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  • Writer's pictureRick

West Malaysia Day 12: Batu Caves & Central Market in Kuala Lumpur

I got up at around 6:30am due to noises from the traffic outside SCC Gateway Chinatown Hotel despite the windowless room. Anyway, I washed up and get ready for the day ahead.

First would be to fill my stomach. I walked down Petaling Street Market, which was always quiet in the morning. Several food stalls were already opened selling local breakfast but without coffee. To save time, I walked into Tang City Foodcourt (唐城美食中心) where I could have a meal and coffee at the same time.

I looked around for something special or not so common as in the towns that I had passed through. And I saw a stall, named Lian Kee (莲记), selling prawn mee and lam mee (淋面). A sense of familiarity struck me. I had been to this food court before and ate the same noodle dish from the same stall, though not sure if the owner was the same. I checked the date on my phone to ensure it was in 2024, not 2017.

The lam mee used the same thick noodle as the Hokkien mee I ate the night before. The dish looked appetising and tasted nice.

After breakfast, I retraced my steps through Chinatown to Pasar Seni LRT Station, up to the second level and followed a long overhead bridge to the new KTM ticketing platform — outside Kuala Lumpur Train Station.

The ticket to Batu Caves was RM2.50 (one-way) and RM5 (two-way), no concession for purchasing two-way. Since I would not be detouring to other places along the railway line, I purchased the two-way ticket to save the hassle of buying the return ticket later. The time was 8:49am.

I went to the washroom and missed a train, but it did not take long for the next Batu Caves-bound train to arrive. I boarded the train, waited for some time and it departed at 9:17am. There were not many passengers on the Friday morning. The train arrived at Batu Caves Station at 9:59am.

The half empty train gave an impression that there may not be a lot of visitors to Batu Caves but I was wrong. The place was crowded despite the unforgiving hot weather. Admission to Batu Caves was free, except for the numerous art galleries at RM5 ~ RM10 per entry. Fortunately, the tall Murugan Statue and the ascending steps to the large cave above were free.

I climbed the steep 272 steps up to the Temple Cave to tour the place. Apart from people, there were pigeons flying around too — you would not be able to tell the difference between a rain drop and bird droppings. Once the primary objectives were achieved, it was time to get out of the hot and crowded spot. I needed a shower too.

Batu Caves

I was back at Batu Caves Station at 11:22am. A check on the train schedule showed the next train departure would be at 12:05pm. Since the train was already waiting in the station, I boarded it and enjoyed the air-conditioning for 40 minutes before it moved off.

Alighting at Kuala Lumpur Train Station was a good opportunity to check out the historical train station. I went out through the main entrance to take some photos of the buildings — the train station itself and the KTM Berhad office in another colonial-style building.

However, exiting from the main entrance of the train station put me on the other side of the fenced-up railway track. It took me some 15 minutes to find a detour to get to Pasar Seni Station and proceeded to the Central Market — “Pasar Seni” is Malay for “Central Market”.

Central Market was a historical landmark but inside the "market" was rather modern — it had became a shopping mall in a historical shell. I briefly looked around, had a roasted chicken rice for lunch and left.

I walked back to the hotel just several hundred metres away. Why did I not visit the famous Petronas Twin Tower since I had time? Because I had been there in 2017 and, also, the towers were best viewed at night.

Back in my room, I did some thinking and decided to head to Ipoh next. A quick check on the availability of both the hotel I wanted and bus ticket to Ipoh Amanjaya Terminal before I placed the bookings. For the bus ticket from KL TBS, I paid an extra RM1 to get a direct boarding pass. No way I would want to queue at any ticket counters in TBS, especially on a Saturday.

I stayed in the room until it was time for dinner.

At 5pm, I headed down to Jalan Sultan outside Petaling Street Market to a stall known as Hong Kee Claypot Chicken Rice & Portuguese Grilled Fish, which had a long queue the night before.

The stall was supposed to open at 5pm but when I reached the stall 8 minutes later, it was already more than half full. Those already seated must had queue at the stall before it opened. I ordered their small claypot chicken rice, added with a raw egg, and a vegetable dish. The claypot chicken rice was superbly cooked without a single rice sticking to the bottom of the claypot. It was really good. Despite ordering a small one, the rice was quite a lot and I could not finish it all.

After dinner, a short stroll around Chinatown to check on some street arts — the "Rage Against the Machine" artwork by Ernest Zacharevic was gone — and I was back in my room again, getting ready to check out the next day.

As a precaution, I emptied my backpack and checked for any cockroaches that might have crawled into it before putting back all the stuffs — I did bring home a cockroach on my Taiwan trip in April 2023.


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