Kuala Lumpur became more than a month ago in one of those destinations that I could cross off my list. I only knew a little about the Malaysian capital before I went, that it has the Petronas Towers and something else but as soon as I started to investigate I realized that it has a lot to offer so I decided to spend 3 days here.
If you want to know what you have to see in Kuala Lumpur, keep reading, you will be surprised.
We all know that the Petronas Towers are the symbol of Malaysia thanks in part to the movie «The trap» with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery, but some maybe still do not know what they are called that because they are the headquarters of the National Petroleum Company and Gas from Malaysia and that its façade is reminiscent of Islamic motifs, the main religion in Malaysia. It was the tallest skyscraper in the world from 1998-2004, later surpassed in height by the 101 Tower of Taipei. The truth is that these Towers impress much more «in person». They are incredibly tall and spectacular.
I recommend you to go up to the Sky Bridge, which is a double-deck elevated bridge that connects the two towers on floors 41 and 42, which is where the viewpoint is located. It is not attached to the main structure, but is designed to slide in and out of the towers to prevent it from breaking as the towers swing towards and away from each other when there are strong winds. The bridge is 170 m above the ground and 58 m long.
I recommend you to buy the tickets online in advance, since tickets are limited to 1000 people per day. You can choose to buy the ticket that goes up only to the 41st floor or choose the one that goes up to the airlift and to level 86.
I recommend you to visit the Suria Shopping Center, which is just inside the Towers and where you will have entered. We had a very good dinner at one of its restaurants.
This park is located just below the Petronas Towers and the most characteristic of it is that it hosts the light and sound show that takes place in the Symphony Lake. This park houses the Kuala Lumpur Convention Building.
They have become in a few years the second symbol of Kuala Lumpur. These impressive Caves are only 20 minutes by train or car from the center of Kuala Lumpur and, however, it seems that you have gone much farther because suddenly you find a huge mountain of hollow limestone inside, with walls that extend almost to the sky, with birds flying overhead, and wild monkeys running through the rock walls.
This is one of the Batu Caves, the Cave Cathedral, the most important Hindu temple outside of India, dedicated to Lord Murugan, an Indian deity. It has become a place of pilgrimage not only for the Hindus of Malaysia, but also for the Hindus of countries such as India, Australia and Singapore.
The name of the Batu Caves comes from the nearby river Sungei Batu. The mountains that shelter the Batu Caves are 400 million years old and for many, many years, their cavities served as a refuge for the first inhabitants of the peninsula. Later, and being the habitat for hundreds of bats, the first farmers from China collected the guano from the caves to use as fertilizer.
But until the end of the 19th century, the Batu Caves were just that: some caves that housed human settlements, possessed different flora and fauna and were far from the city in the middle of the jungle. Then came a rich Indian merchant who decided to turn them into a Hindu religious site dedicated to the war god Murugan. So, it is from 1892, when the Batu Caves became what they are today: a religious place of first order that houses one of the most important celebrations of Tamil: The Thaipusam, which is a festival originating from the state of Tamil Nadu, India, and is celebrated in January or February, in several regions with Tamil population, such as Malaysia, Singapore or Sri Lanka.
It consists of a pilgrimage to the Batu caves to attend the procession that carries the car of the god Muruga or Kartikeya from the Sri Mahamariamman temple. Hundreds of pilgrims cross the mouth, tongue, arms, chest or back with sharp needles or hooks from which the offerings hang, which usually consist of fruit or containers with milk.
Right at the entrance there is a gigantic version, 42 meters high, of the Hindu god Hanuman is the highest this God has in the world. and for this reason, the main Cave is dedicated to this God who was a devotee of Rama according to Hindu legends. Hanuman participated in the war of Rama against the demon king Ravana, and several texts also present him as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Behind it extend a lot of steps to the sky, exactly 272!
As a recommendation it is better that you go first thing in the morning, first, because there will be fewer people and two, because of the extreme heat that makes in Kuala Lumpur and I do not want to tell you what you will have after climbing the stairs. It’s important to take water too. If you forget, nothing happens because there are several vendors that sell it to you, some even just before entering the cave, once up.
Another recommendation is to be careful with the monkeys because there are enough and do not hesitate to take a piece of food if they see you. The truth is that they did not seem very friendly, hehe. Be careful also with cameras or mobiles when passing them by.
Once inside the cave you will be surprised everything. The amount of stalactites that there are at the beginning, the height of the cave that rises high until it almost reaches the sky. It has an opening in the ceiling so that it is an open Cave. There are several Hindu sculptures inside that stand out for their beautiful colors, as well as several Hindu ceremonies inside the same cave.
But the Cathedral Cave is not the only one that can be visited. And it is here, where the true interest of the Batu resides. Going up the stairs, to the left, is the Dark cave, the dark cave, whose entrance costs 35 RM for adults (7 €) and 25 RM (5 €) for children. They say that the interesting thing about this place are the creatures that inhabit the depths of the earth. This site is the habitat of a rare species of spider called Liphistius batuensis, a living fossil, but you can also find centipedes, bats and countless creatures that live in extreme conditions of darkness and humidity.
We did not visit this Cave because we had to do a half-hour queue to enter and the visit took too long and we wanted to visit more KL sites but if you have time, do it because I have read very good comments about this cave.
One of the Caves that I liked most was the Ramayana Cave that is right at the end of everything preceded by a rather large sculpture of the monkey god Hanuman. Its interior is full of Hindu sculptures each more colorful than the previous and each of them tells a passage of the Legend of Ramayana, which is one of the most important works of ancient India.
