world.
If you still want to climb the stairs, continue your journey up to the Temple Caves as this is the main area of the complex. Different from pigeon droppings, here you will be familiar with the smell of bats which is the hallmark of a natural cave. You must accomplish and conquer 272 steps to reach the temple.
There is a temple used as a place of worship for the Hindus inside. You will also see traders selling various souvenirs from Batu Caves.
This Cave Villa is in front of the Lord Murugan statue, it's on the right where the pigeons are gathered. To enter this cave, you have to pay a fee for RM 5. On the inside, you will find many different statues and paintings telling mythological stories in Hindu beliefs.
However, my husband and I didn't go inside because it is said there are many controversial things. One of them is the reptile cage which seems inappropriate and far from so-called animal friendly place.
The next attraction is Sri Venkatachalapathi & Alamelu Temple. This shrine is near the entrance of the KTM Komuter station. This temple is quite eye-catching because it is painted in various striking colors. It is said that this temple is dedicated to The Hindu Goddess Durga.
One thing to watch out for is the macaques! There are a lot of long-tailed macaques hanging around in front of the temple. They are not as aggressive as the ones I found at Uluwatu Temple in Bali, but still, you have to be careful when bringing food or drinks.
I think one last cave that is worth-visiting is Ramayana Cave. I would say that I was in awe to see many things on the inside. Ramayana Caves is located near Sri Venkatachalapathi & Alamelu Temple. The entrance gate is behind the giant, painted-green Hanoman statue, just cross the bridge to enter.
You will see many beautifully adorned statues and dioramas depicting the mythology of Ramayana inside the cave. I really loved the dimmed atmosphere and colorful lights highlighting the statues.
I was completely immersed in the story shown through carved stones. Not to mention that I found fewer visitors here. So, it was more comfortable and peaceful. Definitely worth paying for only RM 5.
All the statues depict the chronological story of Rama from when he was born until his adulthood. There's an explanation of the story in every statue (all delivered in English), so you could understand the story better.
There are staircases leading up inside the cave. You can climb it up if you want to. However, I would suggest you not to climb it because there's nothing on it anyway. I think Ramayana Caves is perfect for children to enhance their imagination through story telling.
So, those are main attractions at Batu Caves that are definitely worth visiting if you visit Malaysia. Alongside taking pictures, we can also learn more about Hindu and Indian culture here.
When you're hungry or thirsty, there are a lot of food and drinks sold here. However, there are no fast food outlets alike since the majority of food sold here are Indian cuisine.
There are also a lot of sellers selling various Indian-style souvenirs and accessories. You can take these souvenirs home. So, are you interested in visiting Batu Caves? Let us know!