Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is a modern metropolis with plenty to offer tourists. Alongside the iconic Petronas Towers, one of the most popular attractions in Kuala Lumpur is the distinctive Batu Caves. This impressive and distinctive temple complex may be far from the city center, but you’re really missing out if you don’t visit the Batu Caves while you’re in Kuala Lumpur.
Before we dive into the logistics of visiting and what there is to see at the Batu Caves in Malaysia, a brief overview of the complex may be helpful. The Batu Caves are a series of caves among limestone hills in the district of Gombak, to the north of Kuala Lumpur, and they combine an interesting natural landscape with a major place of worship and some striking sights.
While the hills are considerable and quite scenic, what makes them special is that they’re home to one of the largest and most popular Hindu shrines in the world outside of India. But there wasn’t always a shrine in the caves, and for quite some time it was used by indigenous locals and Chinese settlers to collect bat guano. Things changed, however, when the American Naturalist William Hornaday made the caves known to the international community in 1878. Now that you’re fully prepared to head to the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, let’s look at how you make the most of your time there. Rather than cover every little part of the Batu Caves temple complex in detail, we’re going to focus on the best sights.
Lord Murugan Statue. It’s impossible to miss the statue of Lord Murugan when you arrive at the Batu Caves. After all, it is a magnificent, towering golden statue standing right at the entrance to the complex. Standing a mighty 42.7 meters (140 feet), this is the world’s tallest statue of the Hindu deity and has become the site’s iconic image, even though it was only added in 2006. Construction of the Murugan statue involved 300 liters (90 gallons) of gold paint, 250 tons of steel, and 1,500 cubic meters (52,972 cubic feet) of concrete.
Cave Staircase. At the base of the Murugan statue sits a large plaza area with long metal barriers leading to the entrance of the site, where a great staircase brings visitors and pilgrims to the Batu Caves and its temple. Originally built from wood in 1920, the 272 stairs were later replaced with concrete ones to better handle the heavy foot traffic.
Temple Cave. Climb the great long staircase to reach the mouth of the Temple Cave, the heart of the Batu Caves complex. Step into the Temple Cave, and you’ll immediately notice just how massive this great cavern really is, with a ceiling that looms roughly 90 meters (295 feet) above you.
Dark Cave. Venturing back down the massive staircase, you’ll find a stopping area at the midway point that leads to the entrance to the Dark Cave. As its name suggests, the Dark Cave is not illuminated like the Temple Cave and is known for its wildlife, rock formations, and adventure activities.
Ramayana Cave. One final cave worth visiting is the Ramayana Cave. Found 100 meters (328 feet) to the left of the entrance when you first arrive, the cave can be found by the large green statue of the Hindu god Hanuman standing outside it. Although the Ramayana Cave is far smaller and lower than the Temple Cave, it fills the space with countless statues, shrines, and colors to offer something completely different to the rest of the complex. You’ll also find far fewer visitors here, which gives the cave a more peaceful atmosphere.