During my recent visit to Kampar, a small town near Gua Tempurung. I came a day ahead and booked the tour of Gua Tempurung for the next morning.
Gua Tempurung is the largest limestone cave in Peninsular Malaysia.
Gua means cave, and Tempurung is a coconut shell in Malay. Gua Tempurung gets its name from the shape of the surrounding limestone hills that resemble coconut shells.
The cave is divided into four levels. Levels one and two are part of the show cave, with concrete steps and handrails on two sides. Both levels are also lit up, making it suitable for anyone visiting the cave.
Levels three and four are part of the wet tour, meaning walkways ens here. For casual visitors, the best part of the cave is an underground river run in this part, which spans about 1.6 deep into the cave. The shallow water level allows anyone physically fit to tread along the river and explore deeper into the cave.
On our first day in Kampar, we stayed at Adeline Villa, where we embarked on an exhilarating white water rafting experience along the beautiful Sungai Kampar. Our guide, Along, greeted us at the villa the following morning and set off for our next adventure – exploring the magnificent Gua Tempurung.
1. The Fascinating History of Gua Tempurung
Gua Tempurung is estimated to have formed 250 to 400 million years ago, based on the age of the rock formations in the area. The creation of this vast cave involved a remarkable process. Firstly, the entire area known as the Kinta Valley had to be submerged under the sea. Then, billions of microscopic marine organisms thrived and eventually perished, their tiny shells compressed into the limestone on the ocean floor over millions of years.
Massive movements of the earth’s crust later uplifted the former ocean floor from beneath the sea. Over the next 250 million years, rainfall and flowing water worked their magic. Millions of specks of calcium carbonate in drops of dissolved limestone carve sinkholes and chimneys and gradually solidify to form the mesmerizing stalagmites and stalactites that grace the cave.
We arrived at Gua Tempurung around 9:30 am on a bustling Saturday, and we found the main parking area jam-packed with cars and tour buses. Along decided to use another parking area further from the entrance with ample space.
There is a prominent signboard displaying the various tour options right at the main entrance:
- Tour 1: This tour takes us to the Golden Flowstone platform halfway along the dry path. It’s an easy yet walk, with concrete pathways and steel staircases, through the dimly lit showcase gallery.
- Tour 2: If we choose this option, we will reach the Top of the World platform, the highest point in the cave, standing 125 meters above ground level.
- Tour 3: This is the tour we opted for, encompassing all the features of Tours 1 and 2, with an added short river adventure. The river adventure entails sliding down slippery stones, crawling through holes, and experiencing a thrilling underground river passage on the return trip.
- Tour 4: The ultimate adventure takes that will take anyone to the cave’s far end. However, it is known to be the most demanding and strenuous option.
We selected Tour 3, a memorable and exciting expedition to this magnificent cave.
2. Exploring the Marvels of Gua Tempurung
Our guide, Along, has taken care of the entrance tickets. Filled with a unique blend of anticipation and trepidation for the unknown, we bravely ventured into the mysterious depths of Gua Tempurung.
The first part is quite easy to walk. The concrete path ran alongside the underground river, revealing marble stones beneath the water and limestone form. We also saw some breathtaking stalactites near the main entrance. There are also marble and other mineral deposits besides limestone.
Initially, the entrance area was bright, but as we moved past the only opening of the cave, it gradually became darker, with dimmed electric lighting throughout the walkway.
There are a few viewing platforms. Soon we arrive at the first one- The Entrance Platform.Booking.com
a. The Entrance Platform– AIYAHHH
The Entrance Platform has an intriguing name- AIYAHHH, but why it is called is remained unclear.
According to a signboard erected here, water can create huge caves in limestone rocks connected by underground tunnels. Sinkholes formed by water falling through them can carve out deep pools, while stalactites and stalagmites are common cave formations.
Marble is formed when limestone rock undergoes heating and squeezing underground, leading to changes in color and texture.
As we moved towards Platform 1, Along pointed out various rock formations, some resembling animals, but it required imagination to visualize their likeness.
b. Platform 1 – Mr. Bat
This part of the cave serves as the mating spot for bats from March to May each year. Although no bats were seen, as now is not the mating season, bat guano covered the floor bed. The area also boasted intriguing rock formations.
c. Platform 2 – Echo-Echo
Throughout the past century, small-scale tin mining has been in the cave. Our guide showcased some tools used for tin mining here.
Live stalactites were also present, growing only about an inch in a hundred years. This is precisely why we, as humans, must care for our caves. If we were to break off a piece of stalactite, it would not regrow within our lifetime.
