Excursion from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Home to famous skyscrapers, beautiful parks and many historical buildings, Kuala Lumpur can be a city that is hard to escape from.
But despite its hold on the tourist, it is also an excellent place to base yourself while you explore deeper into Malaysia. An abundance of interesting places to visit on a day trip from the capital makes KL – as it is commonly known – one of Asia’s most enjoyable cities.
Although there are organised tours, car hire is probably the best option for exploring, as it offers more flexibility for your travels and has become much more reasonably priced over the years. Any trips you decide to take will obviously depend on your personal tastes, but there are ones to suit everyone’s likes and budgets.
For those interested in Asia’s largest and possibly most endearing animals, a good trip would be to the Elephant Conservation Farm, in Kuala Gandah. The sanctuary, which is managed by the Malaysian Department of Wildlife, is only an hour and a half’s drive from the capital and is located in a tropical rainforest. Visitors can come into close contact with the elephants and are allowed to help bathe them in the shallow river or ride them.
If Malaysia’s rich past interests you the most, then just two hours south of the Kuala Lumpur is the historic trading port of Malacca. It is the oldest port in the country and with Malaysia having been colonised over the centuries by the Portuguese, Dutch and lastly the British, it has a mixed cultural heritage. This is a place where your camera is rarely put back in your pocket and it was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2008. Things you must do include visiting the ruins of St. Paul’s Church and taking a stroll along Jonker Street to experience the famous “Antique Row”.
Another great excursion – and one of the most popular for the Kuala Lumpur-based tourist – is a visit to the Batu Caves, seven miles north of the city. A sacred place for Hindus, not just from Malaysia but all around the world, the site consists of three main caves and several smaller ones, all with wonderfully lavish decorations adorning the walls and ceilings.
During January and February this bustling complex comes further alive during the Thaipusam festival. The celebrations begin at a temple in central Kuala Lumpur when devout Hindus skewer themselves with rods and carry containers of milk either by hand or on specially decorated carriers all the way to the complex as offerings to the Hindu deity Murugan. On arrival the procession climbs the 272 concrete steps up to the temple cave.
For those wary of crowds it is important to note this pilgrimage sometimes attracts as many as a million devotees and tens of thousands of tourists, so it would be worth visiting at a different time of the year. Despite visitors also being warned of the discarded rubbish, bat droppings and thieving long-tailed macaques monkeys, this is one of Malaysia’s truly wonderful sites and makes a perfect excursion from Kuala Lumpur.