Batu Caves. Lord Murugan, in all his golden splendour, stands watch as visitors flock to pay their respects. Or to use that flight of stairs as a free stair stepper…
A myriad of bright colours await those who go to Batu Caves in Gombak, the country’s most well-known Hindu worship site that’s nestled within 400 million year-old limestone caves. In order to pay to your respects to supreme Hindu god Lord Murugan — whose towering, 140-feet tall gold statue greets visitors as they approach the entrance — you’ll have to brave a steep ascent of 272 steps. But it’s well worth the trouble.
In addition to the robust workout you get from climbing the stairs, you’ll be accompanied and entertained by a fair number of macaques who’ve long made their home at Batu Caves. Ambling about nimbly on all fours, the monkeys seem like they’re constantly on a mission. Unafraid of humans, they scamper up and down the stairs and banisters, stopping to feast on coconuts or eye things carried by humans. Some of the mama monkeys even have adorable baby macaques with them. Little arms are wrapped around Mama’s belly, clinging tightly for dear life as Mama and the rest of the clan clamber upwards to wherever they are headed.
While there are other very eye-catching things to photograph there, I wanted to zoom in onto these adorable monkeys who would surely charm even the cold-hearted — I saw a tough-looking man try to share his ice-cream with one spiky headed little macaque! Overall, the macaques are even-tempered and friendly towards humans. Be warned, however, this does not mean that this is a green light for you to touch, pet or annoy them in any way. Keep a safe distance, and no one gets hurt. Continue reading
The eating hasn’t stopped. I haven’t even gone through my list of classic Malaysian favourites, and now I’m sidetracked by the contemporary dining scene in Kuala Lumpur. A friend and I went to Acme Bar & Coffee (ABC) last weekend, because she was craving an American-style brunch and I was curious to visit this much talked-about place.
ABC is a full-service restaurant featuring modern American dishes with a slight pan-Asian influence. The wine list, seasonal entrees, lunch selection (includes soups, salads and sandwiches) and desserts all sounded innovative and mouthwatering, but last Sunday, we were there for breakfast, (or brunch as I like to call it) which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. Hurrah for all-day breakfasts!
Weekends get crowded in this double-storey, industrial themed restaurant — I’m glad my friend Cissie made reservations. We were led past a bar — from which coffee and cakes are also served — and into the ground floor dining room. During the day, the space is beautifully lit by natural light seeping in through tinted glass panels at the front of the restaurant, which is perfect for food-photography! The casual yet upscale vibe at ABC is quite inviting, and whether you choose to dress up or dress down during the day, it makes no difference. Outdoor seating is available too, provided it isn’t a searing hot day. Continue reading
Such is Malaysia. Been back for about two weeks now and all it’s been is a daily food fiesta. Around here, it’s hard NOT to be. From budget to upscale, you won’t walk very far before running into a food stand, corner shop or restaurant with at least one popular signature dish, snack or drink, sold at relatively affordable prices, even though I’m told otherwise.
“Everything is expensive these days,” say the Malaysians who’ve been living here for the past decade. “Like a plate of char kuey teow? Don’t even talk about shopping mall prices lah, nowadays even at corner coffee shop, it costs six or seven ringgit — damn crazy man!”
If you say so. MYR7 translates to about USD2.15, and yes the portions are smaller, but I could get two plates worth and it would still trump the price of one order in the States. And the taste…yum! Not everything in Malaysia is so cheap and good, so just be grateful people!
But to the detriment of my slender waistline and defined jawline (:-D,) I’ve been gorging. It doesn’t help that the parents have been making it even easier by taking me to their favourite places — all this delicious food is too much! How the heck do people in Asia stay skinny???
The following pictures are only a sampling:
Char Kuey Teow (Wok stir-fried noodles, seafood and veggies.)