Even though this cave system was known to the natives for a very long time, the western world only got wind of them after the American explorer William Hornaby went looking for them in 1878.
Only 13 kilometers away from the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, the Batu caves system is made out of three large caves and several other smaller ones. All of them have been created by a process of erosion of the limestone mountains in the area some 400 million years ago.
The largest of these caves which is 400 meters long, is known as “The Temple” or “The Cathedral” because it is considered a sacred place of worship and it’s roof is some 100 meters high. Underneath this one, there’s another, longer network called “The Dark Cave” which spans for a total of 2 kilometers and is made out of a series of small caves, tunnels and grotto.
Down here, five species of bat produce enough guano (bat poo) in order to feed and sustain a huge population of over 170 species of invertebrates. The cave complex is also home to a rare living fossil; a rare trapdoor spider that is thought to have evolved 300 million years ago.
Full of amazing and magnificent stalactites and stalagmites, these caves have a hugely important religious significance. Every year in January or February, over 800,000 people gather to this place in celebration, in a Hindu festival known as Thaipusam. During this time people have their skin, lips, tongue and cheeks pierced by metal spikes, taking them in a sort of trance in order to vanquish evil spirits.
The entire are comprises over 500 limestone hills and some 700 caves, offering great opportunities of tourists of all kinds, especially those fond of speleology and cliff face climbing. Being so close to the country’s capital city, getting here will be extremely easy, either by car, train or taxi.