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Published: February 26th 2016
Old Town White Coffee
Even though I woke up pretty early, I had a leisurely morning drinking coffee, before I decided to venture out. My first stop was more coffee and some breakfast. There is an Old Town White Coffee, a Malaysian chain coffee place, in the mall near where I was staying. It was still quite early, so the coffee shop was pretty empty. I ordered the Kaya and Butter Toast set with eggs, and an iced white coffee. The coffee was nice and sweet, I normally don't drink sweet or milky coffees, but this made a nice change. I tried not to slurp down my coffee as I waited for my breakfast. My toast turned up first, followed a minute or two later by the eggs. My breakfast was good, the kaya toast was a bit too sweet for me to eat regularly, but nice to have once in a while.
It was only a couple of minutes walk to the subway station. The station is undergoing a lot of renovation, I think they are adding an extra line, so it looked like a building site. Because of the construction work only one platform was in use, so all trains were using
this platform. I had saw the train times at the entrance to the station, so I didn't end up getting on the wrong train. The train was meant to take me straight to the caves, however for some reason they have changed the train routes. This meant I had to change at one of the stations in what I presume to be downtown KL. However the train I needed would come on just the other side of the platform, a very easy transfer. I only waited a few minutes for the next train. The journey to the caves took just over an hour, I loved that the trains had women only carriages, however this rule doesn't seem to be strictly enforced as I did see a few men in there. There seemed to be some problem when exiting the station as none of the turnstiles seemed to be working. Inspectors were collecting paper tickets, and there was a card machine so I could swipe out.
The caves are right next to the station. There are lots of hawkers with little tables set up selling things. I passed by them and came across a big green statue, which is Hanuman,
a Hindu god and devotee to the god Rama. It snapped a few photos, it was so nice to be somewhere different and see things that looked totally different. I really enjoyed watching people taking selfies of themselves with the statue of Hanuman. I could see an entrance way beyond the statue, but I just didn't feel like that was the right one judging from the pictures I had seen of the caves. So, I headed in the opposite direction, away from the station and came across the 'proper' Batu Cave. This part was heaving, there were loads of people around and I spied a street of restaurants just across the way.
I could see the giant golden statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu god pf war, and all those steps behind it. I had dressed conservatively in long pants and a top with sleeves, other people were covering up, too, but some weren't. I headed over to the stairs. They were quite busy, but not too crowded where it would feel dangerous. There are 272 steps to reach the cave. Personally, I didn't find them too hard to get up yes I was hot and sweaty, but it
wasn't too strenuous. I spotted a couple of monkeys as I made my way up the steps. Batu Cave is said to be around 400 million years old and were originally used as shelters by the Temuan tribe. The cave is not just one cave but a complex of caves. I reached the top of the stairs and walked into the cave. It was large and pretty bare. There were a few bits and pieces around the entrance way. I walked through the cave, there is a temple off to one side. At the opposite side of the cave there was another set of stairs leading up. I went up them gingerly as they were in a bit of state. The whole cave was a bit of a mess, it looked like it was undergoing some construction work. Here the cave was open, and there were a few different interesting rock formations to look at. There was also a small temple. I felt a bit sorry for the people praying in there, as they had all us tourists walking around outside and gawking in. I walked back out through the cave feeling a bit underwhelmed.
On the way up
I had spotted a sign for the 'Dark Cave', so I decided to go and check that out. I wandered up the stairs to the Dark Cave. It was quite busy inside, far more people on there than I would have imagined. I made my way over to the counter, I saw that the cost of the tour of the cave was 35 ringgit and it would be about a 40 minute wait to go on the tour. I ummed and ahhed for a minute or two about whether I should do the tour or not. In the end I thought sod it, I may as well do it. I paid up and was given a ticket. I then sat on the steps and read my book until it was time (I'm glad that I always travel with a book).
