Review of Our Trip to the Batu Caves in Malaysia

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Statue Hanuman

Are you contemplating visiting the Batu Caves with your kids? We did, and in this blog we’ll share our experience.

Batu Caves, Malaysia’s most captivating and important Hindu cave temple, is an iconic heritage site for tourists and locals. If you’re traveling to Kuala Lumpur for the first time, this iconic cave temple is a must-visit.

If you’re looking for a great destination to include in your trip to KL, visiting the series of caves at the Batu Caves provides an extraordinary experience. This national treasure combines spirituality and adventure, from its awe-inspiring limestone formations to its rich cultural and religious significance. 

Keep reading as we guide you through the wonders of the temple! Enjoy our complete guide to the Batu Caves and get first-hand tips when going to the temple.

Tourists at Sri Alarmel Mangai Samedha Sri Venkatajalapathi Temple

Introduction to the Batu Caves’ History

Batu Caves is a marvel to explore as one of the most beloved Hindu temples in Kuala Lumpur and all of Southeast Asia. The beautiful limestone formations that make up its interior and dioramas drawn within its walls tell more than a story.

People believe this iconic heritage site has existed since 400 million years ago. The first inhabitants of the huge caves were the indigenous tribe known as Temuan/Besisi people, who used the entrance as shelter.

However, the Batu Caves were only discovered in the 1860s by Chinese settlers who extracted fertilizers, guano, from the cave. They used the guano to fertilize vegetable crops, which was their main living source at the time.

In 1878, the cave caught the attention of British colonial authorities, including American naturalist William Hornaday paving its way to popularity.

More than a decade passed, and the Batu Caves became even more popular. One of its visitors became the pioneer of what the caves have led to today, a place of worship for the Tamil Hindu community.

An Indian trader known as K. Thamboosamy Pillay found the temple a suitable place of worship for Lord Sri Murugan. Inspired by the ‘vel’ shape of the cape entrance–which resembled the head of a celestial spear–he proposed to use the cave as a shrine for Lord Murugan.

This birthed the shrine of Lord Murugan, built within the largest part of the cave now known as the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple Cave. Since then, the Batu Caves have become a dedicated venue for the annual festival, Thaipusam, usually celebrated between mid-January to mid-February.

The Batu Caves are also part of the six important holy shrines in both Malaysia and India.

Things to Do in the Batu Caves

Visiting the Batu Caves provides an insightful experience about Hinduism and Indian culture. From the colorful architecture to the amazing shrines and descriptive painting, the Batu Caves is full of breathtaking sights.

1. Lord Murugan Statue

The Lord Murugan statue stands at the temple’s base at 140 feet (42.7 meters) and shining in gold. Making the statue involved 90 gallons (300 liters) of gold paint, 250 tons of steel, and 52,972 cubic feet (1,500 cubic meters) of concrete.

The statue is the first one to greet you as soon as you arrive at the venue, and needless to say, it’s impressive to look at.

It was completed in 2006 and became Malaysia’s tallest statue and the third tallest statue of a Hindu deity. And ever since, the statue has been a pride of the country and an iconic attraction to date.

Batu Caves Murugan Statue

2. Climb the rainbow stairs

Before you can get to the entrance of the main cave, you need to climb the 272 steps of concrete rainbow stairs. It can get tiring quickly, so make sure to bring a water bottle with you.

Did you know that the rainbow stairs weren’t as colorful as it is back then? During the 1920s, Muslim devotees climbed the wooden steps to access the main temple.

Only two decades later, the temple’s chairman changed the stairs to concrete. And in 2018, it received a makeover with bright rainbow colors to attract more visitors and make the place more welcoming.

Also, be mindful of the wild monkeys at the stairs because they can be mischievous. Sometimes they try to grab things, especially plastic bags with food or even water bottles.

Climbing the stairs is the only way to access the temples at the cave. It’s a tough exercise, but the main attraction that is waiting at the end makes it worthwhile.

