Overcoming the Travel Blase at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

I felt kinda bad when we arrived at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur.

I had an inkling it would be that way and although the outcropping of limestone cliffs that appeared as we drove up the highway was captivating, I knew it wouldn’t be enough.

Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur

Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur

The golden Hindu god, one of the most sacred and biggest shrines out side of India was impressive, as was the never ending staircase shrouded by thick greenery leading up to enlightenment.

But once my head peaked over the top and I walked into the cool cave, my shoulders sunk a little.

“Oh is that it?”

Some of our group were moved and I kept silent so as to not dampen their excitement or to take away the experience for them.

I also didn’t want to sound like a travel snob.

Unfortunately at times it can’t be avoided. It’s not that you want to sound like you are better than the experience in front of you, or those who are really gaining something from it, it’s just because you’ve had the experience before, sometimes many times, and often at places that impacted you more.

The Batu caves didn’t compare to other places I’d been. I feel sucky even writing it.

I was trapped in the travel blasé moment.

You know like after you get by the third month of your European trip.

You could be standing in front of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, but if it is your third month in, you kind of shrug your shoulders and snort a little before turning away. (sometimes whispering Just Another Effing Church – you know the AFC)

It’s a terrible affliction and one that I was keenly aware of while wandering around the holy grounds of the Batu caves.

“Focus on right now Caroline. Focus on what is good about here, not on where you have been before. Forget the comparison.”

If you compare, you take away what is precious about the experience in front of you.

So I dug a little deeper and found little things to delight over.

The joy that some of my travelling buddies were feeling at being there. There was no way I wanted to let my snobbish, jaded self destroy that experience for them.

The Hindu statues on the roof of the shrine and the impromptu blessing that was happening underneath it.

Batu caves Kuala Lumpur

 

Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur

The Hindu deities aglow and tucked away in the corner beneath the stalactites.

Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur

The birds swooping overhead moving from one stalagmite perch to another and artfully eluding my camera lens.

Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur

And the monkeys waiting to steal our food and glasses on the staircase to eternity. I delighted in watching the long-tailed macaque’s antics and seeing their babies clutched to their Mommas, wishing mine were with me to do the same.

long tailed macaque monkeys
Yum yum
monkeys batu caves Kuala Lumpur
Why did you steal that one for? I told you to get the ice cream
monkeys Batu Caves Malaysia
Hold on tight bubba. These here are fighting times!
Batu Caves long tailed macaque
Do you mind?
long tailed macaque
Yep, I’m feeling pretty jaded too.

It is easy to overcome the travel blasé when you arrive at just another…

Take the time to savour the moment that exists in front of you.

Have you experienced the travel blase before?

How did you overcome it?

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Caz
Caz Makepeace is the co-founder of y Travel Blog and has been traveling the world since 1997, first solo, then with her husband, and now with her two daughters. Get her free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow her on Google+

25 Comments on “Overcoming the Travel Blase at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur”

  1. Yes, I’ve had that feeling before — like in Egypt, when I definitely felt “all templed out” after seeing yet another ancient temple. They were all great, but a certain fatigue factor does set in.

    The Batu Caves, however, do look like something I’d efinitely like to see!

    Reply
    • IT’s amazing how the fatigue factor can get you. Sometimes you really have to work on feeling excited. I could imagine how it would hit you in Egypt.

      Reply
  2. I was in that moment recently. We were really blessed to be on a 19 day cruise of Northern Europe this summer (a vacation that I was acutely aware that for many of my friends would be a trip of a lifetime.)

    It was a very port intensive cruise, we were in a new place almost every day for 19 days straight. After a while, I couldn’t help buy feel guilty for thinking that all of the wonderful northern European cities and cute little villages were starting to look the same…

    Reply
    • I understand that feeling all too well. You have to consciously give yourself a cheek slap to snap out of it.

      Reply
  3. I’ve never been able to pinpoint the feeling before. Like sometimes I think now that I have seen the “big ticket” items will I ever be “in-awe” again… this is perfect. Must remember to not compare and just enjoy the moment!

    Reply
    • I love the feeling of awe so sometimes when it is not there I feel a little ripped off. But, you can find the awe in every place and thing really. I think our children teach us that- to delight in every moment

      Reply
  4. P.s. The limestone caves in Ipoh were amazing, much more amazing then the Batu Caves… Try those next time :D

    Reply
  5. I had that experience sometimes, and I guess the feeling will creep up on me sometimes again, but I’m really quick at getting over it. By that I mean literally like 1 – 5 minutes, and yes, just like you I always find there are always things that can tickle your interest.
    Thanks for coming up with that wonderful fitting word, travel blase describes it really well :-)

    Reply
    • My pleasure Ramin. I think you just have to have the attitude of making the most out of it. It’s really up to you how your experience goes. We can either complain or search for something to rejoice over instead.

