Monday, February 15, 2016

Fashionista's Escapades: Spelunking at Merapoh, Pahang

Inspired by Batman (if you're interested to watch the clip, click [here]) and obviously my recent trip to Mulu Caves, last weekend I decided to explore some caves in Merapoh, Pahang. This trip was co-organised by Project Vacation and Pakatan Bejalan.

The trip was supposed to be for Saturday and Sunday but we started our journey on Friday night, leaving KL at 10.30 pm and arriving in Merapoh at 2.30 am.

This is my first adventure caving experience and here's a photoblog of my trip:

The drive to Merapoh from KL (our meeting point was LRT Gombak) took almost 4 hours. This was taken on the way back to KL, very scenic view from the highway. 

Gua Rimau (Tiger's Cave)

We explored three caves over the weekend, two on Saturday (Gua Rimau and Gua Kubang Rusa) and one on Sunday (Gua Padang Kawad). We started with Gua Rimau on Saturday morning and left our homestay, SGI Outdoor Merapoh at 8.30 am and headed to the entrance of the cave which was only a 10-minute drive away.

Since the roads leading to the cave are unpaved, we were transported in pickup trucks and four wheel drives.

Unpaved road leading to Gua Rimau.

A short description of the cave and safety briefing is conducted every time before we enter the caves. For safety reasons, we were all provided with safety helmets and each helmet was equipped with headlights. However, you can bring your own torchlights should you need more light in the caves.

Waiting in line. There were 30 over people who participated in this event. Coveralls are not provided but are recommended for the trip simply because they are made of thick fabric and does not rip easily. Besides, they are a one piece (therefore they do not snag easily at any branches/ leaves when you need to climb up and down).

Climbing up.

Entering Gua Rimau. 

Cave formations.

A description of the cave features, flora and fauna by our guides. 

Cave window.

The interior of Gua Rimau.

Venturing deeper into the interior parts of Gua Rimau. Some parts require a bit of climbing and clever manoeuvring. 

The twin towers of Gua Rimau.

A view of the entrance of the cave from inside.

Gua Kubang Rusa

After lunch, we headed to Gua Kubang Rusa (which is also known as Gua Air Mata Dayang).

For Gua Kubang Rusa, the activities here involved not only cave exploration, but also cave tubing. Thus, we are required to wear safety helmets and life jackets before entering the cave.

The entrance to Gua Kubang Rusa. 

Getting ready for cave tubing.

And off we go!

Since this trip involved quite a big crowd, we were divided into two groups, the first group would do cave tubing first while the other group explored the interior of the cave.

Cave exploration.

Cave tubing. According to the dictionary, cave tubing is an extreme sport in which participants float on inner tubes and traverse underground rivers in networks of caves and go over small falls.

Gua Kubang Rusa's interior.

The interior of Gua Kubang Rusa.

Post cave tubing and exploration. Tired but definitely satisfied =).

Gua Padang Kawad

On Sunday morning we left for Gua Padang Kawad which is located about 30 minutes drive away from our homestay. Gua Padang Kawad was the secret route that the communist used before independence and during the early formative years of Malaysia. To read more on the history of this cave, you can click on the link [here].

Getting to Gua Padang Kawad requires at least 45 minutes of trekking.

Arrived at the entrance of Gua Padang Kawad. The reason why you can't see the entrance is because it's just a tiny opening in front of a small stream. Getting into Gua Padang Kawad involves a bit of crawling.

Safety briefing before entering the cave.

Climbing up against the flow of water in Gua Padang Kawad. Photo courtesy of Adli.

The exit point of Gua Padang Kawad. I myself wasn't able to take photos inside the cave because it's dark and quite wet. However, I must say that the cave formations and colours of the walls were absolutely breathtaking.

Us. Spelunkers. Or at least we were for the weekend. Photo courtesy of Artchan.

Adventure caving is definitely different from what I initially expected. The caves are left in their natural state and the caves are in itself a home of various flora and fauna which made the experience very interesting (and some parts quite icky). 

Would I recommend adventure caving? Well, let me just say that adventure caving is not for everyone, and definitely not for the faint hearted. Going into dark, damp and sometimes tiny spaces may be scary and claustrophobic but then again, we are here for the experience and it is definitely an experience which you will not get anywhere else. I find Gua Padang Kawad to be the most interesting of all simply because you are traversing into the interior of the cave on a narrow path along an underground river (or stream) and the cave interior is filled with all sorts of different formations and colours that is just beautiful. Masha Allah.

To those who are interested to participate in these kind of events, you can visit Project Vacation's instagram [here] and Pakatan Bejalan [here].

Looking forward to another adventure soon, inshaa Allah =).

xoxo Mrs Fashionista