Batu caves are located outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They are one of the most popular series of Hindu temples and shrines outside of India. A popular tourist attraction, here we also find the world’s largest Lord Murugan statue and troops of Batu Caves monkeys.
Earlier, we had debated whether or not to visit, as we had heard such mixed reviews of Batu Caves as a tourist destination. Some told us it was too crowded, while others went as far as calling it a tourist trap, a name that made no sense to me, as the main Temple Cave is free to enter.
And whilst it was both crowded and had an element of over-tourism, it was also fascinating.
Read below the details of our visit.
Before you read on, let Asia inspire you …
Our first impressions of Batu Caves
As we arrived and stepped out of the car at Batu Caves, monkeys greeted us. Or at least that was my initial takeaway. In reality, we were in their space, their home, and I can only imagine we are thought of as a nuisance.
However, it didn’t take long to look beyond the initial troop of long-tailed macaques (wild monkeys). The 42.7-metre tall golden figure of Lord Murugan stood proudly, mesmerizing, beautiful. Installed in 2006, Batu Caves’ Murugan statue is said to be the largest in the world.
And beyond that are the caves, what we initially thought we came to see. Now painted in a vivid rainbow of colours, there are 272 steps leading up to Batu Caves entrance. Looming over us, the stairs taunted us, begging to be climbed, and competing for attention with the other magical surroundings.
And this wasn’t all. Off to the left, we could see another large statue of a different god and more temple buildings.
But, the Hindu temple we came to see was located inside this Malaysian cave.
So, we ascended up the stairs.
Once at the top, we enter Cathedral Cave, one of three main limestone caves featuring temples and Hindu shrines. Here, we find high ceilings with openings to the sky that illuminate the space and several shrines and other Hindu areas. It’s beautiful and instantly worth the climb to get here.
Batu Caves monkeys
Adorable as they are, it’s important to remember that the Batu Caves monkeys are wild animals. While they are accustomed to having humans nearby, they are not domesticated and therefore should not be touched. They have been known to bite, scratch, or steal from visitors.
This was our first exposure to wild monkeys. These long-tailed macaques are very different from the tailless Barbary macaques we saw scampering in Morocco.
Two key safety tips for enjoying the Batu Caves monkeys
- Taking any wild animal photos should always be done at a safe distance, and this does apply to Batu Caves monkeys.
- Food should not be brought to the area, as its smell will encourage the monkeys.
Where are Batu Caves?
Batu Caves are in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia.
They are just 13km to the north of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.
It is easy to get there on the KTM commuter train, on the bus, on the monorail (and then a bus), or with a private vehicle. We hired a private driver for the day.
Batu Caves history
In brief: The caves were discovered in 1878 by American naturalist William Hornaday, although it had been known previously to the indigenous people.
Hindu pilgrims have travelled here for more than 120 years. The caves are the focal point of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.
Tour Batu Caves and other sites
|Tour (Click tour |
name for details)
|Tours visit Batu Caves |
Plus these sites:
|Templer’s Park||Templer’s Park|
Silver Leaf Monkeys
|Taman Negara Tour||Canopy Walkway or Rainforest Waterfalls|
Rapids boat ride
|Cameron Highlands||Cascading Waterfalls Aboriginal Village|
|Best of |
Old Railway Station
An alternative for adventure seekers
Abseiling, spelunking and rock climbing Batu Caves are all popular amongst the adrenaline junkie crowd. There are more than 160 climbing routes up the limestone hills. Most trails start from the northeast side of the cave complex, while the staircase we climbed faces south. According to our guide, the best and safest way to climb is with a tour. Check out this highly-rated half-day rock climbing and Batu Caves tour
Also on the grounds
Additional information and tips for visiting
- The best time to visit Batu Caves is early in the morning to avoid the heat.
- Remember, you will have to climb the famous 272 Batu Caves stairs to enter. (The caves are not wheelchair accessible.)
- There is a different Batu Caves entrance fee in different areas, but entry to the main Cathedral Cave is free. There is a nominal charge for the car park.
- Batu Caves dress code does not permit short pants or skirts above the knees.
- If you are not familiar with the use of a hose in Malaysian-style toilet facilities, you might want to bring your own toilet paper.
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Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
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Will you visit to see the Batu Caves monkeys, the statues, the temples, the shrines, or for a rock climbing adventure?
One of the powerful Monkey god there are so many Story About Hnuman in India, he is also a Hindu god hanuman Ji also very powerfull
I’ii visit this place after 2 month thanks for share
Don’t know, for me, even after almost 2 years in Asia, and some 6 months in Malaysia, Batu Caves still seems like kinda interesting place for KL. It’s very different from other sights in the city, and I really like Indian food you can get in the nearby restaurants.
And, of course, monkeys. I’m not a big fan of them, but I like to take pictures of them 😀
Thanks for introducing something in Kuala Lumpur because to me, it doesn’t have much to see in the area (as compared with other southeast asian countries). Actually as I know there are still some temples and historic sites in KL that worth a visit. 😉 keep them coming! @ knycx.journeying
KL was our second city in South East Asia, so we were still excited by the little things, so we quite enjoyed it.
I’ve also heard that Batu Caves is a bit of a tourist trap, but it looks quite incredible from your shots. Haha yes, long-tailed macaques are cute but they’re devious and mischievous!! We came across a number in Singapore 🙂
We found it interesting. I wonder if we would view it differently if we went today, as we visited during the first week our around the world adventure, and our first week in Asia.
Sandy N Vyjay
Monkeys seem to weigh in with their ubiquitous presence in most places of South-East Asia. You seem to find them everywhere in hordes. Especially in tourist places where they have avenues for getting food. But may times they are of nuisance value as they have the capability to disrupt things. The statue of Lord Muruga looks magnificent. It is a pity that the surroundings are not up to the mark and the odour around the caves is overpowering.
