Guarded by a monumental statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan, the Batu Caves are a Malaysian national treasure and an unmissable day trip from Kuala Lumpur. These limestone caves harbour Hindu temples where dioramas of mythic scenes glow beneath stalactites, bats flutter in the shadows, and monkeys prey on tourists hiking the 272 stairs to Temple Cave.
American naturalist William Hornaday is credited with discovering the caves in 1878, though they were known to Chinese settlers (who collected guano) and to local indigenous peoples. The caves are always a colourful experience, then in late January or early February when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims converge for the three-day Thaipusam festival, in which devotees in a semi-trance walk in procession from KL’s Chinatown to the caves.
The cave complex is 13km north of KL and each cave has a different admission price (Temple Cave is free).