Gua Tempurung, a cave adventure with the family

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What would be the first trip you want to make with the family after the CMCO? How about visiting the amazing Gua Tempurung in Gopeng, Perak (gua means ‘cave’ in Bahasa Malaysia). Our KaraokeMama went there last summer, when interstate traveling was still allowed. Here is her story.

Gua Tempurung is Malaysia’s number 1 ‘show cave’, so I knew that our family had to check it out. I didn’t even know what a ‘show cave’ was, so this would be a learning experience for us all. Gua Tempurung is one of the largest limestone caves in Malaysia and roughly 3km long. We were excited to see it!

gua tempurung
Entrance to the cave

Which tour should you choose at Gua Tempurung?

Getting to the cave is pretty straightforward, as it is situated just off the main highway towards Ipoh. Due to the CMCO, the place was pretty quiet, so we had no trouble getting tickets. Once you arrive, you are presented with a range of different tours. Which one to choose? It really depends on how much physical activity you are after! The wet tours looked pretty intense and are described as ‘strenuous’ and ‘challenging’. These are guided tours and you need to wear helmets and headtorches, as you scramble through the underground river. This could be great fun if you like an adrenaline rush. However, since we had our two young children with us aged five and nine, we opted for Tour 2 called ‘Top of the World’. This was a ‘dry’ tour that we could do at our own pace, without a guide.

This adventure would take us through the whole cave via walkways and steps, no equipment needed, and no getting wet. Now, just to warn you, the description also says this tour is strenuous, which believe me it is. There are many, many steps, and do take you up quite high. If you don’t like heights, this is not for you. They don’t call it the ‘Top of the world’ tour for nothing! Us adults needed a few breathers along the way. The kids seemed to breeze through it and felt safe enough holding onto our hands and the railings.

Is Gua Tempurung safe for kids?

There are lots of things which make this tour good for families. The walkways have lights along the whole way so you can see where you are going. There are also several viewing platforms where you can stop, have a drink, and admire the beauty of the cave. Just make sure you bring lots of water and shoes with grips, because it can be a little slippery in places. Our five-year-old found it manageable enough, but it may be too tricky for younger children.

Entering the ‘show cave’

The actual cave is enormous. It was great pointing out to the children all the stalactites and stalagmites, as we went around. Do make sure you read the information plaques at the entrance to the cave which give you lots of detail about the various sights and the key features. We missed these on the way in and had to read them afterwards to know what exactly we had been looking at.
As you make your way deeper into the depths of the cave, you really feel like you are in another world and you can understand why they call it a ‘show cave’ because the view really does take your breath away.

By far, our favourite section of the walk was a ‘wind tunnel’ about half way through. After climbing up a gigantic stairway we stopped here for quite some time. We enjoyed sipping our water while the cool breeze blew past us. The temperature is actually quite warm inside the cave, which surprised me. It makes the wind tunnel the perfect resting spot.

A little more walking, and we finally reached the last platform: the ‘Top of the World’. We peered out into the darkness and admired the vast expanse of the cave. Then it was time to make our way out. It is basically the same way as you came in, but going down the steps this time, which was much easier. We took this slowly and carefully, making sure one of us adults went in front in case the children slipped. On our way down the stairs we saw some people who had opted for the wet tour, as they laughed and splashed in the river. It looked like they were having great fun, so if you have older kids this might be a good adventure.

After about an hour’s hike, we finally emerged from the cave into the daylight. We were slightly hot and tired, but really glad we took the time to explore this incredible natural beauty in Malaysia.

Our kids loved the cave and thought it was really cool. They found it tiring… we all did. But they didn’t find it too much for them, as we took lots of breaks. I think they felt quite proud that they had conquered it, so to speak.

Current SOPs

We went to the cave during the summer, so at that point the only SOP was to wear a mask at the ticket desk. They had limited the number of people who could go on a tour together and tour 1 wasn’t on. Please do check with the venue what the current SOPs are.

There are some shops and restaurants outside. All were closed when we were there, apart from a small shop selling crisps, sweets and drinks. We got some bottled water and some crisps but that was really all that was there. The only other thing you should bring: one ringgit to use the toilet!

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