272 steps – Malaysia

There is a vast difference between travelling and holidays. Some people are nearing the point of exhaustion while travelling and have to schedule intermittent rest periods. The Ministry’s travels are no exceptions and fitness is a must if you’re intent on exploring. For example, a majority of the fascinating houses of worship in the world all involve some standard of fitness to get to.

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The Batu Caves are no exception. The Ministry doesn’t usually flock to mainstream tourist areas but this hindu shrine is a must on any explorer’s list. The Batu Caves are popular for its photogenic 43 metre golden statue of the hindu deity Lord Murugan. While he is the main spectacle, most game travellers pass him and climb the 272 steep steps into the cavernous, ancient, limestone caves. The caves themselves are 100 metres above the ground and host three main caves, the biggest is known as the Cathedral Cave, or Temple Cave. The caves host several hindu shrines inside, each of which relate to the story of the Murugan statue.

FullSizeRender 3When the Ministry visited the caves it was a quiet weekday and there few tourists in the area, so it was a great chance to spend some quality time in the system. Their are a number of monkeys around the area who are opportunistic as most travellers know and will not hesitate to steal anything off you. At the top of the stairs, and recent travellers may be able to update this, but there are the snake men, who, for a small amount of money, wrap a live snake on you for photos.

The Ministry recommends going to the Batu Caves in mid-January as that is when the crowd-drawing Thaipusam festival. The Batu Caves draw the biggest crowds outside of India for the Thaipusam festival where men will pierce themselves and walk up the stairs to reach their deity in the cave system. It is an amazing event and if you are in Malaysia at the time it is a must.