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Kuala Lumpur - Thien Hon Temple, Batu Caves, Petronas Towers

View South East Asia Grand Tour 2023 on Grete Howard's travel map.


After a great sleep, I wake to a glorious sunrise over Kuala Lumpur this morning.


Breakfast here at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is a grand affair, with so much choice from the buffet.

Individual little butter dishes


I try some local food followed by French Toast.


From our room, we look over the plaza in front of the Petronas Towers Shopping Centre, where a number of people dressed in pink create the Cancer Awareness sign for a publicity campaign.


Thean Hou Temple

Yoga, our local guide, arranges for the driver (Peter) to drop me off at a rear entrance on a hill at the top of the temple so that I don’t have to climb all the steps from street level.

The rear entrance

Fortune telling offered by the rear entrance

Numerous steps at the front entrance


The temple, completed in 1987, was built by Hainanese living in Malaysia and is dedicated to the Chinese Sea Goddess Mazu.


Light offerings

Featuring elements of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, Thean Hou is one of the largest temples in South East Asia.

Details of the intricate ceiling

The temple is popular with wedding couples

Great views over the city from the top

Royal Palace

The Istana Negara is the official residence of the supreme King of Malaysia, who relocated to Kuala Lumpur in 2011 upon the completion of this palace.


The palace complex boasts a total of 22 domes and is a fusion of traditional Malay and Islamic architecture



One of the guards at the palace

A change of guards arrive

Batu Caves

The caves themselves are amongst the oldest in the world, estimated to have been organically formed some 400 million years ago in an area of high limestone outcropping. Although having previously been used as a shelter by the local tribe, the cave was not ‘discovered’ until some time in the 1870s by Chinese settlers who were collecting guano.


The actual temple, which is nestled in the heart of the cave, was built in 1920 and is a popular attraction for devotees and tourists alike. Realising that I am unable, and David unwilling, to climb the 272 steps to reach the cave, Yoga suggests we just enjoy the atmosphere around the temle instead, where there are a number of other shrines.


The original steps were wooden, later replaced by concrete as the wood wore out. In 2018 the 272 steps were painted, each set of steps painted in a different range of colours.


In front of the temple stands the 42.7 metre (140ft) high golden statue of the Hindu God, Lord Murugan. Dating from 2006, it is the tallest statue in Malaysia, and the third tallest Hindu statue in the world. The cave complex is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India.


Cheeky monkeys roam the area, hoping to be fed by visitors, and bird feeding is positively encouraged.



With my cold sore still angry and pussing, I wear a mask to protect myself from the sun.


Taking a rest from exploring, we stop in an Indian restaurant in the grounds of the temple where Yoga treats us to some chilled fresh coconut.


National Mosque – Masjid Negara

This enormous mosque, completed in 1965 in honour of Malaysia’s independence from Britain some eight years earlier, can hold up to 15,000 devotees for its Friday prayers. The 73-metre high minaret is shaped like a folded-up umbrella, as a nod to the tropical climate here in Malaysia.


The umbrella theme continues in the dome (you can just about make it out in this photo), which is created to look like a half-open umbrella, and it has 16 folds to represent the 11 states of Malaysia (before Sahah and Sarawak were added), plus the five pillars of Islam.


Reflecting pools and fountains are spread throughout the compound. The mosque is a bold and modern approach in reinforced concrete with a contemporary expression of Islamic art and ornamentation, symbolic of the aspirations of a then newly independent nation.


The mosque was the largest in Malaysia until the completion in 1988 of the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque in Shah Alam.


Walkie Talkie Building

From the grounds of the mosque, we spot the Walkie Talkie Building, which at 679 metres, is set to be the 2nd tallest skyscraper in the world upon completion (after Burj Khalifa in Dubai).


Independence Square

Historically important, this is the place where the British Flag was lowered and the Malaysian flag was raised for the very first time at midnight on 31st August 1957. Many important buildings surround the square, but many workmen and filmmakers mingle around, with scaffolding and marques being erected, and one of the main roads closed off, rendering parts of the square inaccessible to accommodate a pro-Palistian demonstration.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

The Royal Selangor Club was known as The Spotted Dogs Club in colonial times for all the dalmatians tied up outside when the wives met for coffee while the men were working.

Modern skyscrapers behind

We continue our whistle-stop exploration of the city by car.

The very ornate Kuala Lumpur Railway Station



KTMB Corporate Headquarters

Jamek Mosque

Built in 1909, the mosque remains the city's central house of worship for the Muslim community.


It gets rather lost nestled between the much taller modern buildings.


