What I didn’t tell you in my last post was that the warning signs about monkeys were not my first encounter with said creatures on this trip. My first ever experience with monkeys occurred just the previous Saturday while visiting Batu Caves, which is just north of Kuala Lumpur at the end of a suburban railway line.
The main entrance, just a 2-min walk from the railway station.
Batu Caves is named after the nearby Batu River, and is both a natural attraction (the caves themselves) and a Hindu shrine, supposedly one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India (according to Wikipedia). The shrine is dedicated to Murugan, the Hindu god of war, victory, wisdom, and love (wow, that’s quite a range!). The statue is the tallest one of the god in the world, at 140 feet (and used 300 liters of gold paint), but is pretty new as it only dates to 2006. For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batu_Caves and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murugan.
Yes, those are 272 steps that I had to climb in the punishing midday heat and humidity (and lathered in an intoxicating mix of 50sph sunscreen and bug spray!). At least the steps were relatively short and in good condition (unlike my last step-climbing adventure at the pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico).
Although it was interesting to visit, the caves themselves were a bit of a disappointment – a little too sculpted at ground level to accommodate lots of visitors and a lot of junk lying around.
Note the poured concrete floor here. There was a bunch of junk on both sides, maybe for some sort of special events, but it just looked messy and certainly not part of the natural setting.
The shrine in the clearing at the back seemed a little out of place, I have to say. I really took this picture, though, to capture an amazing invention – the selfie stick!! The woman in front of these two guys appears to also be capturing it.
At least the rock formations and light filtering down into the clearing in the back were natural! There were a few water drops falling down and I could actually see the drips coming all the way down – it was pretty cool.
The real attraction here, it seemed – at least for most of the tourists – was the monkeys.
I like the standard nature of this sign including something decidedly non-standard (at least for me)!
Unfortunately, no one seemed interested in following that rule (I assume that would not have been the case in Singapore, where rules are taken a bit more seriously!). Note the baby clutching onto the monkey.
The babies were remarkable – they look just like human babies! If you want some evidence of evolution, here it is…
Not sure if someone gave him this or if this is just a lucky monkey, but this monkey is putting his opposable thumbs to good use.
Having finished that milky drink, you can still see the evidence on his face! The rest of his anatomy is also in view, along with an incredibly long tail.
It was interesting and kind of creepy to me to see these monkeys up close. They were amazingly agile and quick, bounding up and down that massive staircase on the hand rails with ease. One jumped over some people and knocked someone’s sunglasses off their head. I was really surprised to see the babies as well.
Overall, this was a good short trip out of the city to see something different in the midst of a busy working schedule.