As we walked along the walkway, we noticed inscriptions in Chinese, likely left by the Communists during World War 2. More inscriptions can be found in another nearby cave called Gua Kandu. Throughout the Malayan emergency era from 1948 until 1960, the cave was a hideout and shelter for communists. Even today, evidence of their presence can still be observed through various graffiti adorning the cave walls.
d. Platform 3 – Golden Flowstone
Situated in a cozier cave section with lower ceilings, the Golden Flowstone platform derives its name from the rushing underground river flowing over the golden-toned rock, creating a breathtaking sight.
Upon reaching Platform 3, which marks the end of Tour 1, we enjoyed the best viewpoint to observe the golden flowstone cavern with huge domes. The area featured many stones with glittering minerals and stalagmites formed by continuous water dripping.
e. Platform 4 – Wind Tunnel
As the name implies, this part of the walkway is accompanied by a sudden blow of cold wind. Additionally, the area showcases interesting rock formations.
f. Platform 5 – Top of the World
This part of the walkway reached the cave’s highest point, marking the end of Tour 2. As we approached this platform, we noticed the rock ceiling hovering just a few feet above our head, while far below, the cave floor vanished into darkness. Unfortunately, few photos were taken here; the area is darker than the other platforms.
Watch the video we shot at Gua Tempurung (at the end of this article) 👇👇.
3. Get Ready for an Exciting Water Adventure
Beyond this point, the walkway winds down until we reach a gate, which marks the beginning of Tour 3. From here, the dry tour ends, and we must venture into the cave in its natural state, with no human intervention. As the lights fade, we rely on our headlamps to light the way.
We soon arrived at the renowned area of Tour 3, where each of us had to slide down a slippery rock.
After the thrilling slide, we descended through a hole in the ground, emerging below the main cave floor, then passing through a tunnel of the cave.
This is where the excitement truly begins, as it becomes dark and wet!
While treading the river, we observed many small stalactites hanging from the rock.
The underground adventure was awesome! It involved navigating a series of tunnels with water flowing through them. Initially, we walked through shallow water, but as we progressed, we encountered sections where we had to waddle like a duck or crawl. Fortunately, we were well-prepared and rented their comfortable rubber shoes, perfect for wading through water.
4. Capturing the enchanting depths of Gua Tempurung with my mirrorless camera
The space between us and the cave was minimal in some parts, and I even struggled to keep my camera from getting wet. Despite knowing the risks of damage, I decided to carry a mirrorless camera. I anticipated that a mobile phone camera or GoPro wouldn’t do justice to capturing the beauty of this dimly lit environment.
I have successfully captured photos and videos of the darkest part of the cave. If you’re an adventurous bug like me, you’ll be captivated by these stunning images. The video is even more mesmerizing, and I’ve included the link at the end of this article.
We follow the river, which eventually emerges from underground. It brought us back to somewhere near the entrance. I do not know how long we spent inside the cave, but it took roughly 1.5 hours.
The Gua Tempurung trip is one of the best outdoor trips I have been on recently. I recommend anyone who likes nature, like caving and is physically and mentally fit to take one such exhilarating experience.
5. An Exhilarating Outdoor Adventure
Our journey led us along the meandering underground river, resurfacing again, bringing us back near the cave entrance. The sense of time was lost within the cave’s enchanting confines, but we estimated that the expedition lasted around 1.5 hours.
The Gua Tempurung trip is undoubtedly one of the most memorable outdoor adventures I’ve experienced recently. I wholeheartedly recommend embarking on this extraordinary expedition for anyone who loves nature and caving enthusiasts with good physical and mental fitness.
6. Essential Information for Gua Tempurung Adventure
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.
- Footwear Recommendation: For the wet tour, rubber shoes with a sturdy grip are essential to navigate the slippery terrain.
- Clothing Tips: Wear long pants to ensure a comfortable and safe exploration. Opt for quick-dry materials, like those used in scuba diving apparel, to keep you dry during your journey.
- Address: Pusat Pelancongan Gua Tempurung, 31600 Gopeng, Perak, Malaysia.
- Don’t forget to bring a reliable torchlight or, even better, a headlamp.
- Phone: +605-318 8555 / +6014-220 4142
- Email: email@example.com
Watch the video we shot at Gua Tempurung 👇👇.
We also upload a video we shot at Gua Tempurung. Please click the image below to bring you to our YouTube channel (shot in high definition!). You may also want to check out our visit to Adeline Villa and white water rafting at Kampar River.