Kuala Lumpur means 'confluence of muddy rivers'. After dark, mist is created over the river, lit by a blue light.

Street murals

A brief story of Chinese tin miners who were the founding fathers of Kuala Lumpur


Sri Mahamariamman Hindu Temple

Founded in 1873, Sri Mahamariamman is the oldest Hindu Temple in Malaysia and features an impressive five-tiered gopuram (tower).


The dramatic 22.9m tall gate tower is richly decorated with depictions of Hindu gods sculpted by artisans from southern India.



Yoga, who is himself Indian and a Hindu, brings us a bag of typical Indian snacks, popular at Diwali. They are crunchy and savoury and not at all spicy as I expected.


Petronas Twin Towers

We drive slowly through Chinatown without stopping, before arriving at the Petronal Twin Towers near our hotel. We have tickets to scale the towers later this afternoon, so meanwhile we wander around the most expensive shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, found within the lower part of the Petronas building.

The famous towers


With plenty of time to spare, we stop at the huge food court within the shopping complex.


There are so many choices, so many different cuisines, but nearly all of them are large portions, so we finally choose a couple of wraps.

Chicken shawarma (mine)

Felafel wrap (David's)

At our allocated time, we head for the entrance to the Tower Experience.


It is all very well organised (commercialised), with small groups being allowed to enter every few minutes so as not to crowd each place. With lots of standing around and very slow walking, I struggle big time with my arthritis, so I give up after the first bridge and return to the ground where I find a comfortable seat. My camera goes with David, so the images below are a combination of mine and his.


The following information is taken from their website:

Petronas Towers is the world’s tallest twin building.


The design of each tower floor plate is based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares, creating the shape of an eight-pointed star. Architecturally, these forms represent the important Islamic principles of unity, harmony, stability, and rationality.


Each tower is 88 storeys high, measuring 452 metres, and weighs 300,000 tonnes which is equivalent to about 42,857 adult elephants.


The construction of the Twin Towers took 6 years and cost over RM 6 billion (USD $1.6 billion, or £1.2 billion) to complete.


The towers have a ground-breaking 120 metres of solid foundation underneath their massive concrete footings.


The Twin Towers include 29 double-decker high-speed passenger lifts, six heavy-duty service lifts, and four executive lifts. Each passenger lift can carry up to 52 people total, while the executive lifts can carry about ten. The speeds of these elevators vary between 3.5m/s and 6.0 m/s, depending on the zones they are servicing.


The observation deck in Petronas Twin Towers is at Level 86, the 2nd highest level of both towers. The deck allows visitors to enjoy the spectacular cityscape view from 370 meters.


Weighing 750 tons, the double-decker skybridge acts as the connector between the two towers on the Level 41 and 42. Interestingly, the skybridge is not fully attached to the main building - engineers deliberately designed the skybridge this way to make allowances for small movements during high winds and other unpleasant weather. This prevents the bridge from breaking away from the towers. The bridge is 170m above the ground and 58.4m long.


Once David has completed the tour to the top and returned to ground level, we walk the short distance back to our hotel, where we chill and watch the pro-Palestine demonstration on the plaza below.



With my back and sacroiliac joint giving me a lot of pain, we decide to order room service this evening. A porter arrives with a small table on wheels covered with a white tablecloth, starched napkins, and an orchid in a vase.


My prawn laksa with a flask of sauce to pour over the food in the bowl, and a spicy dip.


David’s lasagne is kept warm in an oven underneath the table – I have never seen that before!


And so ends our time in Kuala Lumpur, the penultimate destination on this Grand Tour of South East Asia, expertly arranged by Undiscovered Destinations.


Posted by Grete Howard 13:48 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala_lumpur batu_caves monkeys mosque caves malaysia pigeons royal_palace southeast_asia chinese_temple petronas_towers national_mosque hindu_temple thean_hou_temple undiscovered_destinations room_servce independence_square masjid_negara grand_tour_of_south_east_asia mandarin_oriental_hotel istana_negara lord_murugan murugan kuala_lumpur_railway_station jamek_mosque tewmple sri_mahamariamman pwetronas_twin_towers sij pro-palestine_demonstration

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I only had a short time in KL, but seeing how your day went I need to go back one day and explore more!

by Ils1976

I really like Kuala Lumpur. It was our third time there, the other two occasions being just as short a visit.

by Grete Howard

Wow, I love this sort of whirlwind city tour and clearly KL has a lot to offer! I love the vibrancy of the Hindu temples but the modern National Mosque also appeals, being rather different from others I've visited. The painted steps at the cave are wonderful for photos, and going up the towers would be a must too :)

by ToonSarah

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