Gua Kelam, Malaysia

Gua Kelam is a 370m-long cavern gouged out in the tin-mining days. Access is along a rickety gangway above a river that runs through the cave and emerges at a popular swimming spot in an attractive landscaped park, with a backdrop of craggy limestone hills. Gua Kelam is 1km from Kaki Bukit; the bus from Kangar to Padang Besar passes close to the entrance as it does a U-turn on the way back out of the one-street town

One of the most distinctive caves in Malaysia is a 370-metre long limestone cave near the small town of Kaki Bukit (literally ‘foot hill’) called Gua Kelam (Cave of Darkness). Located about 33km north of Kangar, the state capital, Gua Kelam Recreational Park is popular for its enchanting ‘cave walk’ where you can enter from one end of the cave and come out at a different location.

The only path to the cave is via an eight-foot wide wooden suspension bridge. This bridge links Kaki Bukit to the Wan Tangga Valley, a valley on the opposite end of Gua Kelam. Back in 1935, an Englishman saw the water pathway as a brilliant method to transport tin ore from a mine located near the stream entrance through the underground cavern to Kaki Bukit.

Now, locals and tourists make their way through the cave via a brightly lit wooden walkway inside the cave. You can still find remnants of the tin mine operation within the cave. As you make your way through the cave, the whispers of a swirling dark subterranean stream, together with the squeaking bats and dripping water from the stalactites, form a concerto of natural sounds. It sounds a bit spooky, but adds to the mystery of a cave that was was once the home of Stone Age men.

 

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