Our second day in Kuala Lumpur was very fun, but also very tiring.
Our first stop of the day was the Batu Caves. The Batu Caves are a Hindu temple that has been in use since the 1890s and is still a major tourist attraction today. It is also still used for worship, especially during the holy festival of [insert festival name here] at the end of January. This celebration draws about a million visitors over the course of three days.
When you approach the Batu Caves the first thing you’ll notice, likely before you even notice the entry arch decorated with Hindu gods, is the giant golden statue that stands at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the caves. The thing is huge!
After that you might notice the monkeys. When we first walked up to the stairs we saw a few hanging off the bars and walking on the concrete because people were feeding them. As we began to ascend the stairs we realized that there were monkeys everywhere. Some were fighting, some were begging, a few were playing, and we even saw one pair having wild monkey sex on the staircase handrail. Ya, really. Later, on the way down we also saw a monkey snatch a lady’s bag away from her to get the food inside. They can be pretty mean when you have food and don’t give it to them.
The caves themselves are fairly impressive. The statues weren’t anything we hadn’t seen already, except for the huge one out front, so we were mostly there to see the caves themselves. When you get to the top of the stairs (there are 272) you’ll be at the entrance to the first cave. You descend a short flight of stairs into the first chamber and then, when you’re done looking around, you walk up another flight of steps to the next area. I wouldn’t quite call the next spot a cave since it’s completely open to the air on top. It’s very cool to look at though.
What disappointed me about the Batu Caves is that they’re in a serious state of disrepair. I’m not sure what’s going on in there, but the edges were all littered with garbage. The lower portions of the walls were also covered with graffiti. I also noticed that a lot of the small stalagmites within arm’s reach were broken off. I wonder if they were broken into pieces and sold to pilgrims in the past? Regardless, it makes the lower portions of the caves look really cheap and filthy. Don’t let that discourage you from going though. The upper portions are still really nice. Click through on the photos for a better look.
Oh, and be careful on your way down! The stairs are very small and steep!
After leaving the Batu Caves we went back to the guest house we were staying at and relaxed for a while. Those stairs are tiring! It had started raining too, and who wants to walk around in that?
After a few hours we got back up and went to Bukit Bintang. We had no clue what was there, but saw it listed as a place tourists should visit so we stopped to check it out. It was only a few stops away from Chow Kit on the monorail. It looks like a small version of Singapore’s Orchard Road.
Across the street from where you exit the monorail is a very posh mall called Lot 10, which was almost completely deserted. The place didn’t seem all that popular. I wasn’t surprised. The stores there all seemed to carry very high end items that most people wouldn’t want to be bothered with anyway.
The one cool place we did see there was Jackie Chan’s tea and coffee cafe. Jackie Chan must like his tea and coffee with a little kick because there were bottles of Grey Goose vodka lining one side of the bar. Other than the fact that the place had Jackie Chan’s name on it, the couches you sit on are incredibly luxurious. The bottom portion is very long, so you remove your shoes, climb up, lean back and relax. Each sitting area has a set of small tables that swivel so you can arrange them the way that’s comfortable for you.
The mall across the street, called Suleng Wang (sp?) was jam packed with people. It’s huge too. You wouldn’t be able to tell from the outside but there are hallways running off from the central area that seem to go on forever. It was definitely the more popular of the two malls and it was so packed it was hard to walk around without having to constantly sidestep people. I got the impression it was a popular hangout location.
By the way, what’s up with KFC in Malaysia? There was a KFC in Suleng Wang mall that was huge and it seemed like there was a KFC at every monorail stop.
On the bottom floor of the main area there was a small manga event for what seemed to be local artists. There were black dividers set up with manga storyboards on display. There was a stage with figure cutouts, a case with manga style swords, and booths selling manga and merchandise. I’ll post more about it tomorrow, including photos of girls in maid cosplay!
We spent about 4 hours wandering around the Bukit Bintang area. It seems to be a major shopping hub. We saw another mall that I can’t remember the name of that was full of electronics stores. If you’re from Singapore, think Sim Lim but with the looks of Tampines 1.
After that, it was about 10pm so we took the monorail back to Chow Kit station where we kicked back and relaxed in the guest house for a while. We wound up going back out at around midnight for more satay!