We used our last few days in KL to wind down, but we also wanted to see a bit more of the city. Batu Caves is just outside the city and consists of three caves of different sizes in a limestone outcrop. The biggest cave at the top is a Hindu pilgrimage site and contains a number of Hindu shrines. An enormous golden stature of Lord Murugan stands outside guarding the 272 steps. They are in the process of building a temple and kindly requested that visitors would help by carrying a bucket of sand or a couple of bricks up to the top.
Half way up are the dark caves where we donned hard hats and grabbed torches for a guided educational tour to learn about the habitat which is home to hundreds and thousands of bats. The shear volume of bat guano has created an ecosystem that numerous species of reptiles, small mammals and insects thrive on, including long legged crickets and the trap-door spider. It was well worth the climb and the children were rewarded when we got back to the bottom with some roti from one of a handful of Indian stalls.
We spent our last day exploring the city centre, central market and the eclectic mix of architectural styles. Merdeka square was a great example of this with older Islamic influenced buildings, surrounding what was originally a cricket pitch, opposite a Tudor-style clubhouse, overlooked by modern skyscrapers. Inside one of the lovely buildings on Merdeka square was the (free) National Textile Museum with displays of different types of colourful costumes and beautiful jewellery and how some of the traditional Malaysian fabrics are produced. This was interesting for the children who had already chosen some gorgeous Batik fabric to take home for their teachers (and I had treated myself to some too). We met up with my Aunt and Uncle for our last supper on Jalan Alor; a street lined with street food restaurants and stalls packed with locals and tourists alike. We tried more new foods – tasty mangostine fruit and stingray which was quite delicious despite the girls objections. We were very happy to see a lion dance troupe performing in the street for Chinese New Year – a great way to end our trip as we had been hoping to see that throughout our whole time in Malaysia!
So after 130 days, 32 different beds, 15 flights, 5 countries and countless memories made it is time to head back to reality. We have been so lucky; apart from me having an upset tummy for a couple of weeks in Cambodia we had no sickness or medical emergencies. The only delayed flight we encountered was on our return home and we managed to stay within 10% of our budget. It has been the trip of a lifetime and if it wasn’t time for the children to go back to school we would have carried on going a bit longer. Motivating the girls to do schoolwork was the biggest challenge of the trip! But we would do it all over again in a heartbeat. There are far too many highlights to choose from and the low points were few and far between (and were mostly just being ripped off in a taxi). We have learnt so much about life in the region, history and different cultures and how fortunate we are to live the life we lead. I’m not sure if the children appreciate that yet but I hope they will in years to come.
Thanks so much for reading our blog, we hope you’ve enjoyed it and that maybe we’ve inspired you to consider a trip to those amazing parts of the world one day. There is so much more to explore I wonder where we will end up next…? Until next time! Tạm biệt, Selamat tinggal, លាហើយ!