Other cities in Malaysia

Batu Caves

Once a year — normally in late January or early February — these limestone caves on the fringe of Kuala Lumpur play host to one of the most remarkable spectacles in the world, the festival of Thaipusam. Thousands of Hindus (and a few others) are brought into trances and impaled through the face and other regions with metal poles and hooks. As many as as million bystanders offer their support (or just gawk) as the devotees make their way up the 272 numbered steps into the mouth of the cave.

The rest of the time, visitors to Batu Caves are outnumbered by the monkeys that frolic on the steps and the roofs of the many temples around the complex. In addition to the caves and temples, there are a number of vegetarian restaurants near the base of the steps. During Thaipusam the food is (understandably, given the crowds) pretty lousy, but the rest of the time it's good.

Getting there

Buses leave from Medan Pasar, near Masjid Jamek in central Kuala Lumpur.

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