Monkeys at the Batu Caves

3. Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave

Sitting at the end of the endless staircase is the entrance to the Cathedral Cave, also known as Temple Cave. Stepping into the main cave, you’ll see how incredibly expansive it is at 295 feet (90 meters).

This serves as the temple of Lord Murugan, where Muslim devotees leave their offerings every Thaipusam festival. It also features other ornate Hindu shrines and carved ruins of old buildings on the walls.

You can also find an open-air cavern which you can access through a small flight of stairs. It houses the Sri Valli Deivanai Temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan’s wife.

The daylight hitting the high stone walls and temple with birds filling the open space gives a magnificent view.

4. Dark Cave

Found midway through the long staircase, you’ll find the entrance to the Dark Cave. If you’re up for an educational and adventurous activity, you’ll find it here.

Aside from the tours, the Dark Cave is popular for its rock formations and wildlife. It’s home to many bats and one of the rarest spider species in the world, the Trapdoor Spider.

There’s an Educational Tour and Adventure Tour, but the operations have been closed since the start of the pandemic. There is no news of reopening the Dark Cave at the time of this writing.

5. Ramayana Cave

Found on the left of the cave entrance while facing the hill, you’ll stumble upon the Ramayana Cave. You know you’re there when you see the 50-foot (15 meters) green statue of the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman. You’ll also find a temple for Hanuman inside.

There are statues, shrines, and dioramas of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana found within the cave. Despite the rich attractions in the cave, only a few visitors gather there. But its peaceful atmosphere and interesting sights make the Ramayana Cave a must-visit!

Ramayana Cave Statues

6. The Cave Villa

Explore two more cave temples found in the Cave Villa at the foothill. The Cave Villa houses the Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave, showcasing more Hindu statues and paintings.

More features of the villa include the mini-zoo for reptiles. Spot different reptiles like snakes, turtles, and arapaima fish. There are also parrots, rabbits, and raccoons in the mini zoo. Don’t worry, though, because they’re well-contained.

It’s also very cool inside the Cave Villa, a nice break from the heat.

Cave Villa Batu Caves

7. Rock climbing

With the beautiful rock and limestone formations in the Batu Caves, there’s no wonder why rock climbers love this place. Try cave climbing in Gua Damai at the Batu Caves if you want an epic adventure.

There are three walls on different sides of the cave you can take on, each with varying difficulties. Batu Caves has more than 160 climbing routes perfect for thrillseekers.

For this activity, planning in advance and arranging a tour with qualified guides is better.

Where are the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur?

The iconic Batu Caves are just north of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. 

How to get to Batu Caves?

The cave is accessible via public transport, tour, taxi, or GrabCar. Here are the different transportation modes you can take to the Batu Caves temple.

  • By Train: Taking the KTM Komuter train is the easiest way. From the KL Sentral train station, alight at the Batu Caves station, which only takes 30 minutes. A one-way ticket costs RM 2.60 and RM 2.30 if you pay with Touch’n Go.

  • By Bus: If you’re not in a hurry, you can travel by bus to the Batu Caves. You can take the 11/11D bus near the bus stop in Central Market or the U6 from Chow Kit. Taking the bus can take longer, especially because of the traffic.

  • By Tour: Now, if you don’t want to worry about transportation, you can book a private tour instead. Guided tours can take you to the Batu Caves and other cultural attractions nearby. Although it’s a bit more expensive, the inclusions that come with the tour are worth it.

  • By Taxi or GrabCar: If you are like us and prefer to travel hassle-free with the kids, hailing a taxi or booking a Grab Car via the Grab app is probably the best option. It can take 15 to 30 minutes to reach the Batu Caves from the city center depending on the traffic.

What are the opening hours of the Batu Caves?

