sign in a cave in Laos

14 December 2011

Gua Tabuhan & Song Terus in Java

The Gunung Sewu karst in central Java is an area riddled with small rounded limestone hills separated by dry valleys. Known as the Thousand Mountains, these small hills are generally all the same height, due to geologic processes over millions of years. More than 600 caves are registered.

Two of the best known show caves are Gua Tabuhan and Gua Song Terus. They are located in the Pacitan area.

The caves are in the same area. After you park you walk along a road lined with souvenir shops. I noticed that many are selling crystals

Gua Tabuhan entrance

Gua Tabuhan is a short cave full of stalactites, and there is a concrete path that runs through the cave.

Visitors are usually given a musical performance by the locals who sing and bang the stalactites with wooden mallets. The fee is RP 70,000 (US$7.5) according to this sign.
We found it was almost hypnotic to listen to this music in the cave – a caveman’s version of gamelan.

I had visited these caves in 1991. In 2011 I saw there is a new market for the gem sellers
The gem sellers were calling out to us to come and buy their wares. We waved and walked on up the road to the nearby Gua Song Terus.

Gua Song Terus is an archaeological site, and the oldest known occupied cave in South-East Asia.

It is currently the oldest cave site with hominid occupation in SE Asia (Homo erectus) dating to 300,000 years ago. Malaysia’s oldest cave site is Gua Niah, which dates to around 40,000 years ago.
However, compared to the huge caves at Niah, Song Terus is just a short tunnel through the hill.

Birds nests (non edible)

Another show cave in the Pacitan area is Gua Gong.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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