Date: 2nd October 2010
Today we needed to be out and early as we had to head far out to reach Batu Caves, a famous Hindu temple site — and one of Kuala Lumpur’s must-see sights. Since I was up and ready first, I decided to take a few photos of the place where we were staying.
Irsia, according to the Iranians who run the place, is a fairly new hostel/bed-n-breakfast/budget guesthouse.
You have to leave your shoes downstairs as no shoes are allowed into rooms
The place is quite clean though. These are the rooms downstairs.
The dining room is downstairs
The kitchen is where you can make yourself toast and coffee/tea
As was the norm everywhere we stayed on this trip, once you are done with breakfast, you wash the dishes yourself and keep it back from where you took them.
The lobby/reception/living area has books, a TV and two computers with free internet service
They sell bottled water lower than what the 7-Elevens charge
This is the sit-out area. Smoking is not allowed inside the rooms.
This is where we sat yesterday night and had our dinner
No elevator. You have take these stairs to go up.
Upstairs, where our triple room was (Photograph by Loiyumba, taken yesterday)
How appropriate our room number was 'F1' for this 'F1 trip' of ours
These are the bathrooms upstairs
That concludes our tour of Irsia hostel/Bed-n-Breakfast/guesthouse/budget hotel
Given that our triple room cost us around Rs. 4300 (RM297/$96/€68) for 3 nights, we couldn’t have been more happier with Irsia, given the location. Yes, the walls are a little thin and ventilation isn’t great, but if you are going to be spending more time inside hotel rooms, you best look at proper hotels. By the way, that is Rs. 4300 for all three of us — Rs. 1400 per person, for 3 nights in KL!
Once all three of us were ready and done with breakfast, we stepped out. We decided to take the monorail to get to KL Sentral.
The monorail station in front of Berjaya Times Square is called Imbi
At 9:30am, the station wasn't all that crowded
The ride takes around 15-20 minutes with all the stops
Once at KL Sentral, we asked the information desk how to get to Batu Caves and were instructed to head downstairs to the train platforms. We bought our tickets (RM2/Rs. 30/$0.60) and headed down.
There are frequent trains to Batu Caves
Unfortunately, in the confusion of which train to get on, I accidentally stepped into the wrong train but was too late to step out as the doors closed with Ramesh and Loi still on the platform.
I got down at the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, which was the next stop
But by then, Ramesh and Loiyumba were in the right train and already ahead of me.
I soon got the next train and was on my way
The ride took nearly 30 minutes and by the time I arrived at the station (which by the way is the last stop), Ramesh and Loiyumba were already at the temple.
There is no entry fee for Batu Caves
Hanumanji's presence isn't the biggest here
Sri Venkatachalapathi temple
This is a Chinese garden; I believe entry wasn't free
Pigeons must hate kids
Scratch that. Pigeons hate humans.
It was time for me go up, Ramesh and Loi were already in the cave
This statue of Lord Murugan is the biggest of its kind in the world
272 steps to climb
Along the way (as was the norm on this trip), you'll encounter plenty of monkeys
And as usual, monkeys will try and grab stuff from you
But they are generally well behaved here
Once I reached the top, I met up with Ramesh and Loiyumba who were done and were ready to head back down. They said they would wait for me down below and so, I went in for my photography.
It only got better once inside
There were gaps in the ceiling through which water was dripping down
There are two temples in side the cave
This. apparently, is the 'main temple'
This monkey was a spoilt one. When this Indian couple gave hims some food, he dropped it and picked up a burger instead.
I was glad I had my wide angle lens with me
Apparently they should have also mentioned 'No Scribbling'
I liked the photos I clicked in here
But even with a wide-angle lens, trying to capture the scale of the caves from the inside (without distortion) was near impossible, so I took a few multiple shots and merged them into one using Photoshop.
Vertical panorama comprised of 10 shots
Vertical panorama comprised of 11 shots
Vertical panorama comprised of 8 shots
I was trying to capture water dropping on to the steps
After nearly 20 minutes inside the cave, it was time for me head down
It was a cloudy day, so I couldn't see the Petronas Towers from here. Actually, I'm not even sure if they are visible from up here.
Vertical panorama comprised of 5 shots
Once down, I caught up with Loi and Ramesh and we decided to have lunch from here itself.
This is where we ate. There aren't too many options actually.
Post lunch, we just sat outside for a while and observed the crowds. We were even approached by some PR team for Sony, and asked to pretend we were using Sony camcorders. In return for doing so, we asked them if we could keep them — but they said no.
