Gua Tempurung is a colossal limestone cave close to Ipoh and an amazing geological marvel. In fact, having been, I would say it’s a must-see for any visitor to the Perak region of Malaysia.
Visitors have several options for exploring Gua Tempurung. Self-guided tours, called ‘dry tours’, allow you to venture to the first three viewing platforms. The ‘wet tour’ involves discovering all five viewing platforms before scrambling through the cave river system.
We opted for the dry tour – number one, which took us as far as platform three and was suitable for those looking for less strenuous adventure. It took around 30 minutes each way to navigate. As you can see from my photographs, Gua Tempurung is impressive and a unique place to spend a few hours.
Why is Gua Tempurung so special?
Gua Tempurung is special because it is 1.9 km long and 578 m high, making it the largest and most magnificent limestone cave in Peninsula Malaysia. It is concealed within limestone hills and is an intricate system of five massive caverns, each with unique formations of stalagmites and stalactites. The caverns also have different temperatures, water levels, and limestone and marble content depending on their position in the cave.
It is a popular tourist attraction in Perak for adventurers and those interested in geology. It also has a history of being used as a hideout during the communist war; etchings on the walls and rusty shovel heads are evidence of human activity in Gua Tempurung.
Getting To Gua Tempurung
Address: Pusat Pelancongan Gua Tempurung, 31600 Gopeng, Perak, Malaysia
Gua Tempurung is located in Gopeng, Perak. It can be reached from the North-South Highway by exiting through the Gopeng interchange (about 25km south of Ipoh). If you are driving to Gua Tempurung, there is on-site parking. From Ipoh, it is a 30-minute drive.
Which showcave tour should I pick?
If you want to take a quick peek inside Gua Tempurung Cave, the shortest tour you can take is simply called the ‘number one tour’. It will take you to the third viewing platform, where you will be met with a no-entry sign indicating it’s time to turn back. If you want to go on to the fourth and fifth viewing platforms, you will need a ‘number two tour’. These are both dry tours.
You can just turn up for the wet cave potholing tours, but be aware they are very popular. Come prepared with a head torch, as they are not provided. However, we did see a lady selling them from her stall in the car park for £5. Also, wear gloves and shoes with a good grip as the caverns get wet and slimy as you get deeper.
How much do the Gua Tempurung Tours cost?
Self-Guided Dry Tour One (40 mins ++): 8RM Locals / 20RM (£4) non-Malaysians
Self-Guided Dry Tour Two (60 mins ++): 12RM Locals / 30RM (£5) non-Malaysians
Guided Wet Tour Three (2 Hours ++): 15RM Locals / 40RM (£6.50) non-Malaysians
Guided Wet Tour Four (4 Hours ++): 30RM Locals / 50RM (£8.50) non-Malaysians
What time should I visit Gua Tempurung?
Cave tours commence at 9:00 a.m. The last admittance for the wet tours is 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for the dry tours.
Get there when it opens!! We arrived before the cashiers had even pulled up the blinds at the entrance counter, and it was full of people. Luckily for us, most people were there for the water caving adventure tour, known as ‘potholing’ or ‘spelunking’ in the UK and USA, and were being kitted out in helmets and wetsuits. We quickly got in line for our tickets as we wanted to be one of the first inside the cave. Don’t waste time once you arrive, or you might end up at the back of a long queue.
Is it dark in the cave?
No. Each cavern on the number one tour is well-lit to help visitors navigate along the walkways. The lighting also illuminates the natural patterns and beauty of the rock formations. I believe the caverns further on are not lit and are a lot harder to navigate.
Do I need to be fit to climb the stairs in Gua Tempurung?
If I am honest, it’s not going to suit everyone. There are a lot of metal stairs to climb, and some can be quite slippery, so you need to be sure-footed. We found climbing the stairs tough in places and weren’t alone. Quite a few people were stopping for a breather along the walkways. All the tours start in the same place, but Tour Number One is the shortest, so opt for that if you are unsure about your capabilities.
Is it cold in the cave?
No, the complete opposite. I expected the cave to be chilly, as in other caves I have been in worldwide. Gua Tempurung was warm and humid – in fact, it got a little uncomfortable due to the number of stairs we had to climb in the heat. My tip would be to bring plenty of water and wear light cotton clothes.
What can I see on Gua Tempurung tour number one?
Once you have entered the first-level walkway, you will ascend via many metal stairs until you reach level three, where dry tour number one finishes. Along the way, you can view the enormity of the caverns you are passing through.
If you opt to do dry tour number two, you can climb another two levels to viewing platform five.
Along the way, look out for the remnants of metal shovel heads found in the cave. Also, read the information boards, as they will tell you more about the cave’s geological aspects.
How long does it take to complete tour number one?
From start to finish, tour number one in Gua Tempurung takes about an hour. The part that takes the longest is getting back to the entrance the same way you came in.
There will now be a trail of people who have entered after you, heading towards you as you try to return to the beginning. It’s quite hard to get past people on the narrow walkways, and as you can imagine, no one wants to move aside, so if you have a fear of heights, don’t look down!
Where will I get the best view of Gua Tempurung?
When you reach platform two, also known as the Echo-Echo Chamber, for obvious reasons, you will get a superb view of the cave’s karst features and formations.
Is Gua Tempurung Worth Visiting?
I would recommend visiting the cave if you are in the Perak region. It is an easy 30-minute journey from Ipoh by bus or Uber. I visited Gua Tempurung and Kellie’s Castle during my transfer between Ipoh and the Cameron Highlands, which worked well as neither of these attractions took too long to see.
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