      Reply
  6. Throughout my child-hood, our family holidays meant that my parents would visit every friggin’ church there was -this is really how I remember it: any tiny village we’d drive through would mean a stop for two excited adults and four bored to death children. Although I suspect us kids to be a bit traumatized by this, it also helped me becoming somewhat immune to the blasé-syndrome. I got that each church was somehow special, that it had a history, that it was the centre for the people in this place, and that it was upon me to make my time there worthwhile – which is true for many sights. Sometimes something is not ‘special’ at all, compared to other stuff you’ve seen, but the way it is represented tells you that the people connected to it are really proud of it and care for it – and they want you to experience it that way, too. And you can – it just depends on your attitude and what you make out of it. Sometimes that means you will have to make an effort – and you do get tired, but then you get back up on the horse and look for the things you appreciate because otherwise: what would be the point of being there? And your post is basically the how-to-do-this for the “Oh god, not another cave/church/waterfall/…!” syndrome – I think it’s really cool and spot-on:)! Thanks for sharing your dark moments of cave-arrogance;)!

    Reply
    • Pleasure Vera! I liked hearing your perspective, it’s great that you learned to look for the things to appreciate from a young age. It is so up to us to make our time worthwhile.
      I had to go to church every Sunday so I understand that boredom all too well. IT was a scary place for me.

      Reply
  7. I know the feeling of just another church. Yet that place looks truly unique and amazing.

    Travel fatigue is maybe influencing your appreciation of the surroundings?

    Reply
    • Yeah. Probably not travel fatigue but just that I’ve seen so many places like it before. So in that sense it would be fatigue!

      Reply
  8. I hate that feeling. I think it comes with just being run down. If I have the time, the best solution for me is often to take a step back and just have some time out. I like your solution though for when I don’t have the time to take a break within travels. Focusing on the now and rediscovering a childlike appreciation for things is definitely the way to go :)

    Reply
    • Yes! Sometimes you really do need to take a break when you start to feel like that. Have a taste of the normal life again and then return to the travel buzz refreshed. It’s great now to travel with the children as they really help you to see things through fresh eyes and get excited by them.

      Reply
  9. This is a great post. I think most travellers have felt this way before at some point or another. in the south pacific it was snorkelling spots. however celebrating the little joys is a fantastic idea!!!

    Reply
    • I can understand how easy it would be to compare snorkelling spots and become jaded by them. WE also snorkelled in Malaysia and I started to feel that same sort of dissatisfaction with it, but then I swum a bit further out and discovered lots of beautiful fish and coral.

      Reply
  10. Been here a couple of times and Batu Caves never ceases to amaze us. If you haven’t attended the Thaipusam festival on these ground then must experience it :)

    Lovely baby monkey photos!

    Reply
  11. First visited Batu Caves in 1988 and found it to be quite an amazing experience. We again visited Kuala Lumpur last September and at first were not sure about going back as we had seen it all before. However we decided to go again and the second time 24 years after the first visit was a very different experience and we took in a lot more of the surrounds. I think you get a different perspective on places over a period of time.

    Reply
    • IT would have been fascinating to see it 24 years ago! I think I would have been amazed as well.

      Reply
  12. This is SO true. I rememeber feeling that the first time went to Kending National Park in Southern Taiwan. It’s marketed as their premium beach community complete with beach culture, perfect surf and golden sand beaches. Coming from Hawaii I was completely UNDERwhelmed it wasn’t even funny. There was no beach culture to speak of, as the Taiwanese are deathly afraid of sun rays, the surf was sloppy to nonexistent, and the water was topped off with this strange brown foam that was being dumped into the ocean by a big pipe leading off into who knows where. Unlike you, I had a harder time just being in the moment. I’m afraid I couldn’t put off that feeling of disappointment despite the fact that a lot of my friends were really enjoying it. But thanks for the insight. I’ll try a little bit harder next time.
    JRinAsia recently posted..Filipino Food in Four Courses: Adobo Alternatives Beyond Balut
    JRinAsia recently posted..Filipino Food in Four Courses: Adobo Alternatives Beyond Balut

    Reply
    • Yeah, that would have been a real hard one to find a moment to. I’m not sure strange brown foam could do it for me either. There are definitely some places that just won’t float your boat no matter how hard you try to find something. And I guess this is okay.

      Reply
  13. OMG. I get like this too and I felt the EXACT same way when I got to this cave. I actually had a friend with me though and she had JUST got to Asia. I was all like, blah blah, “I’ve been-there-done-that,” but then I saw my friend frolicking around thinking this cave was so amazing. So I pretended I just got off the plane too and had fun playing tourist again. It’s natural to get jaded at times, but you got to pull yourself out of it every once in a while so you don’t start taking this amazing nomadic life for granted- EVER.
    WhereintheWorldisNina recently posted..My life in Pai
    WhereintheWorldisNina recently posted..My life in Pai

    Reply
  14. Yes, Yes, Yes … I felt the same way as you! I arrived in KL from Siam Reap, Cambodia and imagine how i felt when i saw the caves after exploring the temples of Angkor. The never-ending stairs were maybe the most adventurous part of the whole visit (okay and the monkeys), but inside … uh, even now i have that awkward feeling when i saw the name tags written by the Malays on the rocks in the cave. Thanks to the monkey who made my photo workshop worth it. Have a nice day and safe travels :)

    Reply
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