Day 163 – Batu Caves

Trying to find breakfast in Melaka is almost as hard as finding dinner after 7pm. The Lonely Planet suggested cafes but when we got there, it was either closed or didn’t exist (to our knowledge). Not feeling like indulging in yesterday’s Western-style cafe, we ended up in the same Indian restaurant we were in the night before. THEY open at 7.30am, serve coffee and chai AND we were quite certain we would be able to find SOMETHING to eat. And we did. Despite Flo’s best efforts to get a savoury doughnut with chili and spices in it that you dip into curries and chutneys, we had yummy Roti Pisang which is the Indian version of banana pancakes.

Final lap. This is the southernmost point we will reach on the continent.

Final lap. This is the southernmost point we will reach on the continent.

Thus filled, we rode our ‘good-bye lap’ through the city center and left towards Kuala Lumpur. Since we had the whole day, we had planned for the scenic route along the coast instead of taking the motorway. It turned out to be not scenic at all as the GPS showed us the coastline right next to us but all we could see was a row of houses. Also, the road was rather boring. A short stop at Port Dickson didn’t convince us to stay longer so after lunch, we hopped on the motorway again. Being so early gave us the opportunity to see the Batu Caves today.

Maybe we should have read about who this is ...

Maybe we should have read about who this is …

I knew before that the caves are not far from the city but truthfully, they are IN the city. They are also a major tourist attraction which is why traffic picked up…nothing you particularly want after being steam-cooked on the motorway in the afternoon heat. After finding a parking spot, we had a cold drink before starting on the 272 steps up into the largest cave. It has Hindu carvings and a temple in it as it plays a big part in a celebration coming up at the end of January. The two caves used for this purpose are HUGE. Certainly as big as a cathedral and also the biggest cave we’ve ever been in. Preparations for the celebration were going on: Floor newly resealed and parts of temples newly painted.

Apart from looking at the grandeur, there is nothing to “do” in these caves though. It is very cool to go and see the caves (it’s also free) but we had the feeling, we wanted a bit more out of it. Luckily, next door there is the “Dark Cave” leading tourists in and out again in 45min tours. The “Dark Cave” is a habitat for bats, cave spiders and other creepy crawlies and also part of a conservation effort for limestone caves. Flo, being a big fan of limestone caves, and me being kinda meh about the whole thing, signed up for the tour. We only had to wait 15min for the next one and when we were fitted with hard helmets and torches, I got very excited about it, too.

All excited now and ready to go!

All excited now and ready to go!

Our guide was a woman whose English was excellent…unfortunately, the same could not be said about our fellow tour participants who violated rules every so often because they hadn’t understood them. We didn’t see any of the bats (it’s not a good idea to shine a torch on 200.000 bats on a cave ceiling) but you could definitely hear them; not to talk about all the guano on the ground. We managed to see caves spiders, venomous centipedes and cave crickets. Also, one part of the cave system has light coming in from above and it looks so much like Moria that it made me miss a step. πŸ˜›

There was less sunshine when we came back out again and also less tourists. Given that it was also 5pm, we guessed that the caves close around that time. We, now,had our next place to visit: Sunny cycles. On the way down to Melaka one of Rocinante’s warning lights went on and stayed on for the entire trip south. While the manual assured us that this particular warning light is not for anything crucial, Flo wanted to have it checked out. It took about 30min and stripping the bike down to pull the engine up (again) before it could be fixed. The “air intake hose from the air filter” (Flo-speak) was unplugged. Once this was plugged back in, the guys from the workshop forgot something else which led to nine warning lights going on. This was also fixed with plugging something crucial back in.

So after riding, sight-seeing and working on the bike, we arrived back “home” at Sonja’s place and were treated to delicious pizza, a shower and a cozy,comfy bed.