An Introduction to Batik

The day of Thean Hou Temple was one to discover Malaysia’s Chinese heritage. Many may not know, but Malaysia is an epicentre of different cultures and ideologies. An incredible example of how people can coexist amongst one another. Not to ignore the fact that there is still a lot of corruption here as well as racism – which unfortunately exists in every country to different degrees – but it is truly amazing to be surrounded by so many different, intelligent, and creative people that defy those conventions.

I started my day at Central Market which has been well preserved since 1888. Inside the building, there are a great little shops and stands, generally tourist apparel set at a similar price, but I would definitely recommend it at least once! Here is where I stumbled upon a shop that introduced me to batik.

Batik is an art form that combines linen, wax, and incredibly watered down paint. Sounds interesting, right? Pictures are drawn on the linen with wax so when you add the paint to it, it just seeps into the material and spreads. You can fade the colour by adding more water and oddly, you don’t create a puddle underneath it! Such a fun way to spend an afternoon!

After a short walk, we stumbled upon Chinatown. Immediately entering the chaos, I felt like I was in an animated series. There were shops on shops, stands that went on forever and throngs of people wherever you turned.  The ceiling held oriental lanterns, hanging at different lengths, and the buzz of vendors calling out to guests or chatting with local patrons was more of a background track than actuality. I was in a real life Cowboy Bebop!

On this days episode, I tried Chinese pancake with peanuts and coconut, an incredibly interesting beverage made from winter melon and sugar, and possibly the worst satay ever. Note to anyone visiting here: order Chinese food in Chinatown! Not satay – as much as you may be craving for it!

The evening ended at Thean Hou Temple which has a spectacular view of the city! THT is a four tiered palace of worship set against a hill that overlooks KLCC. Translated: downtown Kuala Lumpur. It is pretty modern with bright colours and animated statues. THT is also the epicentre for Chinese wedding photos as I watched at least four couples parade around the central square in front of the main hall.

I would definitely recommend using the sticks of fortune while you’re there!

Step one: donate a few RM.
Step two: grab all the sticks and make sure they are even.
Step three: lift sticks out of holder – make sure they are still even.
Step four: drop them.
Step five: pull out the one stick that is sticking out.

If you have no stick at a different length after you’ve dropped the bundle, repeat steps 2 to 5. If you are like me and can drop the bundle a few times (…15) without a sign, you may need to consult the Gods there and then try again.

Also fun note: if you are at THT, check out the food court underneath the temple! They have eggs boiled in herbal tea and really interesting floss sugar.

Well I have a six hour hike in four hours so I should probably sleep! I hope everyone is doing well and if there is something in particular you’d like to see, let me know!



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