Published: May 18, 2017

Spelunking Adventures at Gua Tempurung

Step Into the Largest Limestone Cave in Peninsular Malaysia!

Gua Tempurung, a cave of wonders and adventures promises an exhilarating discovery deep into its bowels; a cave complex that is home to stalactites and stalagmites of varying shapes and sizes! It’s time to switch on your Indiana Jones mode - we’re going to be exploring one of the oldest cave in Malaysia. This popular Gua Tempurung is the crown jewel of Perak, which offers various activities to spice up the guided caving tour here.

Into the Bowels of the Earth

Walkway within Gua Tempurung
Going Deeper into the Cave

Though there’s no hidden treasure to hunt for, Malaysia is blessed with incredible caves and natural resources that adds more appeal to this country. Known as the oldest cave in Malaysia, Gua Tempurung is situated in Gopeng, Perak. Gua Tempurung, lauded also as the largest limestone cave (4.5km in length) in Peninsular Malaysia, has been called many things, a refuge for those oppressed during the Japanese Invasion, a hideout for communists and even a shelter for prehistoric communities dating back to the 8,000 BC. With an affordable entrance fee starting from RM 8.00 for a Malaysian adult, the entrance fees varies according to the length of the tour

While it may not be known to many about Gua Tempurung’s darker side of story, this cave was once served as a hideout for the notorious communists, led by Chin Peng. The remnants of their hideout are left in forms of graffiti on the cave walls. The historical graffiti left by the communist guerrillas are said to be part of their plot to go against the British government during the Emergency Era of the 1950s.  The cave consists of five large domes that are adorned with varied formations of stalagmites and stalactites, it was opened to the public in 1997 and has been a popular tourist attraction ever since.

If you yearn to explore the Malaysian subterranean caverns, Gua Tempurung is definitely one that you shouldn't miss. It is listed as One of the Top 11 Caves in Malaysia. At the site itself, there are various tour packages offered to bring spelunkers a distance of 1.9 km deep, filled with breath taking underground waterfalls and magnificent limestone formations; all a mere fraction of the largely unexplored cave complex. Visitors can expect to be greeted by a variety of fun-filled adventurous activities, to spice up their journey in Gua Tempurung.

Getting to Gua Tempurung 

Situated in the Kampar district of Perak, it is located only 24 kilometres south of Ipoh (From Kuala Lumpur/Penang: approximately 200 km, 2 hours; from Singapore: approximately 550 km, 6 hours). Lucky for you Ipohites, this natural wonder lies not too far from you, which will only require a 20-minute drive from the city. Due to the short distance from the bustling cities, the drive from Kuala Lumpur/Penang to Gua Tempurung would be a better choice, where the journey there will be filled with scenic route, that is perfect to fulfill your appetite for sightseeing.For international travellers coming from Kuala Lumpur or Penang, car rental is a wise choice especially if you are travelling in a group. Once at the cave, it is time to embark on a journey deep into the bowels of this 250 to 400 million-year-old speleological wonder. “What is the opening hours of Gua Tempurung”, you may ask. The cave is made accessible to public on a daily basis, from 9am to 5pm.

The Sublime Beauty of the Golden Flowstone and Karst Landscape

Golden limestone formations at Gua TempurungDazzling Golden Stones

Nothing will prepare you for the vast, subterranean cavern of Gua Tempurung as you descend deeper into the belly of the Earth. The narrow entrance and its sturdy cement pathway is only a prelude to an epic adventure. The first tour—dubbed the Golden Flowstone—provides an interesting and pleasurable 40 minutes trek allowing any spelunker to marvel at the alabaster stone slabs and walls. As you journey deeper past the illuminated maw of the cave, prepare to be awestruck by the 90m high, sloping damp walls and cave floor that reflect light with a golden hue. Tours begin with a guided walk through the accessible sections of the cave, where you can learn more about history of Gua Tempurung.

Spot the various shapes taken on by the formation of stalagmites and stalactites such as the lion, seahorse, dolphin and more that was formed by the excruciatingly slow growth of calcite deposits—about an inch per 250 years. Witness the sight of the spectacular rock formations and cavern room as you digest the natural beauty at every turn.  A sense of stillness descends as you turn 360 degrees and experience the humid and warm atmosphere perturbed only by echoes of voices and footsteps from other visitors. Before you’re inflicted by a sense of monotony—likely induced by heading up and down endless concrete steps—be assured that it will take an exciting turn soon.

Ascend To The Top Of The World In GuaTempurung

Ascending 640 steps is certainly no easy task but by the time you’ve reached the 5th platform, you’ll be standing 120m high above the cave floor. Catch your breath at the Wind Tunnel, so named by the palpable breeze ventilating the tunnels and lay eyes on an expansive cavern called the Gergasi Cavern, supported by a large column that looks like a fossilised spaceship.

Then, you’ll reach the Tin Mine Cavern where the karst landscape was made a tin mining site back in the days. Looking back at the Malayan history, tin mining activities were common especially in the state of Perak where major mining towns were formed. The Tin Mine Cavern was once a small-scale tin mining site where tragic accident occurred to the miners here, which resulted in death. The cause of these misfortune was believed to be due to a 1959 flash flood that left the miners, trapped to death; as according to what was inscripted on the Tombstone at the Tin Miner’s Cavern. There is even a display of set of tin-mining tools found in the cave!

