A Layover In Kuala Lumpur

Arriving in Kuala Lumpur

Passing through immigration is a breeze. A quick hello to the customs officer and stamp of the passport and I am in. They wave me through security, because how much trouble could I be.

KLIA2 is an expansive airport, multi leveled, half shopping mall half airport. It doesn’t take long for me to get confused. The first mission, finding an ATM. Asking the official at the train desk she points one direction and I follow. The first machine rejects my card, good start, the second, success and out pops 200 RMB (45 USD).

Back to the train station, purchasing a return ticket to KL Sentral from the lady behind the counter, 100 RMB. Just like that half the money is gone. Making my way down the escalator to the platform everything is pretty straight forward and a white, clean train soon follows.

Heading Into The City

I’m not going to lie the ride into Kuala Lumpur was uneventful, considering it was 5am in the morning. With pitch black windows at either side I enjoy the free wifi, figuring out how to navigate an unfamiliar city once disconnected to the internet.

Exiting the train and arriving at KL Sentral everything is quiet, nothing is open and apart from a few security guards it may as well been abandoned. Making my way over to check what times the trains depart my one was not going to leave for another hour. I purchase a drink for 2.60 MYR ($0.60 USD) from a 7-11 type store, sit on the floor and enjoy the wifi from the closed BurgerKing located opposite me.

Eventually time passes and becomes a social acceptable time to purchase a train ticket. The price is 2.60 MYR ($0. 60 USD) one way to the Batu Caves. This is one of the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur and is a must on any itinerary.  I make my way down to the wrong platform, back up the escalator and eventually to the correct platform. I am the only female waiting, but the presence of a couple older tourists calm my nerves. The train arrives in the 7am dark which I board and make my way out of the city.

The sun slowly rises over the next 40 minutes to my destination. The architecture and designs of buildings are highlighted and the locals on their morning commute make their way across town. Arriving at the Batu Caves train station at the end of the line I follow the rest of the locals to figure out how to exit the building. Next issue, how to get to Batu caves.

batu caves statue

Batu Caves

Batu Caves is one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur so I knew I had to go. I probably should have researched this before when I had wifi but I assumed it would be signed or something. Never assume. Walking the wrong way a taxi driver quickly corrects my mistake and give me directions. So, remember turn left out of the train station and follow the footpath. There will be a large metal gate with a door open. Enter this door then continue following the path around. I am sure if I decided to venture to Batu Caves at a decent hour I would not have had the issue as it looks like the areas were set up for many stalls indicating the way. Though, where would be the adventure in that.

Its pretty easy to tell when you have arrived thanks to the large golden Murugan Statue. I make my way over through the hoards to pigeons (for some reason people over here really like pigeons). The stairs are easily marked, one way up, one way down. It is not too difficult of a climb up, though a could imagine with the sun beating down it could get quite tiring. At the top is a beautiful view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline and with the sun rising and animals waking I highly recommend visiting in the morning.

I am the only tourist here. There are a few workers maintaining the grounds and a couple locals praying, but that is all. The lime stone caves are extremely impressive and unlike anything else I have ever seen before. Entering the cave is like a whole new world, the ceiling lays high above and the formation of the rocks are amazing. Further up another set of stairs is an opening where greenery peaks over the top. Within it men are saying their prays while I take in this magnificent moment.

inside batu caves

Suddenly, music starts up. Drums, signing and other unidentifiable instruments all begin playing extremely loudly, echoing throughout the cave system. The source of this noise is a temple in the main cave. They are performing a ceremony. I stand back and watch in silence as they tip liquids, bang objects and chant.

As I begin to exit, heading back down the stairs, the next set of tourists arrive. A nice Chinese family with children quickly rushing to the top. At the bottom of the stairs people are feeding the pigeons, seemingly amused by their swarming of the food.

stairway batu caves

Heading Back To Klia2

Back at the train station I quickly buy a ticket back for another 2.60 MYR (0.60 USD) and jump on the train as it is about to depart. This time I am on a women only carriage which I personally think Is an excellent initiative. It is only 10am by the time I get back and I don’t have a flight to catch until 5pm.

The humidity this time of year in Kuala Lumpur is intense so I jump on the next train back and head for cover in the airport. As I am already checked in online, have my boarding pass and my bags are being transferred through to my final destination I head to departures without having to worry about waiting around until check in has opened.

The customs officer looks at me funny when I give him my boarding pass and sees that the plane does not depart for another 7 hours. But after a quick laugh and him asking me out multiple times, I walk through security, find a comfortable seat in the food court and spend the rest of the day their enjoying cheap food, free wifi and air conditioning.

I know I will certainly come back to Malaysia to explore more. I would love to experience the culture and head out to see some of the amazing landscapes such as the beautiful beaches in the Perhentian Islands and check out the best things to do in Langkawi. Getting a small taste of Malaysia during my layover in Kuala Lumpur has just made me realize how much more I have to explore.

2 thoughts on “A Layover In Kuala Lumpur

  1. Sarah Shumate says:

    I’ve been to Kuala Lumpur 2-3x, but never been to the caves. Do they have some sort of religious or historical significance, or just caves? :) It sounds like going at sunrise is the perfect timing – what a peaceful experience!

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