A mandatory stop for all those visiting the cosmopolitan Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, the colourful Batu Caves are definitely one of the most iconic and spectacular sights the city has to offer. Located in the outskirts, a good 40-minute train ride away from the city centre, looking up for information on how to go from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves before your trip will help you saving up some precious time.
Exotic shrines, natural rock caves and hundreds of monkeys roaming freely among visitors? What’s not to love about this place?! In case you’re keen on visiting this beautiful combination of man-made Hindu temples and unforgiving limestone hills (which you totally should btw), then stay with us and discover how to get to Batu Caves!
GETTING TO KUALA LUMPUR
Fortunately for visitors, and although Kuala Lumpur is located on a peninsula, the city is one Southeast Asia’s biggest transportation hubs, alongside Bangkok and Singapore. Its airport stands as the 23rd busiest in the world with almost 60 million annual passengers, which comes as no surprise considering it serves as the main base to giant low-cost carrier AirAsia.
However, if you’re coming from south Thailand, Singapore or other Malaysian cities, taking the bus will definitely come as a cheaper and hassle-free solution. If you’re looking for an overland trip in or out of Kuala Lumpur, we recommend checking out 12GoAsia.
We’ve booked a bus trip between KL and Melaka through their website and everything went smoothly!
HOW TO GO FROM KUALA LUMPUR TO BATU CAVES
TRAIN FROM KUALA LUMPUR TO THE BATU CAVES
We’re starting with the most obvious of choices! As part of the city’s remarkable public transportation system, the KTM Komuter is a two-line network which connects Kuala Lumpur’s city centre to its outskirts and suburban areas (a bit like the RER Trains in Paris). This is by far the most practical way of reaching Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur without spending a small fortune on private transportation.
- Go to KL Sentral – the city’s main railway station. If your hotel is located next to Putra, Bank Negara or Kuala Lumpur, you can use one of these stations too! Check out the KTM Komuter Map for a better overview of the available routes.
- Buy your token (looks like a coin) directly from one of the electronic machines or ticket booths. A one-way ticket will cost you 2.60 MYR (about 0,55€) from KL Sentral.
- Follow the signs to KTM Kommuter.
- Head to the platform where the arriving trains are heading towards Batu Caves.
- Leave at the terminus!
BUS FROM KUALA LUMPUR TO THE BATU CAVES
Although I can’t really fathom why one would rely on the bus when a train is available, it’s still worth pointing out there is a bus service heading to the Batu Caves.
It’s definitely not easy to find consistent online information about these services, but apparently Bus 173 runs through this route. You can hop in at the DATARAN MERDEKA 2 bus station near Merdeka Square and leave at a stop called REST INSAF/APM. Tickets are bought directly from driver for 2 MYR.
PRIVATE ORGANIZED TOUR FROM KUALA LUMPUR TO THE BATU CAVES
If you fancy a more comfortable and personal experience, there are tons of private tours offering to take you from the city centre to the colourful monkey realm of the Batu Caves:
BATU CAVES – BRIEF HISTORY
Although the temples inside the caves were built not that long ago (late 19th century), the Batu Caves have become an important pilgrimage site for Tamil Hindus, as well as a popular tourist attraction for those visiting Kuala Lumpur.
Despite the rock formation’s impressive size and natural grottoes, the caves remained in relative obscurity for outsiders until American conservationist William Hornaday reported its existence during his 1878 Southeast Asian expedition. Shortly after, Indian trader and leader of the local Tamil Hindu community K. Thamboosamy Pillay expressed his desire to build a temple inside the caves. Pillay was a profoundly religious man, as he had previously been the one responsible for the construction of the popular Sri Mahamariamman Temple in central KL. This time, the shape of the caves’ entrance allegedly reminded him of the tip of the spear with which Hindu deity Murugan was usually portrayed – and that was apparently enough of a good reason for him to move on with his idea!
He finally got his wish fulfilled in 1891, and as new features were added to the caves and further improvements were carried out throughout the last century, the Batu Caves remained to this day one of the most sacred sites for Tamil Hindus all over the world.
