Macaques monkey are the cute, and sometimes mischievous, residents of Malaysia’s Batu Caves. // © 2013 Mark Rogers
If your clients find themselves in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, on either leisure or business, recommend they hail a cab to visit the Batu Caves. The Batu Caves are a nine-mile, $14 roundtrip taxi ride away from the capital. The caves are the site of the annual Hindu festival, Thaipusam, in which Hindu true believers pierce their flesh with skewers and hooks as part of their religious pilgrimage to the caves.
The limestone forming Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old. As visitors approach the cave, they will see a 140 feet high statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu God of War glittering golden in the sun.
To reach the caves, clients will have to climb 272 steps — all the while passing hungry macaques monkeys just waiting for the chance to snatch whatever they happen to be carrying. I happen to love encountering monkeys when I travel. But, if you want to make friends without having your iPhone grabbed out of your hand, carry a bagful of dwarf bananas and prepare to make some new acquaintances.
Reaching the top of the stairs, visitors enter the huge chamber of the Cathedral Cave that lets in sunlight from above to illuminate several Hindu shrines. As you proceed from chamber to chamber, your synapses will fire with fragmentary scenes from a dozen Hollywood films — everything from “King Solomon’s Mines” to “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.”
At the base of the hill are two additional cave temples crowded with dramatic Hindu paintings and statues. An optional audio tour is available. There’s no charge to visit the caves, leaving your clients plenty of room in the budget to visit one of the restaurants lining the parking lot, where you can dine on typical Malaysian fare, including teh terik (stretch tea), which is as much fun to watch being prepared as its delicious to drink.