I departed Penang before the streets became busy in the darkness at 6am. I caught the ferry across to Butterworth and then boarded the efficient train to KL arriving before midday. I noted the top speed hi 140km/h at times, something I could only dream of in Australia, home of slow inefficient trains.
In the afternoon I did some exploring on foot and using the variety of KL public transport including the monorail, which is integrated in with the trains and buses. However, as I discovered this morning there is a catch with the trains. I decided to head to Batu Caves to the north of KL. I got to KL Sentral station on the train where I had to change to the commuter trains which use the same tracks as the long distance trains and service the further out areas. I tried to tap my card and I couldn’t get in. The issue was simple, the commuter trains use a different card. However the guard kindly showed me the one gate that would accept my card and I was on the platform waiting for the train. Unlike the metro, these suburban trains go hourly and I had a 45 minute wait! I eventually made it to Batu Caves about 2 hours after departing, I guess I can’t complain as it cost me about $1.50.
Batu Caves is all about the Hindu temple built up inside a cave. There are other caves that one can take a tour of, but the main cave is what its all about including the rainbow staircase in true colourful Hindu style. I’m glad I didn’t have my father wither me as he already endured climbing stairs for Buddha and these stairs were quite steep. Beside the stairs is the worlds largest statue of Lord Murugan. I’m not up on my Hindu deities, but I think he is their god of war.
Just like all religious sites in Asia, this site also had a troop of monkeys to scavenge and steal food from people. I stopped after a few steps to try and photograph a monkey eating from a packet of chips it had stolen from an unsuspecting person. Just as I caught up to the monkey to get a photo, another monkey came along to steal its food and it scampered up higher on the steps. Before I knew it I had reached the top of the steps, dripping sweat like a raincloud.
The cave is quite a large cavern and some steps leading up to a sinkhole with natural light coming in from above. The temple inside the cave was decorated in bright colours and lots of peacock statues, with associated signs saying do not sit on the peacocks for selfies. The temple required removal of shoes and payment, so I declined and headed back down the steps stopping to talk to the monkeys. It was here I witnessed a monkey with a ladies purse up on top a light pole, with people below catching items as the monkey rummaged for food. It looked like it found something that may have been panadol or birth control. Either way, it was in for a shock as soon as it got through the foil lining.
The train ride back was awful, all I could smell was the stench of my sweat. The irony is it is not bucketing down rain in a storm and I’m trying to decide should I have dinner in the hotel or risk a run in the rain to a place around the corner that does duck!