It belongs to the literary subgenre of the epic, and is composed of 24,000 verses, divided into 7 volumes.n Widely known thanks to its many translations, the Ramayana has exerted an important influence on Indian literature. I found this Cave so beautiful.
Other caves are the Valluvar Kottam and the Caves of the Art Galleries. We were left with the desire to also visit these but we had already spent more than 3 hours at Las Cuevas, it was very hot and we wanted to visit more places before sunset began.
To get to the Batu Caves, the most convenient way is to take the Komuter -tren- whose starting point is at KL Sentral and ends at the Batu Caves station. The price is RM2.50 (€ 0.50) each way. To save time, you can also go on LRT (Monorail) to the Putra station and there take the Komuter; or, even, take a taxi there. But you can also reach the Batu Caves by car, taxi and public bus.
On the way back we stopped at the Wilayah Mosque. On the outside it is beautiful with clear reminiscences to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul but with Malaysian and Eastern Asian elements, so we decided to do the tour to see what it was like inside. They are free tours and they are done by the volunteers who work in the Mosque. Free tours are available every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
First of all, they put on a special suit that covers your entire body and they give you a handkerchief to cover your head. Then they take you to a room to wash your feet, face and hands. This symbolizes the elimination of any sin you may have committed from your body, as well as any bad words or thoughts you may have had and washing your hands is to wash away sins you may have committed with them, such as some type of theft, etc.
The good thing about the visit is that the guide is explaining everything so that I was much clearer about various concepts of the Islamic religion that I did not understand. He also told us why the division of men and women inside the Mosque and is to avoid the temptations of men towards women and focus on praying that is really important. The truth is that the interior has nothing to attract attention. The turquoise blue color of the dome is typical of mosques in Iran. The marble floor resembles those found in India. The cool terraces are lined with Moroccan-inspired arches, with a large patio with the main arch, one of the most memorable attributes of the mosques and I thought it was wonderful.
One of the most characteristic and important elements of this Mosque are its 22 domes, each adorned with turquoise mosaics inspired by the mosque of Sultan Ahmet in Istanbul and the Imam Masjid of Isfahan. If you have time, I recommend you to make a quick visit to the Mosque.
Thean Hou Temple
The temple was built by the people of Hainan (in southern China) who live in Malaysia. «Thean Hou» means «Empress of Heaven» and is dedicated to Mazu, a Chinese sea goddess and the divinized form of Lin Moniang, a Fujian woman who was also a shaman who was believed to be of this world. 960 to 987. After her death she was venerated by sailors who believed that she protected them during their travels. The temple features a large sculpture by Mazu in the prayer room on the third floor, where he sits between the goddess of mercy, Guan Yin, and the goddess of the coast, Swei Mei. We were lucky that our driver was from Hainan so he told us the whole history of the temple.
It is a bit far from Kuala Lumpur so the easiest way to get there is by car or private transport as it is a fairly steep uphill walk and the nearest monorail station at Tun Sambanthan is a long walk away, but It certainly deserves and very much worth it.
The temple is beautiful. It is a modern building, but it has traditional design elements of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism incorporated into the architecture as well as multi-level ceilings and ornate carvings. Red is dominant in the appearance of the temple, as it symbolizes prosperity and good fortune. The gardens with statues of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac fill the front garden.
Inside the temple there are large cylindrical structures with small boxes or compartments inside. By the seen, these compartments are bought, being cheaper the ones of down and the most expensive those that are above all. You pay a certain amount to the month or to the year, each one chooses how much time you want to pay.
Once you pay automatically, the people of the temple put the name of your family into that compartment and begin to pray for it every day. If you keep paying, the year is renewed automatically but if you stop paying, remove the name of your family from the compartment and stop praying for you.
Since its opening in 1989, Thean Hou has not only served as a temple but also as the official site that represents the Chinese identity of Malaysia, as well as being an important tourist site. Mazu’s birthday commemoration is considered one of the largest held outside of China, and the celebration is now recognized by UNESCO as an «intangible cultural heritage of humanity».
Kuala Lumpur Eco Park
Kuala Lumpur is the only city in the world that has natural forest right in the center of the city. Near which is another of the icons of the city’s skyline, the Kuala Lumpur Tower known as Menara Tower.
We visited it after visiting the Tower since there is an entrance very close to it. In addition, it has one of the last attractions of Kuala Lumpur, a lot of hanging wooden bridges span the same and offers a wonderful aerial view of the treetops and the city. Also, it is a way to escape the heat of Kuala Lumpur.
Menara KL Tower
It is the third icon of the city of Singapore. I recommend you climb the Sky Deck because the views from more than 400 meters are impressive! I think they are actually better than from the Petronas Towers because from here you can see those.
You can also experience the Sky Box, a glass box that literally hangs from the cornice of the Sky Deck. It is a unique and exciting experience to enjoy the panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur from that structure where you literally look like you are suspended in the air. I thought it was incredible, although I admit that it impresses much more than it seems!
I encourage you to try it. Although here I also recommend buying tickets in advance, I think there is less problem of them running out. I think that because many people still do not know that you can climb up and that the views are incredible adding also the Sky Box experience.
Opening time. 9:00am until 10:00pm – 365 days a year
Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? Did you like it? Did you know that the city has so much to offer?
Do not miss the next post «Things to do and see in Kuala Lumpur in 72 hours part 2»