Visiting Batu Caves with Kids
The Batu Caves are both one of Kuala Lumpur’s most visited tourist attractions and an important holy monument. The site incorporates magnificent limestone caves, the limestone is said to be around 400 million years old, and religious sculptures of Hindu faith. The area is one of the major pilgrimage sites for Hindus from all around the world. Visiting Batu Caves with kids is great fun, especially if they can climb those steps themselves.
Getting to Batu Caves by train
Around 17km from central KL, the caves are easily reached by taxi but we decided to take the train. From our hotel this meant first taking the monorail to KL Sentral station, then figuring out where to buy tickets and how to find the correct train. This was more challenging than anticipated. There are a number of different types of trains that leave from KL Sentral, the express train to the airport, inter-city trains and local commuter trains. We thought we’d figured out the ticket machines when buying metro tickets, but you need to start by going to the correct machine and this took some figuring out. Luckily the Batu Caves are a well-known tourist destination so we only had to ask a couple of people before we had it figured out.
We ended up having quite a wait for the train. The platform got more and more crowded as it got closer to and then well-past the scheduled time of departure. From KL Sentral it is about 30 minutes. It was very crowded at the arrival station and we had to hold on tight to the kids while we moved in a sea of people.
Dress code at Batu Caves
The caves themselves are just a few minutes walk from the station, past little stalls selling refreshments and souvenirs. Many of the Hindu women were dressed in stunning, colourful dresses, those that were on a pilgrimage were clearly distinct from tourists. Visitors to the cave must ensure they are modestly dressed so it pays to come prepared. Women wearing short dresses or skirts can hire a sarong to cover themselves, without this you won’t be allowed up the stairs.
Insides the Batu Caves
There are 272 steps leading up the cave. The walk up is made more entertaining for the kids by the monkeys. They run around begging for food and stealing from unsuspecting tourists.
We didn’t find the inside of the caves very inspiring. They are certainly large, but it was sad to see so much litter. For a place that is supposed to be holy it is treated with so little respect. There was plastic everywhere and the monkeys ripping open packets and containers trying to get to the food scraps inside. The more we travel in Asia the more we become aware of how much plastic we consume and where it is all ending up.
More than the caves we enjoyed the experience of figuring out how to get there and using the local transport. Watching the Hindu devotees in their beautiful dress and generally people watching. For S it was the monkeys that made her day!