THINGS TO SEE AT THE BATU CAVES
As soon as you step out of the train station, you’ll come face to face with a big, blue statue of Hindu God Hanuman, marking the start of the path towards the colourful and atmospheric Ramayana Cave. Hanuman – a monkey God – is curiously known as the Lord of Celibacy, so I guess they couldn’t have picked a more suitable colour for His statue! As for the cave, it features a lot of brightly painted schemes and dioramas, and is a lot less crowded than the more popular Temple Cave, making it a perfect shelter for the busiest times of the day. Admission costs 5 MYR.
Further ahead, on your way to the main highlight, you’ll find an entrance to the small complex known as Cave Villa. This compound features two other caves – Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave – as well as a mini-zoo, a lake and a series of painted bridges and paths to help you move between the attractions. Admission to the Villa costs 15 MYR, but this might be a place worth stopping by if you’re particularly interested in the history of Hinduism and its traditions.
LORD MURUGAN STATUE
The magnum opus, the postcard picture, the image that probably sparked your interest in visiting the Batu Caves – the gigantic Lord Murugan Statue! Completely covered in golden paint, this majestic 43-metres tall statue is definitely a must-see in Kuala Lumpur, currently standing as the biggest statue in all of Malaysia. Along with the rainbow staircase‘s splash of colour in the background, it makes for one of the prettiest sights you will ever witness!
THE GROUND TEMPLE
Well, this is embarrassing… it’s kind of ridiculous that even though this was one of my favourite places, I still can’t seem to find its official name anywhere! On the bright side, and since it is located right next to the giant Lord Murugan Statue, it is virtually unmissable! As you can see by the photos, this is one colourful temple, and the kind of place where you’ll want to snap a picture every two steps. If you happen to know the name of this temple, please let us know on the comments!
THE RAINBOW STAIRCASE
Along with the humongous golden statue, the rainbow staircase is perhaps the caves’ most popular feature… because there’s nothing better than climbing 272 steps under the scorching sun when it’s 35ºC outside! Just kidding, this place is beyond gorgeous and it’s an absolute delight to climb your way up, seeing dozens of monkeys in the process and taking in amazing views of the city as you look back. Just keep in mind you’ll have to cover your shoulders and legs if you’re female, so make sure to bring appropriate clothing.
When people speak about Batu Caves, they’re usually referring to THIS cave in particular. Also known as Cave Cathedral, this is the limestone’s main grotto, and the one whose entrance is located atop the Rainbow Staircase. Made up of two huge caverns, the Cave Temple is home to several shrines where different rituals take place every day, with special celebrations occurring during the Thaipusam holy festival (January/February depending on the year). This is also the place where you’ll find the highest concentration of monkeys, with countless of them coming and going while climbing the cavern walls! Admission to this one is free of charge.
MONKEYS… MONKEYS EVERYWHERE!
By now, you will have seen dozens (maybe hundreds!) of monkeys roaming freely through the caves and its surroundings. Although they’re more than used to human presence and are generally not aggressive, give them a chance and they will downright rob you! There have been multiple reports of phones, cameras, backpacks and other personal items that have been stolen by the monkeys simply because the tourist got too close or didn’t keep a proper eye on his stuff. Other than that, they are absolutely adorable and play a pivotal role in the caves’ ever-increasing popularity!
VISITING BATU CAVES – TIPS
1.Appropriate Clothing – keep in mind you’ll be visiting a place that is considered sacred for many people, so you are expected to dress modestly. That means no unexposed shoulders or legs for women, and no above-the-knee shorts for men. Take a scarf with you so that you can cover yourself up when requested.
2. Keep an eye on your stuff – yep, we’re talking about the monkeys here! These little pests are constantly sneaking around looking for something they can sink their teeth into or other items they can exchange for food… and you’re basically their walking alimony! If a monkey approaches you, just open your empty hands and show them to him. He’ll understand you won’t have anything to offer and move on to the next tourist.
3. Be respectful – although the Batu Caves are quite touristy, one should not forget about its holy and religious status. That being said, go easy on your regular picture-snapping, selfie stick-waving routine. You are a visitor, but a lot of other people might be there to pray and pay their respects.
4. Arrive early – it’s Southeast Asia, folks. That means a whole lot of people, and a whole lot of heat! If you’d like to avoid both, try to arrive as early as possible.
BATU CAVES IN PICTURES
There you have it – our ultimate guide on how to go from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves, including tips on what to expect and what not to miss! Have you ever visited these iconic caves? Let us know on the comments below!