Batu Caves, Malaysia

One of Malaysia’s national treasures and holiest Hindu sites, this complex of giant limestone caves, just 13km north of KL, houses temples that have been drawing pilgrims for more than 120 years. The American naturalist William Hornaday is credited with discovering the caves in 1878, though they were known to Chinese settlers (who collected guano) and, of course, the local indigenous peoples. Note that each cave has a different admission price – the Temple Cave is free – and opening hours vary.
Home to gangs of cheeky monkeys, the caves are always fascinating and well worth making the short trip out of town to visit. Be sure to plan enough time to tour the Dark Cave to learn about the area’s natural history. If you don’t mind crowds, come for the three-day Thaipusam festival in late January or early February, when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims converge at the caves.

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