The operating hours of the Batu Caves are as follows:

Opening Hours
Temple (Main) Cave6.00 am to 9.00 pm
Ramayana Cave9.00 am to 6.30 pm
Dark Cave10.00 am to 5.00 pm (Weekdays)
10.30 am to 5.30 pm (Weekends)
Cave Villa8.30 am to 5.30 pm
(Hourly dance show – 10.30 am)

It’s good to know the opening hours of each cave, so you can plan ahead depending on what you want to see during your visit.

How Much is the Batu Caves Entrance Fee?

Entrance to the main cave is FREE, but you can donate in one of the donation boxes.

Here are the entrance fees for the other caves:

Entry Fee
Temple (Main) CaveFREE
Ramayana CaveRM 5.00
Dark Cave – Educational TourAdults – RM 35.00
Children below 12 years old – RM 25.00
Dark Cave – Adventure TourAdults – RM 80.00
Children below 12 years old – RM 55.00
Cave VillaMyKad holders – RM 7.00
Non0MyKad holders – RM15.00

What is the best time to visit the Batu Caves?

The optimal time for families to visit the Batu Caves is in the morning, prior to the influx of crowds and the hot temperatures. It’s advisable to steer clear of Hindu holidays when the caves are packed with devotees, like the annual Thaipusam festival in late January or early February, where Hindus gather in KL city center and walk to the Batu Caves.

For families with early-rising children, arriving shortly after opening is an excellent strategy to avoid the rush and capture stunning family photos by the vibrantly colored staircase.

We suggest refraining from late afternoon visits due to the possibility of rain because when it rains in Kuala Lumpur, you’re bound to get soaked.

TIP: Click here to find out the best time to travel to the Batu Caves and other destinations in Malaysia

Are the Batu Caves accessible-friendly?

Unfortunately, the Batu Caves is not wheelchair-accessible or accessible to people with disabilities. It’s also difficult to navigate around the complex with a stroller.

However, if you’re visiting the Batu Caves, it doesn’t mean you have to climb to the top of the stairs (we didn’t) or enter the other, smaller caves. You can take a stroll at the foot of the limestone hill and enjoy some delicious snacks while watching the crowds and the monkeys.

What is the dress code for the Batu Caves?

They have strict dress codes you need to follow when visiting the Batu Caves. For women, the shoulder and knees need to be covered. No short skirts or shorts. You can buy a sarong to cover your legs if you have no choice.

Our Batu Caves Review

Our family visit to the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur was an absolute delight! We took the train to the Batu Caves and orderd a grab car to get back to KL. The lively atmosphere and natural beauty made it an enjoyable trip for all ages – remember, we didn’t climb the vibrant, colorful stairs. 

At the complex we were greeted by a horde of macaque monkeys swinging from the trees, adding an extra touch of excitement for the children.

Exploring the magnificent high ceiling caves adorned with Hindu statues was an awe-inspiring experience. The intricate details and religious significance was very interesting. The kids were fascinated by the colors of the stairs, the walls, and the lights inside the smaller caves.

We also indulged in delicious snacks available at the foot of the mountain while we took a closer look at the golden statue and watched adventurous climbers conquering the stairs. 

Overall, our visit to the Batu Caves was a nice adventure filled with natural wonders, cultural treasures, and delectable treats. We highly recommend this experience to anyone visiting Kuala Lumpur!

What’s Next?

Packs of monkeys and other wildlife, gorgeous limestone formations and limestone caves, a giant statue, and Hindu art and myths; the Batu Caves are worth visiting. If you want to explore Hinduism and get an immersive experience of Indian culture, Batu Caves should be at the top of your list. Aside from that, this holy site is arguably the most popular tourist attraction for free things to do in the city of Kuala Lumpur

TIP: Click here to read more reviews of Kuala Lumpur family attractions

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Unveiling the Magnificent Batu Caves in Malaysia!
About Marlieke Kemp-Janssen:

Marlieke is the mom of a four-year-old girl and, together with daddy, they love living in and exploring Kuala Lumpur. As well as being the founder of Kuala Lumpur with Kids, Marlieke is a digital marketing consultant who has helped small businesses grow through her company Aureum Hospitality Advisers.

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