One of the absolutely best things about expat life is the chance to explore new countries. Not just your new host country, but also the surrounding countries. Make the most of your time abroad! Take advantage of inexpensive flights and visit the countries close to you while you have the chance. Flights from my home country of the USA to overseas destinations are often expensive due to the long distance needing to be flown. So when I am living overseas I do my best to see as much of the surrounding area as possible. By maximizing my time overseas I’ve been able to visit a lot of countries.
One country I visited while living in Australia was Malaysia. Because Australia is closer to Asia than the US is, my flights to Asia were cheaper than I’d normally pay. My friend and I booked a few cheap AirAsia flights and spent a few weeks hopping around southeast Asia. I think we paid around $450 USD for about 7 flights.
While in Asia, one of our quickest stops was the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. We had been planning to visit Singapore, and since Malaysia and Singapore are neighbors, it just made sense to add it as a stop on our itinerary. We could have spent days there, but instead we really only had about 24 hours there. But we made the most of it and highly recommend it! In our two half days there we managed to see the Petronas Towers and surrounding areas, the Berjaya Times Square shopping mall and the world’s largest capsule vending machine, Chinatown – where we stayed, the Kuala Lumpur Tower, and the Batu Caves. Plus we wandered around and saw other local sites. We also ran through the city during a torrential downpour, but that’s a story for another day. I say all that to say, you can see a lot in one day! Don’t let a lack of time stop you from going places!
The Batu Caves – Malaysia’s best free offering
Of all the things we did in Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves were the highlight, and they are free! Definitely a win-win. You have to take the train to get there, and if you want to use the restroom there there will be a small fee. There is also the dark cave you can pay to enter, but other than that the main caves are free. We didn’t pay to enter the dark cave as we didn’t have the time, but we more than enjoyed the free caves.
Once you arrive by train, you will have to climb 272 steep stairs to get to the entrance of the caves. I tried counting the stairs myself on the way up and the way down, but lost count along the way due to pausing to catch my breath, stopping to photograph monkeys, and getting distracted trying not to fall down the stairs – they are steep! But Google tells me there are 272.
Once you reach the top of the stairs you are at the entrance to a huge limestone cave. It was way bigger than I had imagined and took my breath away once I got inside.
Once you are inside you will see statues and shrines, people lighting candles and incense, and monkeys everywhere. Be careful because they do steal things from people. I saw monkeys stealing things not only from tourists but also from the local monks’ offerings.
The Batu Caves are a must-see when in Kuala Lumpur. They are just outside the city, so do allow some time to get to them, but put them on your list of places to see when in Malaysia! And be sure to bring your camera!
Have you been to Malaysia? What were your favorite parts?