Malaysia's Mixed Bag
Travel+Leisure India|January 2020
On his maiden trip to Malaysia, Kumar Shree experiences the best of heritage, culture, luxury, and adventure that the multifaceted land offers.
Kumar Shree

I am on the final day of my trip, on a cruise in Langkawi, watching the setting sun paint the sky in different hues—there’s the familiar golden orange and an astonishing blue, a colour that one doesn’t usually associate with sunsets. As I soak up the dreamy concoction of the gorgeous dusk, delectable food, and Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca, I realise my camaraderie with this magical land is a few hours from its culmination. And I invariably find myself looking back at my time in Malaysia.

It began in the city of towering skyscrapers: Kuala Lumpur. Any itinerary of the bustling capital city is incomplete without a visit to Batu Caves. A limestone hill in Selangor, this iconic tourist attraction has three main caves featuring temples and Hindu shrines. My fellow travellers and I scan the majestic statue of Lord Murugan that stands tall at the entrance and exchange surprised glances. An imposing facade embellished with statues of Hindu deities, against the picturesque backdrop of a limestone mountain, makes Batu Caves look like they’re right out of a postcard. A set of 272 rainbow-coloured steps, next to the Murugan statue, take you to the Sri Velayuthar Temple on top, where a similar facade, though humbler in size, greets you. Even if you’re not spiritual, the view of the cityscape from the temple is worth the climb. If you’re a vegetarian navigating Malaysia, you must grab a dosa at one of the many food stalls in the temple complex; vegetarian fare is not easy to find in the country. There are also many stalls selling coconut water, if you want to recharge after the climb.

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