I think the odour goes along with the monkeys, it is part of them being a nuisance. We are careful not to have any food on us when we visit sites with monkeys. So far the worst we have encountered was a monkey jumping up and biting the end of our towel on a rainy day in Ubud.
Batu caves look worth visiting from your photos, and monkeys are a part of the experience! Thanks for this detailed guide including the practical information and tips. I would be visiting Malaysia soon and I think I’ll visit this now!
We didn’t spend anywhere enough time in Malaysia. I really need to go back.
I always see this big statue on the website, and I was wondering how wonderful it is to pay there a visit. Thanks for affirming my belief!
It’s a mix of the good and bad, but the statue is a must see for yourself type of site.
Those monkeys are wicked. That 43m gold statue! Wow, its huge! Must have been such a great place to visit!
LOL – wicked is a perfect description, and yes the statue is impressive.
I was shocked about the monkeys when I went there last year. I don’t know why I was expecting them to be like the rather docile monkeys I saw at the Awajishima Monkey Center in Japan but they were much more active and aggressive, although not as much as the monkeys on Monkey Island in Vietnam.
I couldn’t capture them on camera because they were too fast for my camera…I really need to invest in a high quality camera. You got some great shots! 😀
yes I”ve heard what Durian fruit is like, I won’t go into details lol
LOL – I know I am not the only person who likes it.
These caves look very impressive. I have never seen any wild monkeys in their own habitat. The look really cute, but I know they are very naughty and can become quite bothersome. I think it’s time we start visiting Asia.
I agree, it’s time to head to Asia. But it is also time for me to explore your home country.
Beautiful place indeed, Rhonda. I have sooo many wild monkeys in Bali :)..some of them are naughty indeed!
The monkeys we saw in Ubud, Bali were adorable. Much cuter than these, but I didn’t touch those either.
Oh my, what a place! I can see why your senses were immediately overwhelmed. I did get to hold a monkey once, but the monkey was from a TV show, so it wasn’t quite the same as your experience! I was thrilled, though. I’m an animal lover 🙂
I wouldn’t touch these monkeys. I am a big believer in leaving wild animals alone.
JM Illinois U.S.A.
You certainly are brave to ignore the smell and press on. Thank you for posting these interesting photographs. I will probably never get a chance to go there. You are an adventurer extraordinaire.
LOL – once I was there I really had little choice. Besides, I can get past most smells.
What a great trip. The cave looks amazing and the monkeys are so cute
Some of them weren’t so cute, with injuries and wounds. I looked for the cutest ones. And don’t let cute trick you. They are wild animals.
It looks like an amazing place. Very jealous of your adventure!
No need to be jealous, come along as an arm chair traveler.
Rhonda, I don’t know if I’ve seen these kinds of monkeys before. All I can say is I’ve seen monkeys in a zoo and I have no clue what kind they are. Oh, I’m glad y’all went ahead to explore the cave – very cool! As open as that appears I’d still be a big scaredy Cathy to go in it. I don’t like the idea of being underground. Those monkeys must follow you like a lost puppy or something, huh?
The monkeys are everywhere and so are the people. Some tourists feed them, and they got a lot of unwanted attention, sometimes scratched, or worse, plus the monkeys steal things. I wasn’t afraid of the cave, just intimidated by the stairs.
What an experience! I’d love to try the Durian fruit. WOW the statues are cool! Nope I haven’t seen wild monkeys; just ones in the zoo.
I liked the durian fruit, but that puts me in a minority of people who didn’t grow up with it.
We often visit caves here but I’ve never seen caves that are the object of religious devotion.
I had never seen it before either. It was really interesting.
I love the giant statues of the gods and the little palaces. Such impressive attention to detail. Considering the smell, I’m glad I have your pics to admire and don’t have to go there to see them!
LOL – it was a rather unpleasant odour, but worth it, both for the temples and the monkeys.
Great photography as always. I like the inside of the cave photo I think is beautiful and worth it 🙂
I was gonna say you really write well and so engaging, then I noticed your affiliation.. this is an inspiration. thank you..
Your adventures are always great fun!
Now here is a place I would love to visit. I know I never will, but I would surely love to explore all the wonders.
Have a fabulous day. ☺
Don’t worry, I will go and take photos for you. 🙂
Holy cow, what great shots and what a beautiful place to visit. You go to some of the best places.
Hi! Very fantastic photos. The statues are very different from our’s. Thanks for sharing.
Those statues are very different from any in New Zealand (where I live) as well.
Paul F. Pietrangelo
Monkeys and bad smells would stop me but especially the steps. I would never be able to walk the steps. Maybe if they had an elevator or escalator, I might check the caves out. India doesn’t excite me at all. Was it a tourist trap?
Have a wonderful day Rhonda. See ya.
The stairs are part of the experience, and so are the monkeys.
Love your travels and experiences!
L. Diane Wolfe
Anytime you can go into a cave it’s worth it to me. I wouldn’t go near the durian fruit though.
LOL – I enjoyed the durian fruit, once I got past the smell.
Amazing photos and what an experience I had to laugh at this “It smells worse than the caves.”
Have a odourlesstastic day Rhonda 🙂
You obviously haven’t smelt a durian 🙂
Wow. Just, wow!
Your daughters’ are excellent photograhers! The cave looks amazing and you’re getting lots of exercise with all those steps! Glad you’re having fun, and I know you’ll enjoy China!
I remember those steps well and the inside of the caves is an unexpected surprise.
Yea I knew you would end up loving it… The heat and all…part of jetlag as I would put it..I sure hope you enjoy China…
I’m glad this is turning out better than you had thought it would.
Have a terrific day. 🙂