By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop
Set in a limestone hill about 15 kilometres north of the city centre, Batu Caves is one of the most important sites of Hindu worship outside India. A 43-metre-tall golden statue of the deity Lord Murugan stands sentinel at the foot of the stairs leading to Temple Cave, the most awe-inspiring of the three main caverns – but be prepared for a steep climb up 272 steps to see it. Feeling more adventurous? Batu Caves is also a popular rock-climbing destination, with 170 routes covering eight major crags. Damai Wall is suitable for beginners, while Nanyang Wall is more challenging. Climbing is free and you can rent equipment on site.
Relax with a pampering treatment at Hotel Majestic’s spa, the design of which was inspired by the Art Nouveau style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Willow Tearooms in Glasgow. The three-hour Queen Victoria’s Lavender treatment, which includes a “drift away” massage, is said to induce deep relaxation.
The free light-purple Go KL city shuttle buses make mall-hopping along Jalan Bukit Bintang easy. Head to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur for upmarket fashion, including shoes by Malaysian-born Jimmy Choo, and Starhill Gallery for jewellery and luxury watch brands. The go-to for tech gizmos is Plaza Low Yat, where more than 300 shops over seven floors offer good deals for those ready to haggle hard.
Feed lorikeets and ostriches at the world’s largest walk-in free-flight aviary. Just 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre, KL Bird Park offers a rare opportunity to get close to more than 200 species, including several types of hornbill. Arrive early in the day before it gets too hot and allow an hour or two for a leisurely stroll around the 8.5-hectare park.
Art on the move
Discover contemporary Malaysian art at Ilham, a public gallery in the swanky Foster + Partners-designed Ilham Tower, just a short walk from the city centre. The next major exhibition (21 October to March 2018) focuses on the growth of the nation’s modern art movement and looks back at GRUP, the seminal 1967 exhibition of works by the movement’s pioneers.
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