Another day of touring around the unique sites of Malaysia...
Far too often we use these international travel hubs, such as KL, merely as stop-over on the way to a dive destination. I highly recommend adding a few days to your itinerary to get out and about and explore some of the rich and interesting cultures in and around these hubs.
Today we went to Batu Caves. These are three large caves, and several small ones.
Temple Cave or Cathedral Cave is the most well known and largest. The ceiling is 100 m above ground and this huge chamber is lit by daylight from several holes in the ceiling. As the name implies, the cave contains various shrines and temples.
Dark Cave is not open for public tours. It contains a large number of endemic cave animals. With permission from the Malaysian Nature Society you can go on special spelunking tours in the cave.
Gallery Cave is at the base of the steps to Temple Cave, and it contains an art gallery. There are statues and paintings showing scenes from Hindu mythology.
272 steps must be climbed to reach the caves.
The main event every year is Thaipusam which is in January. Up to 800,000 people visit the cave during a three-day celebration. Many of the visitors carry kavadis, metal skewers and hooks, which are used to pierce the skin, cheeks and tongue. Since they are in trance, they can not feel the pain.
A bird's eye view of a scale model of the Genting Highlands.
This is a vegas-style casino, theme park, entertainment and resorts complex. It's situated high up in the mountains and is quite impressive.
Chinese and other races are the predominant casino customers, as almost all Malay's are muslim, and gambling is not allowed. However, there is plenty to do besides gambling!
Even the drive up to the Highlands provides glimpses of the societies and cultures that make Malaysia such an exotic destination.
Wendy poses with a giant Durian fruit, one of the native fruits of Malaysia. There are 30 recognized Durio species, all native to Southeast Asia and at least nine of which produce edible fruit.Only one species is available in the international market; other species are sold only in their local region.
It's always a somber reminder that shark fin soup is such an engrained part of Asian culture. Hopefully this will change over time, as the younger generation is already trying to influence their parents about how destructive shark fin harvesting is to the ocean environment.
Shark fin soup can be found throughout all of Asia, and beyond. We have plenty of Chinese restaurants back in New York that serve it.
A significant portion of the shark fin trade originates in Central and South American countries, where fishermen fin sharks illegally and export them to Asia.
At 1483 feet (452m) tall, the Petrona Towers are the second tallest buildings in the world (they were the tallest when built in 1996), next to the Tapei Financial Center. The Petrons Towers are tapering twin towers that are connected by a sky bridge, and they share an Islamic-influenced geometrically polygonal shape. The towers have 32,000 windows.
We also took a little excursion to Putrajaya.
This image was taken at a Chinese temple, which had life sized animals of the Chinese horoscope laid out in a beautiful garden in KL.
This is the Putra Mosque in the heart of Putrajaya.
Putrajaya, covers an area of 4,931 hectares of land, and is situated 25 kilometres from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur in the north and 20 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang in the south.
About 40% of Putrajaya is natural. Lush greenery, botanical gardens are spread across the landscape enhanced by large bodies of water and wetlands. Five confluences meet at the north forming a main waterway which flows across the city area.
Putrajaya is the new Administrative Centre of the Federal Government of Malaysia. Situated within the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), the development of Putrajaya marks a new chapter in the history of modern city planning in Malaysia. It is set to be a model garden city with sophisticated information network base on multimedia technologies.
In Malay Putra = Prince and Jaya = Success.
Termed as Malaysia's first Intelligent Garden City, Putrajaya will become a vital development catalyst due to the role it will assume as a model city - as the nerve centre of the nation and an ideal place to live, work, conduct business and engage in sports and recreational activities.
The Seri Wawasan Bridge is one of the main bridges in Putrajaya. This futuristic cable-stayed bridge which has a sail ship appearance, connects Precinct 2 on the Core Island to the residential area of Precinct 8.
Wendy really misses her dog Luna, as she poses with one of the life-sized Chinese horoscope characters in KL.
Tomorrow, Wendy is off to the Tioman Mega Dive event.
TMD is a four day ‘festival’ gathering of scuba divers and enthusiasts from various parts of the world. This annual event will include various diving related activities, including an underwater photo competition. Participants will include enthusiasts, novices as well as professionals.
This yearly event is expected to be the biggest annual gathering of diving society in the Asia Pacific region.
Stay tuned for more coverage ...
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