We were given a torch and a hard hat to wear on the tour. We were told the reason for the hard hat was that the snakes that live in the cave climb the walls in order to catch the bats and they can fall off and land on people. Well that put the shits up me. I really
hoped it wasn't true. Our guide was lovely and she talked us through the ecosystem in the cave. It was really interesting. I was really glad that I opted to do the tour. We ventured deeper and deeper into the cave. There were some drawing on the wall, and even a park bench, from before conservation was a big deal. We saw several of the different insects that the inhabit the cave. There were also some interesting rock formations. I also saw some huge spider webs, I dread to think the size of the spider that made those.
Opposite the main entrance to the main cave, there is a row of restaurants. I had been told to go there for lunch. I wandered around a few of them. Some were really busy, another one dead. I found one that had was quite busy. The menu had a few different options on it. My first choice was roti cennai, but they had sold out of that. I hadn't been feeling too hungry, so that is why I wanted the roti, but I thought sod it and ordered the huge banana leaf curry. I was given a giant banana leaf on
a tray, with a big mound of rice on it, a couple of poppadoms, a potato curry, cucumber and chilies, a cabbage curry, and some beansprouts. The waiter also brought me over a set of three big pots, which had different curry sauces in them. I opted for the spicy one and the lentil one, there was another one, but it looked pretty watery and unappealing. I really enjoyed my meal, it was delicious, spicy but not overpowering. The curry was a total bargain at 9 ringgit, including a soft drink.
By the entrance near the subway there is another smaller cave. This is the Ramayana Cave. There is a small entrance fee of 5 ringgit. There were some quite impressive statues outside of the cave, one of a Hindu God and the other like a chariot race of horses. Inside the cave was bigger than I expected. Around the edges of the cave, there were dioramas explaining the life of Ramayana. there was also a sentence or two underneath each diorama to explain who was who and what was going on. The story is regarded as one of the best works of Indian literature, and it was definitely
interesting to go around looking at and reading what was happening. There were also some stone steps at the back of the cave, which I climbed to get a good view down on the cave, there was also some rock formations at the top, but they were a bit meh. i enjoyed this cave as it was quiet and cool, the prefect combination for me. The subway journey home took forever. As I walked down the steps to the train, it pulled away. I had to wait twenty minutes for the next one. I'm glad that I had my book with me. The next subway turned up pretty soon, so I could sit in the luxury of air-con. When I arrived at KL Sentral, I must have just missed a train, as I had to wait twenty minutes for the next one.
I was in for a treat that evening as we took a cab to Sunway Pyramid, a huge shopping mall not too far from where my friend lives. In the mall there is a Hello Kitty Gourmet Cafe and we were going to have dinner there. We got the cab to take us to right on front
of the cafe, so we didn't have to get lost walking through the mall. We entered the cafe and the staff informed us that downstairs was for coffee and cake, and upstairs was for diners. We headed upstairs.The cafe is very cute with lots of Hello Kitty stuff, but not too over the top. It looked pretty classy. I was surprised at the amount of male waitstaff that worked there, but my friend pointed out that it is probably a good place to pick up women. They looked cute and smart in black pants, white shirt, and a baby pink bow tie. The menu was quite extensive, there were pasta dishes, all day breakfasts, burgers, and western style main meals.
We selected the steak and the chicken and mushroom pasta, the server advised us to go for the bigger portion with the pasta as the single is pretty small. We also ordered a couple of coffees. The coffees were served in cups with the Hello Kitty logo, and my friend's latte had Hello Kitty on the top. Our food arrived. They were right about the pasta, a single portion would have been too small for us to share. The
pasta kind of looked like Kitty's hair bow. The pasta was tasty, I like pasta when I am not the one to cook it. I haven't had steak in forever and even though it was a little fatty, it was delicious. So good, I could have eaten it twice. It was served with mashed potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, green beans, and a mustard sauce. The carrots were even cut into the shape of Hello Kitty. Our meal cost 120 ringgit, so not cheap, but not too expensive either. Afterwards, we took a wander around the mall. It is huge! I am surprised we didn't get lost. We took a look around a few clothes shops, I wish Korea had the same selections of clothing stores from England. I an very jealous!
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