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Batu Caves

A day-trip from Kuala Lumpur

· Religious Sites,Malaysia

Eight miles outside Kuala Lumpur, just a short train ride away, are the Batu Caves. These caves make up a combination of religious temples and conservation sites. Each cave seems to offer something different, but one things for sure, you don't want to miss out on a visit here if you're in the city.

If you're leaving from Kuala Lumpur it's an easy journey. Simply go to the KL Sentral Station, the KTM train goes straight there, and signs to it are nicely marked in the station. The train that heads to the caves terminates there, so you won't have to worry about missing your stop. Trains leave about every 30 minutes depending on the time of day, tickets only cost a few MYR.

Once at the caves, there are several places you can visit. If you head to the left of the hill you'll find the Ramayana Cave. For an extremely small entrance fee, you can wander this cave filled with statues. As you walk through it, you'll follow along with the story of Rama, an avatar of the god Vishnu.

After you've enjoyed the statues and story, you follow the pathway past temples with monkeys climbing on they're vine covered walls. Past the Cave Villa (this cave is an art gallery/museum) and onto the main temple. Every year the Hindu community celebrates Thaipusam in this cavern. It takes place sometime in January/February and celebrates the full moon. Here you're met by a giant 140ft statue of Lord Murugan. Now you must begin your journey up the 272 steps that will lead you to the cavern entrance.

Don't feel bad if you stop along the way, in the sweltering heat, most people take breaks, besides the view offers an excellent excuse to pull over and give your heart a rest point.

If you've reached this point congratulations, you're about to get your reward. Wander around the inside of the cave, taking in the temples and statues.

While you're heading down, look on the right for the Dark Cave. This cave is a conservation effort to educate people on and protect the 200 some species that live inside. Most famous for the its bats and spiders, you'll be taken in by a guide and told all about its history and residents. It has the highest entrance fee of any of the caves, but it's worth it if you go in with an open mind and attitude. Just please listen to the guides, while here my fellow tour goers blinded bats repeatedly by not listening about where they were allowed to shine flashlights. Others touched very sensitive rock formations immediately after being told to keep their distance. Let's do a little better at protecting nature!

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