The Batu Caves lie thirteen kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur in the appropriately titled suburb of Batu Caves. Inside is a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Murugan, a popular god among the Tamil people. The temple was founded in 1891 by Tamil immigrants to Malaysia. The caves are one of Hindu’s holiest sites outside of India.
The best time of year to visit the Batu Caves is during the Thaipusam festival, which takes place in January or February, depending on the lunar calendar. The festival commemorates the day Murugan received his iconic lance from Parvati. Murugan was created by Shiva to destroy Soorapadam, an immortal demon who went around terrorizing good souls. The Thaipusam festival draws more than a million worshipers each year and is a public holiday in Kuala Lumpur.
At the entrance is a 42.7m tall statue of Murugan. The temple is accessible by a staircase consisting of 272 steps. The limestone cave network, more than 400 million years old, also offers opportunities for spelunking and rock climbing, though tours need to be arranged ahead of time. The caves and their surroundings are infested by monkeys. Though cute and friendly, be sure any food you might have is secured. The caves are easily and cheaply accessible by public transport.
Admission: Admission charge.