Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Good news is that you can reach Batu Caves by metro, easy peasy. Bad news is that you’ll lose both legs and a lungs, while climbing the stairs.

I somehow survived, and have fairly nice pictures to show you.

From Wiki:

The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia. [..] Rising almost 100 m above the ground, the Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, has a very high ceiling and features ornate Hindu shrines. To reach it, visitors must climb a steep flight of 272 steps.

Well, Mister Wiki, it sounds like something people (tourists) want to visit. There is the element of history, the one of nature, the adventure one. Let’s go.

First problem to solve (Asia is a constant exercise of problem-solving) is where to buy the ticket and platform. Heads up, there is no sign, so just go to the central station hall and ask to the small information desk which counter/platform is the right one and get some cash ready.

The ride is an easy one, and gives you the possibility to see from the center to the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur. When you get to destination, there easy distractions: monkeys everywhere, trash scattered by monkeys everywhere, vendors everywhere. If you don’t get distracted by all the above, and concentrate on the temples, it’s really an unique and interesting place.

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After the marathon of sweat and stairs, inside the main cave the view is fine (and not that bent like in my next picture):

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Up there, the sharp contrast between darkness of the caves and light is really something to experience.

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Poverty and Nobility in Kuala Lumpur

Both of us were fast asleep in a bus to the city centre (from the airport, a mere 45′ ride, but we were tired). The last image I had in mind was palm forests everywhere, paradise for coconut oil producers. Then after what seemed only one second, traffic jam, honks and chaos. Eyes wide open. And we saw something. We saw a city that looked like if every American movie and tv series about apocalypse came true, a great mix of “50 years after the most powerful nuclear bombs“, or “That time the disease spread and killed them all” and “Katniss Everdeen living in a metropolitan jungle“. I’m not kidding. And coming from a profound and sacred state of REM to this drastic change is cray cray. For sure, the air smelled like atomic disaster. Cheers haze.

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There were some questions popping in my mind:

1.Are the buildings supposed to look so old and kinda falling to pieces? By the way, you get really used to decrepit places, in Asia.There is a poetry in everything. Even in mould surrounding everything.

2.How come that you can pay every place and turn its name in advertisement? Shout out to Bukit Bintang station, now Air Asia Bukit Bintang. No biggies, it’s just the shopping and entertainment district.

3.Is KFC the national sponsor? They seem to appear everywhere. Boi, they do love chicken.

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We summed up Kuala Lumpur with the 3 Ds:

 Disaster. Decadence. Discomfort.

 

There is this old Italian comedy, Miseria e Nobiltà (Poverty and Nobility, in English) where two poor men pretend to be aristocrats, a farce to convince a rich, educated man to marry the daughter. That’s a comedy, and KL can be that too. We got sometimes the impression that some “cultural” landmarks were a bit of a farce into tourist trails. But you can still have a good time in KL.

Some of the highlights:

  • Bukit Bintang, chaotic but lovely.Shopping street, food vendor stalls, massage places, plus many hostels in the area, ask for a room upstairs and avoid the trap to have to share your bed with another tenant. Mr. Mould.

 

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found by mistake in my camera the panorama option, here’s an attempt. (click to enlarge)

 

  • Petaling Street – Chinatown. Great for deals, food, and friendly chaos. Plus, fancy a new watch? Head there…

 

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  • The streets around Merdeka Square, Central Market and Triangle.

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  • Hearing the prayers from Jamek Mosque, before sundown. And see veils everywhere.

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  • Joyful Brickfields, also known as Little India.

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  • Of course, the Petronas Towers. Really wonderful at night. The only bad thing about the place, the amount of selfie sticks around.

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*This blog post is sponsored by a bottle of Dasani water, from the genius behind Coca Cola Company and its bad bad great multinational beverage corporation. Dasani, the only choice available in almost every corner of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.