A tale of misunderstanding, Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This photo was taken a few months after I started traveling in 2017. In the photo, I’m sitting on the steps of the staircase leading up to the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Batu Caves are a sacred Hindu site that is incredibly popular, both with the faithful and with tourists. It is a beautiful place, complete with giant statues of Hindu deities, several temples, and – how could it be different – scores upon scores of monkeys.

Up until that point, I had only encountered monkeys in Bali before. On Bali, monkeys are cheeky, greedy, and have no respect whatsoever towards humans most of the time. Perhaps foolishly, I thought these monkeys would be different.

I thought they were different because from what I could see around me, the monkeys interacted perfectly well with other visitors. Imagine my delight when I spotted a sole monkey, innocently sitting on the staircase railing.

When I approached, the monkey seemed friendly, accommodating even. So, sensing a photo opportunity, I took a seat on the staircase’s railing. Unfortunately, it seems that I misread the situation terribly.

In retrospect, I should have known better. The only reason for the monkey’s accommodating behavior was likely his anticipation of food. So, after shooting the camera a glance and waiting for what felt like five seconds, the monkey apparently decided it had had enough of my shit – and raised his objections to me wasting his precious time.

I would like to say I’ve become smarter when it comes to inter-species communication. At the very least, I don’t just sit down next to monkeys anymore.

Isn’t experience just the best teacher?

This travel prompt is inspired by Robbie. Thank you!

26 thoughts on “A tale of misunderstanding, Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  1. Haha this is super interesting! But you’ll have more experiences with monkeys in other places in Southeast Asia (Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, etc.) and they will be different from KL 😀

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    1. Bali monkeys were just as cheeky, and those in India were even bolder if anything! Great fun to be around, though, as long as everyone keeps their hands to themselves.

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    1. It’s crazy how quickly monkeys can change from funny and adorable to scary – and then turn back to funny and adorable again. Glad to hear your encounter in Bali turned out to be exciting!

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  2. I lived in Kuala Lumpur with my grandparents for a few summers when I was a little girl.

    The monkeys didn’t mess with me much when we visited Batu Caves but I saw one steal a woman’s hair tie straight out of her hair. 😂

    Yes, the monkeys spared me. However, I did indeed get pooped on by a bat….. As you can imagine I was scared to go outside at dusk for awhile.

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  3. When my husband and I traveled to Costa Rica there were several monkeys in the trees on the beach. One of them pooped right on our beach towel as we were eating lunch and then came down from the tree towards us. They are very cheeky like you said!

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  4. Hi Markus, thank you for participating in this challenge. I really enjoyed your picture and your story. Thank monkey had very long teeth. We get baboons in South Africa, they are much bigger and stronger with equally large teeth. I don’t go near them.

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  5. Hahahhah, oops the final photo. 😂 I saw a monkey run away with a woman’s phone in Bali, while she was trying to take a close up of it.
    Did you have any experience with Indian monkeys when you and Micah were here? 😂

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    1. Bali Monkeys are on another level, they even seem to steal things they know isn’t food, because they know they can trade it for food later.

      In India, one time a monkey joined us while talking to a friend and just kind of sat with us. That was nice. But we also saw monkeys robbing fruit stands and a girl of our cohort got her bag of mangoes taken off her by a gang of monkeys as well. In general, there were just monkeys around all the time and it was usually more of a fun thing than anything else. How about you, any crazy encounters with monkeys?

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