Nov 11 19
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The university has dispatched me to Kuala Lumpur to meet with partner universities and prospective students for a week. As with most of these trips, there’s lots of work and not much time for play, but happily I’ve managed to have a couple of days to see parts of the city.

The first day we went to Batu Caves in the North of the city. The caves are in quite a small limestone outcrop with mostly sheer sides, but the main cavern is impressively large, so large in fact that it has a Hindu temple built inside it.

The statue of Murugan and the staircase to the main cave at Batu caves.

The statue of Murugan and the staircase to the main cave at Batu caves.

The entrance is up 272 very steep, wide stairs behind a huge statue of Lord Murugan. The steps are inhabited by large numbers of Macaque monkeys who pose for photographs and shake down visitors for food. Given the humidity when we were there, I was glad of any excuse to photograph monkeys rather than sweating up the stairs.

Macaque monkey sitting on the staircase railings at the caves.

Macaque monkey sitting on the staircase railings at the caves.

The main Temple Cave is at the top of the staircase, and is an impressively huge chamber, about 100m high, with a number of skylights in the roof through which jungle trees can be glimpsed. I was expecting a substantial temple inside, but in fact it’s more a series of small shrines so you can really appreciate how huge the chamber is.

The temple cave.

The temple cave.

In the afternoon I explored the city a little and then went to the botanic gardens. The gardens were very quiet, possibly because of the heat, but I still bumped into this attractive Water monitor.

A Water monitor I met in the botanic gardens. He's about half a metre long.

A Water monitor I met in the botanic gardens. He's about half a metre long.

The best feature of the trip so far has been the fantastic food. Malaysian food is very diverse, and we’ve been enjoying lots of different varieties. More on that later…

My hotel is right next to the Petronas towers, which are particularly attractive at night.

My hotel is right next to the Petronas towers, which are particularly attractive at night.

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