Not sure if this couple were shooting for their wedding album or not
I took one last look at Lord Murugan before leaving (This is a single shot)
This is the Batu Caves train station
(Photograph by Loiyumba)
In case you wanted to know the Malay words for public signs (Photograph by Loiyumba)
Tandas = toilet (Photograph by Loiyumba)
We bought our tickets (RM2) and boarded our train.
It was a cloudy day, but we could still see the Petronas Towers from afar
If you were looking for nasty hotel in KL. (J/k, it's quite fancy: http://www.dynasty.com.my/)
(Photograph taken by Loi)
Once we got back to KL Sentral, we decided to head to the IKEA store as Ramesh was keen on picking up some stuff from there. The outlet was located in the area called Mutiara Damansara and we asked around on how to get there by bus. We waited at bus stop outside KL Sentral and hopped on to one that went that way.
The journey took us through a lot of residential areas in Kuala Lumpur.
(These were taken on my Nokia E72)
An hour long journey later, we were in Petaling Jaya. Even though it was a long journey, it was quite a relaxing one for me as I got to see residential areas outside of the CBD (Central Business District), something I wouldn’t have seen given where we were staying.
The IKEA store is right adjacent to this
Once we entered the IKEA store, we were hooked! There was soooooo much that we felt like picking up, but just couldn’t, because figuring out how to carry them home was something we couldn’t comprehend.
Regardless, we still picked up quite a bit of stuff and by the time were out, it was well past sunset.
Technically, the IKEA store is not in Kuala Lumpur, it's in neighbouring district
Since we had quite a lot of stuff with us to carry, we decided to just take a cab.
Though bus only cost us RM2.60 for 3, taxi was much required to save time
And save time it did, the taxi took the highway from the IKEA store into KL and we were back in our rooms in just half-an-hour. (IKEA store directions)
For dinner, we decided to head to Kuala Lumpur’s China Town, which was also accessible via monorail.
From Imbi, the monorail stop for getting to China Town was only two stops away, at Maharajalela.
If you ask locals around for "Chinatown" and they don't get it, just ask for Petaling street
Once inside, it was a just one street (probably covering two blocks) with a lot of stores and street shops. No vehicles allowed.
You have the usual gamut of fake goods, pirated CD/DVDs and clothes
But I didn't really find anything particularly interesting about this 'Chinatown'
Plus, the prices were quite high considering the stuff they sold weren't what you would call "genuine"
A lot of the t-shirts were from Thailand and so, cost a lot more than what I saw them for in Bangkok. Yes, you have to haggle, but even when Loi did so for a backpack, the price they came down to was still too high. We soon left Petaling Street.
And just as we left, it began to rain all of a sudden.
Fortunately we had umbrellas
We saw an Malay Indian restaurant and jumped in for a quick dinner.
The place was run by Malay Tamilians; food was simple and decent enough taste-wise
Ramesh didn’t find anything on the menu that was pure veg, so it was just myself & Loi. Once we were done, we headed back to Berjaya Times Square by taxi (cost RM5) as it was still raining.
It was dinner at Krispy Kreme for Ramesh
It stopped raining by midnight
We headed back to Irsia, calculated our daily expenses, sorted out who paid for what, and who owes whom how much — pretty much a daily routine for us on this trip, before hitting the sack.
I was quite happy with some of the photos I took inside Batu Caves and rate the caves highly as one of the “must see” sights in Kuala Lumpur. It only costs RM 2 for the one way journey to Batu Caves by train and is a nice break from the city.
Tomorrow morning, we planned to get up early (again) and head to Petronas Towers to try and get a ticket to visit the observation deck. We only had one more day left in the capital.
Other posts in this series:
Singapore & Malaysia 2010: Planning and preparing for the trip
Singapore 2010: Day 1 – Little India, CBD, Clarke Quay, China Town… and a lot of walking
Singapore 2010: Day 2 – Orchard Road, mall-hopping… and already shopping
Singapore 2010: Day 3 – Singapore Zoo, Marina Bay Sands; leaving Singapore for Penang
Malaysia 2010: Day 5 — Langkawi (Ferry ride from Penang, Cable car & Sky Bridge)
Malaysia 2010: Day 6 — Langkawi (Island hopping tour, Pantai Tengah beach, Night market)
Malaysia 2010: Day 7 — Kuala Lumpur (Low Yat Plaza, Petronas Towers, Jalan Alor)
Malaysia 2010: Day 9 — Kuala Lumpur (KLCC Aquaria, Merdeka Square, KL Tower observation deck)
Malaysia 2010: Leaving Kuala Lumpur… and about going back