Last day before I head to Australia. Kuala Lumpur is my last stop for 2 reasons. One – its much cheaper to fly from KL than it is Singapore, and two – last time I was here, I never got round to seeing the Batu Caves, which everyone insists is well worth seeing.
However, thanks to my pretty awful nights sleep due to the room being the same temperature as a fridge, I don’t actually head off until its nearly noon…which it not advisable under any conditions as the temperature skyrockets in after afternoon.
To get to the caves, the easiest way is to go to the Sentul Station and get on the KTM line. Its the very last stop, and runs about every 40 minutes. Tickets are dirt cheap too, though if you miss a train you could be waiting quite a while. When I arrived, you have to walk through a pretty busy market, but the giant Buddha outside the caves make it easy to figure out the direction.
Those stairs are the reason I meant to come in the morning. In the dead heat of the afternoon its nothing short of torture. And don’t even think about taking out your water bottle for some relief, because this is where thieves roam. The tailed and fluffy variety.
Yup, the monkeys of Malaysia have learned that bottles are filled with water, and if they see one, they will be on you with everything they have until said bottle (or in some cases, food, flowers and ‘shinies’) and then bite the bottom (haven’t mastered the lid yet).
However, once I’ve managed to get up the stairs, I’m a little underwhelmed. The caves are impressive, but the temples and ground inside aren’t very well kept. There’s tons of rubbish, a very strong odour from the monkeys and the incense, and the temples definitely haven’t been kept up. As such, I head out after a pretty short visit, really feeling like I’ve been gypped.
Then as I’m walking down the stairs again, I noticed a side road taking you to a different entrance. The Dark Caves.
This is a completely different cave that just happens to be in the same area, and you can only enter on a tour as its a protected eco system, and one of the most researched tropical caves in the world (as well as being home to the worlds rarest spider, eep).
The 30-40 minute tour was just about to start, so I decided to give it a shot, and it made going to the caves totally worth it. The caves are (understandably by name) pitch black inside, but has an ecosystem regardless, fully dependent on bat guano. In order to go through, you need to rely on a torch given at the start of the tour, and get fitted with a hard hat so you don’t get any nasty surprises from up above.
The Dark Caves are around 2km wide, with around 7 areas, many of them out of bounds for anyone whose not a scientist. We can get into the first few sections, and see (well, ‘hear’) the 2 types of bat who live in the cave, as well as see the spiders, cockroaches and centipedes that make the cave their home.
Once I’m back in KL though, rather than head back to the hostel, the guy at the desk had recommended I go see the Orchid Garden, as its currently a great time to go see them. I’ve been to this part of town before – its the Lake Gardens, consisting of several different parks you can visit. Some charge, some are free, but its a great place to spend some time. I’d visited the Butterfly Park and the Bird Park last visit, so decided to give the flowers a chance this time.
The Orchid Garden is a very small area that centralises on a circular pathway leading to an area with a fountain, with orchides lining the walls and some of the roofs nearby. Its very beautiful, and leads into the Hibiscus garden right next to it. However it can be walked around quite easily in 10 minutes, and my leg was starting to hurt (cold temperatures from last night and having a tendency to knock itself out from under the covers will damage your ability to walk) and had one last stop before I headed back. The Islamic Museum of Art.
I really want to head on home, but the hostel said this was a great place to see, so ignored the leg to keep going. There’s a temporary exhibit on calligraphy art, so I check that out first.
I’ve always loved languages that have a truly unique written text. In Europe if you speak the language you can generally read it. But there are so many cultures in the East where you have to learn another completely new text to understand the words. And here dozens of artists have used calligraphy in their art.
They’re incredible, and I think I circled the entire exhibit twice just appreciating the pieces. Its kind of sad its only a temporary show, because its really worth seeing.
The permanent exhibits are laid out over 2 floors, and include jewellery, armour, metalwork and textiles, as well as including pieces from China and India as well as Malaysia. Its not a huge collection, but each piece is well chosen. When I was leaving, I ended up going back just to take a few more photos of exhibits – the jewellery and clothing exhibits stirs my little cosplaying soul.
After that, I finally made my way back towards the city centre wanting to head to Times Square again. Of course by that point my leg is very unhappy, so I snap and take a taxi. Ironically, despite expecting the guy to rip me off, the trip cost half what my trip to the hostel did, despite being a further distance. So I either got heavily scammed the first time and this time, or just the first time.
I head up to the shops I found the first time, but the one holding my rider models is closed for lunch, so check out the first one. Lots of things I want, but not at a price I can afford. And I get another disappointment – when the owner of the second shop appears, I ask about the models in the window.
…Apparently, they’re not for sale. He just has them out there to show off.
…I HATE shop owners who do this. Why do they think their shop is the place to show off their personal collection. I know I don’t have the pretty shinies, you don’t have to shove my face in it!
Least I was in a place where I can eat and rest my foot before returning to my hostel empty handed. Know I have to be up stupid early for my taxi tomorrow, but I’m almost a week behind in my blog and I want to at least attempt to catch up before I hit Australia and stop doing anything of any substance. Also get to enjoy the crazy drinking party going on in the reception until about 2am…
All in all, not how I’d choose to end my trip, but I was so exhausted afterwards I managed to get a good nights sleep despite evil-air conditioner blowing all night!