RSS

Tag Archives: monkeys

Batu Caves

After a few days of catching up with friends and relaxing in Kuala Lumpur, we decided it was time for some sight-seeing on our own. It was a hot, sunny day as we ventured out to Batu Caves, about 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur. The caves were formed out of limestone hills and since then have been made into one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. The large golden statue that stands 140 feet tall outside of the caves is a representation of the lord Murugan.

When we arrived, this golden statue was the first thing we saw. It was impressive not only because of its stature, but because of its intricacy in design. After snapping a selfie with him, we set out for the caves.

Trent and Amg

Outside of the caves people were milling about, some were buying offerings to offer in the temples, others were shopping. We noticed that many people had their heads painted. I’m not sure what the significance of this paint was. I heard several theories; one is that, like in Myanmar, they use it to keep them cool in the heat. Another is that it is a religious tradition. I don’t know if either of these is correct, but they both seemed logical enough to me.

painted heads

Outside there were many Hindu representations- colorfully decorating the outside buildings. Some were even covered with gold.

decor outside

ornate decor

ornate decor2

shadow hindi

When we passed through the ornately decorated entrance, I was asked to put on a sarong since I was wearing shorts. Most of the women we encountered inside the caves were also wearing one. We paid 10 ringgit for the rental and would receive 5 back upon its return.

the entrance

me in front of the temple

Then we embarked on our steep climb up 272 stairs to reach the entrance to the caves. Along the way we saw a monkey, then another, then all of a sudden there were monkeys everywhere! This, to me, was not frightening so much as entertaining. I LOVE monkeys. I think they are so funny (and cute)! These particular ones were aggressive if you had food, but since we just had our water bottles carefully tucked away in our backpack, we seemed okay. Some people were feeding the monkeys, many were simply content just to sit back and eat some discarded or stolen food item, and others were carrying around small baby monkeys wrapped around their stomachs. We must have spent 20 minutes on the stairs, simply watching and enjoying the monkeys. We watched as one clever monkey sank his teeth into a water bottle and let the water drain out while he lapped up the puddle.

Batu Caves

me and monkeys

Trent and the monkey

monkey1

monkey2

monkey slurping up water

monkey with baby

monkey with coconut

T and the mad monkey

Trent and the monkey

When we’d had enough of the monkeys, we continued on into the actual caves. Inside there were more Hindu scenes on display. It was much cooler inside than outside, and we were thankful for the reprieve from the hot sun. We wandered through the caves, taking our time to look at each display and be amazed at the size and stature of the caves themselves! Inside there were more steps as we went up one more level to yet another temple and some more displays. Here there were chickens running around.

art inside

cave opening

inside

After we had finished milling about, we headed back outside. But I wasn’t finished watching the monkeys! We wandered over to the Dark Caves and sat on the stairs watching these silly monkeys frolic about. When we’d finally had our fill, we walked back down the stairs, turned in the sarong, and headed out.

me and the monkey2

me with the monkeys

momma and baby

monkey3

monkey4

We lingered about outside the caves for a while, looking in and out of souvenir shops, and watching people feed and chase the pigeons away. We wandered down towards the subway and saw some more statues and decorations, as well as some natural beauty. By then we were hot and hungry so we decided to head back into KL to visit the Petronas Towers!
Read about this in my next post!

big statue and Trent

boy chasing the pigeons

outside waterfalls

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

Taman Negara- Exploring on our own

It was Wednesday morning, and our last full day in Taman Negara. On our agenda for the day- only one thing- a visit to the Orang Asli tribe, people indigenous to the land. We had a leisurely morning beginning at the Family Restaurant. We began our day with French toast and honey and some eggs and toast. Then we headed next door to Wan Floating Restaurant to book our return tickets for the next day. After all of that was taken care of, we caught a jetty across the river for 1 ringgit each and ventured out to explore the park on our own.

When we got to the other side, we climbed the stairs and took pictures next to the park sign before wandering through Mutiara resort to the walkway beginning. The resort had been absolutely torn apart by flooding and damages. Everything was roped off and under construction. What a pity- I’m sure it had been a gorgeous place to stay!

national park sign

Trent and I holding the flag

resort under construction

huge trees outside the resort

As we wandered along, we stopped in the park’s visitors center and looked at a map of Teresik Trail along with some information about what kinds of plants and animals we might encounter. Along the walls, there were skulls of animals that resided in the park and some plaques explaining the history of the forest. We spent a few minutes here taking in information, but were anxious to hit the trails ourselves to see what we would encounter.

park centre

skull

trail map

walkway

We set out, paying special attention to the flora and fauna around us. We really didn’t have much of a chance to leisurely enjoy our surroundings on our other two tours- on the canopy tour we were hiking like madmen and the night tour didn’t have much we could see for obvious reasons. There were beautiful flowers, brightly colored insects and birds tucked away high up in branches.

flowers

flowers2

flowers3

bee with flowerscentipede

dragonflybird

bird2

bird3

bird4

bird5

bird6

We walked quietly along, hoping for an encounter with some monkeys or some other cool animals. The first major animal we saw was a monitor lizard. Trent saw it first and pointed it out to me. Just below us on the forest floor was this very large lizard that we first encountered in the Philippines. We silently watched him for a while, fascinated by his size and his long, flicking tongue. We snapped several photos and continued on.

monitor lizard

monitor lizard2

monitor lizard3

We saw other interesting things along the way- big nail marks and scratches on trees, very large droppings, and huge trees. We saw squirrels chasing each other up trees.

claw marks

scratch marks

poop

super tall trees

Not too long after, we ran into a group of people, likely on a tour, that had stopped and were watching something. We stopped alongside them and saw several monkeys playing around in the surrounding trees. I love monkeys! I had secretly hoped that we would see some (not that we hadn’t already seen several groups of them on this trip) but was trying not to get my hopes up too high. Most of the group continued on, but we stayed along with another couple, snapping pictures and just watching these fascinating creatures. We got to talking and found out that they are also teachers in China- teaching at an international school just outside of Shanghai. Ironically, Stephanie and James were going to be in Qingdao in a few weeks for an MUN conference. What a small world! We stood there and talked with them until long after the monkeys had disappeared and then continued on our separate ways.

monkey

monkey2

monkey3

monkey4

As we were leaving, we caught sight of another, much smaller monitor lizard, and snapped his picture before he scurried off into the woods.

2nd monitor lizard

We only ventured a little bit further, as the walkway was sectioned off and we could not proceed any further. We wandered back to the deer blind we had sat in the night before and watched for a few minutes, not seeing anything (most life in the rainforest is nocturnal). Then we wandered out into the field. For some reason, it was almost magical. There were beautiful butterflies dancing around each other, dragonflies darting about, and a stillness that was captivating. We were surrounded by greenery and the sun was shining down on us, shimmering off of the small puddles in the field.

butterflies

butterfly in the prairie

deer blind from the field

dragonflies in the prairie

puddles

When we realized what time it was, we had to head back. I couldn’t believe we’d spent nearly 4 hours exploring on our own! I could have spent all day there! But our next tour awaited us, and our stomachs were also telling us that it was time to return. We turned around and headed back the same way we had come, hopped on the jetty and went back to the other side, eager for some lunch and our next adventure!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,