There are also numerous other caverns such as the Alam Cavern, Fallen Warrior and Battlefield Cavern boasting formations that echo a warrior falling on a battlefield. But of course, the rewards are only sweet if you’ve placed your efforts on climbing the strenuous steps, in the humid condition of the cave. Your efforts to reach this point will be rewarded with a dazzling spectrum of colours as the supernal rays of light is reflected off the cave walls. Snap away on your cameras as this is your time to capture the spectacular view of the ancient cave, but do remember to always keep all your gadgets in a waterproof case!

Sliding through an Underground Stream

Underground river at Gua Tempurung
Prepare to Get Down and Dirty

Alternating from low, narrow passages to vast caverns with cave ceilings so high it's enveloped by darkness, the silence is punctuated by the screeches of bats , cave dwellers and animals in Gua Tempurung. Along the way, you may very well come across scorpions, albino millipedes, giant spiders and crickets. If you’re lucky, you may dodge the fusillade of bat guanos; or wear a cap, just like the author of Star 2: Drawn by the Siren Call of Gua Tempurung. Slide through the slippery walls of the cave, especially well-suited for families  until you catch sight of lush greeneries on the outside.

You may find yourself wondering the proper attire to wear, for a caving adventure in Gua Tempurung. Do wear wool type or polypro clothing, gloves, kneepads and hiking boots with good grip. A change of clothing is also recommended together with waterproof backpacks and plastic covers for any electronics. Be certain that you will have to crawl, slide and wade through the chilly river that could reach up to knee level depending on the weather. Get ready to expect a challenging and yet exciting journey in the cave! At times, the tour might not be available as an overflowing river will make it impassable.

For the Ultimate Adventure, Attempt the 'Grand Tour'

Subterranean landscape of Gua Tempurung
Light at the End of the Tunnel

None can measure up to the ultimate Grand Tour. A 3 hour 30 minutes’ trek (3.8km) from the entrance of Golden Flowstone, spelunkers should expect a crystal-clear underground river with no lack of climbing, crawling, ducking and slipping down rockslides. Do not miss the chance to gaze at glittering crystal-covered cave walls, multi-tier ponds, crystallised stalagmites and grand stone formations; a remarkable example of what nature is capable of.

Bring along some spare batteries for your torchlight and adequate amounts of water and snacks. Bruised elbows and knees are common so it is best to wear gloves and knee pads. Sweat-soaked and exhausted from all the physical exertions, the experience is one that will not be soon forgotten; a perfect getaway from the drudges of daily life.

If the caving excursion is not enough to satisfy your need for adventures, there are various adventurous activities that you might want to try. Located not too far away from the Gua Tempurung is the Kampar River, where most adventure-seekers will flock here for an adrenaline-rushing watersports. While you are still around the Gua Tempurung area, try on the whitewater rafting, river tubing or even the waterfall abseiling for the utmost thrill! If reading these has sparked an excitement in you to attempt the ultimate adventure , then you owe yourself a Caving, Abseiling and Rafting Ultimate Adventure from Adventoro!

Survival Tips To Conquer Gua Tempurung

Headlamp for caving
A Device to Keep You from Stepping on Creepy Crawlies or Bumping into Jagged Rocks

If you ever find yourself wondering, ‘is Gua Tempurung dangerous?’, fret not as it is probably one of those caves that are beginner-friendly! When it comes to caving, an experienced spelunker would mention the same thing: check your equipment; make sure torch lights and cameras have sufficient batteries for the best Gua Tempurung experience. Also, those suffering from heart complications or claustrophobia should only limit themselves to show caves.

Avoid wandering too deep especially if you have allergies related to bat guanos and limestones. Fortunately, the walkway and surroundings of Gua Tempurung are relatively clean as bats naturally prefer darker, less illuminated areas deeper within the cave. Always follow your guide, to ensure the best and smooth-sailing caving experience. The last thing you would want is to be lost in possibly the longest cave in Peninsular Malaysia, alone and in the dark!

It is best to make a list on the things to bring to Gua Tempurung before embarking on your caving excursion. Carry a backpack with you to contain the items you will be bringing, even better if the bag is a waterproof bag. Do bring an adequate supply of water and snacks to munch on but remember to dispose of your trash responsibly. Once again, wear comfortable attire and shoes with proper grip as the high humidity as well as the slippery terrain will have you wishing you did. Remember to also bring a change of clothes and towel if you’re attempting the wet tours. Take note on all these tips and you’re good to go!

In a Nutshell

Gua Tempurung provides a truly remarkable experience; being beneath the ancient limestone caverns and massive walls running parallel to your path will make it seem otherworldly. Be in one with the nature and learn about the history of Gua Tempurung, which will make a perfect, educational outing. A caving adventure will have you appreciate the gifts from Mother Nature, where it take aeons to be able to form what we can witness now. Go with your partner, friends or family; the more the merrier! Make certain that none are extremely claustrophobic as crawling through narrow underground rivers might just be too much. The journey is sure to foster a sense of camaraderie, aside from being another feather in your cap.

Check out Adventoro's Gua Tempurung Tour to kick start your spelunking adventures today! 

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