April 12th, 2014
Port Klang is the port for Kuala Lumpur and it is about an hour from the city. The area outside of the port has a deserted, somewhat desperate look, although we were quickly on a very modern freeway on the way to the Batu Caves - well worth the visit despite the long drive to get there. To reach it unfortunately (or fortunately - depending on how much weight you've gained thus far on the trip), you must climb a steep flight of 272 steps.
The Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, has a very high ceiling and features colorful, strange, and evocative Hindu shrines.
Monkeys and mangy dogs are everywhere.
The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, and there were many Indians making the pilgrimage in their finest saris and adornments which I found almost more fascinating than the caves themselves - already impressive as a natural wonder! Many men had shaved heads and a sandalwood paste covering their skulls. I asked our guide about the significance of this. He said the paste soothed the scalp and the aroma was evocative of religious ceremonies from their past so that it intensified the spiritual connection in the present.
After the caves we went to the Selangor Pewter factory - a real surprise. Very modern and air conditioned (although we were becoming accustomed to being a sticky mess when we return to the ship!). We attended the "School of Hard Knocks" where we made our own pewter bowls.
Finally, we toured the city of Kuala Lumpur and had a brief photo op at the Petronius Tower.
A final interesting tidbit: we had run out of mouthwash so we went to a drug store in the mall at the Petronius Tower and bought Listerine Green Tea - a popular taste for the Asian market!