Golden sculpture at the Batu Caves © Descon7
Stalagmites and stalactites festoon the interior of these impressive limestone caves, together with the Hindu shrines that honour their deities. The caves were discovered by the American explorer William Hornaby in 1881 and are very interesting in themselves, but have since become a Hindu holy site, particularly associated with the celebration of Thaipusam, a three-day religious festival during January/February. Thousands of devotees flock to the caves during the festival to pay penance and undergo rites of self-flagellation that are fascinating, if a bit disturbing, to observe. The largest of the caves, Temple Cave, is reached by climbing 272 steps to its entrance from which a path leads to Museum Cave, housing a dazzling display of ornamental religious art. There is a clear view from the top to the Subramaniam Swamy Temple, set within a large cave that extends for 262 feet (80m). Onsite companies offer rock-climbing opportunities as well. It is a good idea to take some water as the climb up is tiring. Those with physical difficulties may struggle. Beware of the monkeys: they are cute and fun to photograph but they also steal things that take their fancy, so hang on to your belongings and keep an eye out.
Address: 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor