After an early rise and quick bite to eat, we set off to our next destination. We were scheduled to check out the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, situated about an hour and a half out of KL. On the way Ganesh (our incredibly knowledgeable driver) pointed out a massive statue depicting Lord Murugan outside of Batu Caves. Unveiled in 2006, this particular depiction of Lord Murugan is the largest in the world. We wanted to take a couple of photos and learn more about the construction of this enormous statue, so Ganesh advised us to experience a quick half-hour wander around the caves.
I have honestly never seen anything like it. The Batu Caves weave in and out of an enormous limestone hill – the sheer size and eerie beauty of the main cave (The Temple Cave) is truly a sight to behold. The entrance it is adorned with numerous depictions of Murugan’s battle against the demon Soorapadam, all intricately carved into the limestone rock. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India, and is the focal point for the Thaipusam festival in Malaysia. In 2007, over 1.5 million people made the pilgrimage to Batu Caves, making it one of the largest gatherings in history.
Reaching the mouth of the main cave is actually quite daunting in Malaysia’s intense humidity, as one needs to climb 272 steps. Needless to say I struggled getting to the top, but once you get up your effort is more than rewarded!
After admiring Batu Caves, we continued our journey towards Kuala Gandah Elephant Sactuary. It was established in 1989 as part of an elephant relocation project set up by the Malaysian Government in order to help rehabilitate troubled elephants.
Visitors can pay to feed the elephants, ride them, or even swim with them (depending on the weather). It also has significant amounts of information on this mighty pachyderm thanks to signs around the sanctuary.
We were pretty knackered at this point, and the group pretty much passed out on the way home. On arrival we got showered and prepared for a tour of the 3 Mid Valley Hotels run by CHM: The Boulevard, The Gardens, and Cititel Mid Valley. Needless to say they are beautiful, and surprisingly cheap ($70 a night at Cititel) for the quality of service and comfort you get. It definitely beats most of the places I’ve stayed in at Perth.
We dined at Ri-Yakitori, an amazing Japanese restaurant in The Gardens Restaurant. True to its name, the yakitori (grilled chicken) cooked there is phenomenal. After a quiet drink after dinner I bade the others farewell and went to bed.