Gua Temperung Caves
About 25 km from Ipoh you can find the Gua Tempurung caves. These caves are some of the most beautiful in Malaysia though not enough visited, if you ask me. While we were in the caves, there were hardly visitors, which was too bad. These caves deserve much more attention. And not only from the Malaysians themselves!
The caves stretch out through the limestone mountains for about 2 km. I had the pleasure to join Mr. Goh from Explore the Wilderness to enter the caves (about a dozen times in total).
This time Mr. Goh had a family visiting and together we went in the caves. Due to the higher water because of the r ecent rainfall, we started at the lowest point.
This meant we first had to wade through the underground river system. Carefully we waded through the water, everybody trying to keep as dry as possible but soon this was all in vain. At some point we had to crawl through the water, keeping the heads down from one cave to another. During our visit we saw many stalactites and stalagmites. Creating 1 inch of them can take up to 200 years.
Map of the cave system of Gua Tempurung
While wandering through the lower parts of the caves, where there are no walking paths and bridges, I wondered how people ever could find their way through. Although I am reasonable experienced in finding my way in almost any place (I admit, I got over and over again lost in Nepal's capital Katmandu), it was impossible to get a sense of direction in these caves.
At a certain point Mr. Goh asked us to turn off all the lights. A total and complete darkness came over us. Although in general we experience night as dark, it's nothing compared to be in a cave where no lights infiltrates. The darkness was so total we couldn't even see our hands, a few centimeters in front of the eyes.
The Gua Tempurung Caves on the outside
It reminded me of the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam where during the Vietnam War the Vietkong organized their guerilla war against the Americans. In those tunnels the Vietnamese lived, going around in the 40 km tunnel system without even maps and were able to live in this total darkness.
We crawled through a few streams where there was very little space further. I am not claustrophobic but this is a bit scary. The family's children went with us, the youngest, 6 years old seem to be the bravest, he was all the time in front of the group.
Once we where at the end of the river system we climbed up and down he limestone rocks. It is indeed amazing what nature can produce. When we came back in the more common areas of the caves, we saw there were walking paths and bridges build. Even the 3 years old daughter of the family was able to join her mother in the cave by using this path that in the end brought us back to the entrance of the Gua Tempurung caves.
Inside the Caves with the Gan family
The Caves are about 25 km south of Ipoh and about 8 km north of Kampar. If you take the motorway Kuala Lumpur - Penang, the north - south highway, take the Gopeng intersection. From there, go south until you reach Kampung Gunung Mesah, a few kilometers on the Federal Route 1, where you will find sign boards for Gua Tempurung leading to the left and the limestone mountains.
There is no public transport to the caves so you need to come by your own transport or a taxi. Although the caves a bit away from Ipoh they are an absolute must to see. You will not regret your visit to the Gua Tempurung Caves in the southern limestone mountains from Ipoh.
Walks and trekking in the Gua Tempurung caves
There's something for everyone. If you feel you are not in for a long and deep walk in the caves, you can do a 40 minutes great walk (always with guide) through comfortable paths, see and feel the wind tunnel and enjoy wide open caves.
Stalagmites and stalactites
Longer treks are possible. The longest trek takes about 3 hours but can only be done if the water level is low enough. Entrance ticket go from RM 6 to 22 (adults) and RM 2,50 to RM 11 (children) depending on the duration of the cave trek.
River cruise Kuala Sepetang
We did a river cruise with a local loggers boat in the mangrove swamps of Kuala Sepetang. Here's what happened that day:
Charcoal Factory Kuala Sepetang
The Charcoal factory in Kuala Sepetang is worth a visit. Here you can see how economical interest can go together with a sustainable way of using the mangrove forest
Kampar and the Grand Kampar Hotel
Nearby Gua Tempurung is the old tin mine town of Kampar. It's certainly worth a visit. Have a look here because a visit to the caves is easy done with Kampar as a base and the Grand Kampar Hotel as an excellent option to stay