SATURDAY MORNING : JANUARY 21, 2012
Our Day 2 of our Kuala Lumpur trip was devoted to explore caves and experience the sight of bears but definitely NOT in one location. We left our budget hotel in Chinatown at few minutes after 8 in the morning and headed to KL Sentral via taxi cab. At the KTM Komuter train station, we paid one-way-fare of RM 1 (PhP 14) each for adults (Mamy, Tina and me) and 50 sen or RM0.50 (PhP 7) for kids (Gabby); cheap for an almost 40 minute ride en route to Batu Caves.
The KTM Komuter train apparently looks old but still functional nonetheless, and resembles like our local MRT / LRT back home. After 4 to 5 stations, we finally arrived in Batu Caves.
Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur is probably the largest Hindu temple outside of India. It is expected to be packed every Thaipusam, the counterpart of Holy Week amongst us, Catholics. Thaipusam this year is scheduled on the 7th of February, a public holiday in Malaysia; thus expected to have thousands of people particularly from the Tamil community to flock to Batu Caves to venerate.
It is wise to visit this Hindu temple early in the morning; we’re happy to reached it few minutes past 9AM. The sun then was not that scorching hot yet.
Indian shrines like Buddhists’ that are frequently vivid in colors and covered with gold are always a visual feast!
Must have that detail shot…
Our noses led us to these leis for offerings…
Mamy Tessie who loves and adores flowers so much was delighted to see those leis. I love my mom’s energy during travels; she never ceases to pose for photo-ops as if she doesn’t feel arthralgia (read: pain in the joints! -she might kill me for this!
Must have that souvenir shot…
That was our last photo before we ALL conquered the 272 steps of Batu Caves. Yes, even Gabby who was quite hesitant to climb and afraid of heights (who doesn’t?) successfully made it to the top and back down the grounds! He had no choice but to come with us (with no coercion or force, mind you! haha!), otherwise, he’ll be left alone and wait for us (which Tina and I would not do of course).
The facade before the flight of stairs has this fascinating icons…
Then we met our challenge.
The 272 steps!
Here we go.
I wish they constructed the stairs with consideration to those with big foot.
On way up, we saw more interesting sights…
Their faith is inspiring!
…And finally we reached the caves!
Like other tourist spots, vendors of various souvenir items are found present even in a temple like Batu Caves. At least these stalls are far from what’s considered as Holy grounds for the Hindus where they walk barefooted.
If you will look closely at the next photo, you’ll notice another flight of stairs on the left side that takes visitors and faithfuls to the a shrine at the center of the Batu Caves. I died seeing another challenge! I almost yelled “No way! Not again!” while catching my breath.
Needless to say, we went down few minutes after. Among the four of us, it was Gabby who was so relieved when we got off the caves. He never liked the experience of climbing Batu Caves, neither did I. It was damn too tiring for all of us! I salute and bow to those who go up with religious loads like this…
I always find myself clueless each time my son asks questions about other religions. Like, how will you deal when your own kid inquires about this Hindu creature?
Often, I tell Gabby, each religion has their own belief. Safe answer, huh?! I know he’ll understand it more when he grows older. For now, we’re just grateful that he’s exposed to a lot of diversities around him.
Reaching the grounds again, we saw lots of fresh coconuts being sold at RM4.00 each (PhP 56) too perfect as refreshments after a tiring climb. However, none of us did sample those coconuts, haha! Guess what we did immediately after going down the caves? We had BUFFET of Indian breakfast (to be posted on a separate entry at the end of this series)!
Then just before lunch time, we hopped in at KTM Komuter train again heading back to KL Sentral.
From KL Sentral, we took a cab and for the first time, we met a taxi driver in KL who offered a metered trip. Usually, we pay RM10-20 (PhP 140-280) for a 5-less than 10 minute cab ride. Thankfully with an honest driver, it only took RM5 (PhP 70) to get to this shopping paradise…
SATURDAY AFTERNOON : January 21, 2012
Pavilion Mall wasn’t included in the itinerary that my mom prepared for this KL trip but I insisted we have to pay a visit. Not to burn cash on shopping (we had less budget than you think!) or anything but just to experience the “Rodeo Drive” and “Shibuya or Ginza” of Malaysia.
Upon getting off the cab, I heard wows, sighs and amazement from Tina, Gabby and Mamy. All of us were in awe at the sight of the upscale shopping district in Kuala Lumpur.
Adding to our heightened excitement was an astonishingly beautiful, one-of-a-kind, ongoing exhibit of United Buddy Bears just in front of the Bukit Bintang entrance of Pavilion Mall. We felt so lucky and happy to see them all!
We were only expecting to see dragon and lions because of the Chinese New Year celebration but we got more than that! Pavilion Mall in Bukit Bintang is currently the venue of the first exhibition in Southeast Asia of the 147 United Buddy Bears. They are so adorable!
After a quick glance at Wiki, I found this -
“United Buddy Bears – Worldtour
On 6 November 2002, the bears were moved to new locations, including their respective countries embassies in Berlin, or back to country that they were based on. Some of the bears were auctioned off to raise money for UNICEF.
After the circle of “United Buddy Bears” had been such an overwhelming success in 2002, a new circle was created in 2003. The idea was to send the circle on a global tour.
On their global tour, the “United Buddy Bears” promote peace, love, tolerance and international understanding. The circle changes every time it reaches a new city. This is not only due to the local conditions, but also to their constantly changing order, as the bears are always set up in alphabetic order, following the local language of the host country. This always leads to new and sometimes politically very interesting proximities” (sourced via Wiki)
So these bears promote peace, love, tolerance and international understanding. We all need that, don’t we?
We can’t get enough of these bears!
Our fatigue from exploring Batu Caves was gone in a heart beat; thanks to these incredibly FUNtastic United Buddy Bears!
These colorful larger than life buddy bears have gone to countries like Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, Turkey, Japan, Korea, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Poland, Argentina, Uruguay, Kazakshtan, Bulgaria and as mentioned, first in Southeast Asia : Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!
Now, when will these bears visit 168 Mall in Divisoria, Manila? LOL!
The quote on the bear states, “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” –Albert Einstein
Tina, my mom and I were all happy to see Gabby enjoying these bears!
Fun to look at with messages that cut through you…
Stay tuned for more posts about our fun moments at KL.
*This blog series includes : Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge Visit