Whirlwind ASEAN Day 17: Batu Caves and the Golden Triangle

I started out later than I wanted due to the most comfortable dorm room I’ve stayed in this trip. One good thing about that is I skipped rush hour so there were few people on the trains that morning and even less going to Batu Caves (1 MYR).

The entrance to the caves were just outside the exit of the KTM station, I just followed the huge statues. My timing was perfect! I was there before the hordes of tourists started arriving so the caves were nearly empty. Some have said that it has lost the religious feel due to the sprouting of stalls catering to tourists but I was relieved to see that these stalls were mostly at the entrance of the cave. Inside the cave were numerous temples framed by beautiful limestone cliffs. As I was getting ready to leave the trickle of people coming intensified into a current going upstream like salmon. Thanks goodness I arrived earlier!

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As my string of good luck continued, I was able to catch the train just as it was leaving the station (2 MYR). Next stop: Masjid Negara (Kuala Lumpur Station).

Kuala Lumpur Station, the original hub until KL Sentral opened

Kuala Lumpur Station, the original hub until KL Sentral opened

KTM HQ in front of Kuala Lumpur Station

KTM HQ in front of Kuala Lumpur Station

The National Mosque (Masjid Negara)

The National Mosque (Masjid Negara)

As I was walking up the stairs to enter the mosque, I saw this:

Something non-Muslim tourists need to know

Something non-Muslim tourists need to know

Dammit. I just had to be here on a Friday morning. The only time we non-Muslims are not allowed before 3 PM. Oh well, the Lake Gardens were nearby so I climbed the hill to get there. Along the way to the lake there are several points of interest including the Islamic Arts Museum, Planetarium, KL Aviary, several sub-gardens, and even a deer park! It reminded me a lot of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The largest walk-in Aviary in the world

The largest walk-in Aviary in the world

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I checked the time and saw that I was ahead of My expected wandering time so I went ahead and walked all the way to Merdeka Square. It wasn’t too far, although once again the sun was bearing down as hard as it could before the rain clouds could appear. By the time I reached the square I was drenched in sweat. The City Gallery was the perfect place to cool off: free Wi-Fi, air-conditioned and informative.

My sanctuary from the heat

My sanctuary from the heat

Not yet but it's growing on me

Not yet but it’s growing on me

The oldest Mosque in Kuala Lumpur: Masjid Jamek

The oldest Mosque in Kuala Lumpur: Masjid Jamek

Once fully refreshed, I stepped into the square. This is one of my favorite places in KL so far. The architecture all around Merdeka Square is incredible! It’s very refreshing for someone who has been looking at the various temples in Thailand and Laos (not that those weren’t great but this provides that needed variety).

Textile Museum

Textile Museum

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Sultan Abdul Samad building

Sultan Abdul Samad building

The tallest flagpole in the world

The tallest flagpole in the world

On my way to the Rapid KL station in Masjid Jamek, I came across the oldest Mosque in Kuala Lumpur of the same name. Unfortunately, like in Masjid Negara, non-Muslims were not yet allowed. Would’ve been nice to have known these admission rules before I went here.

Another Mosque I wasn't able to enter

Another Mosque I wasn’t able to enter

My second to the last stop for the day: KLCC. I spent the afternoon in Suria KLCC, the mall at the base of the Petronas Towers. Of course, I took the requisite photos of the towers while I was here. By this time I had ticked off almost everything on my to see list. I was very tempted to watch the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra play some of Michael Jackson’s songs but was prevented from doing so by my *ahem* less than smart casual clothing. So instead I watched Rush to pass the time before dinner.

KLCC park

KLCC park

Petronas Menara

Petronas Menara

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Suria KLCC

Suria KLCC

Last stop for the night: Jalan Alor! I tried getting here by train but the station was packed with commuters. Then I discovered the sky bridge – an air-conditioned elevated  walkway connecting KLCC with Bukit Bintang. Thank goodness! This brought me to Bukit Bintang in 15-20 minutes from Suria without the hassle of waiting in line for a train or waiting in traffic via taxi. After choosing the most populated restaurant I could find, I sat down and had myself a street food buffet.

Jalan Alor -  Street food heaven

Jalan Alor – Street food heaven

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