sign in a cave in Laos

6 November 2012

Merapoh 2012 Nov, Pt 1, Gua Tekong

After the Croatian caving expedition to Merapoh, Pahang, in Sept 2012, Laili Basir (from Merapoh Nature Guides) and I went back 1-3 Nov to look for more caves. Laili is working hard to try and protect the Merapoh caves from quarrying and we are keen to continue looking for caves.

We were successful and found 14 new caves. Some were spectacular with formations and interesting geological formations and one was a river cave.

On the first afternoon, we went to Gua Tekong, although the locals call this Gua Panjang. On the map, Panjang is the hill to the west of the road, and the hill to the east is not named. I will follow the map names. Also, the locals use the word "gua" instead of "bukit" for hill.

We started near the south end of the hill.

In a few hours we found 9 caves. First was Gua Manik Emas -
 The manik emas -
 caramel sauce on ice cream!
 This stal has fallen
 Our guide, Sazman

Next was Gua Empat Tangga. Passage sloped to a climb down to a dry but very muddy river passage. A crawl led to a rift passage with entrances. The climb down -
 I wondered if this is a siphon in wet weather
 signs of an old river


 The 4 steps
 One entrance
Saw some interesting millipedes in the forest
 Monophyllaea
The next 2 caves were very small but we saw a cave racer -

We then moved closer to the north end of the hill. Walking to the caves we passed 2 bomb
craters and then found a stal resembling a bomb head in the cave! We named the cave Gua Kepala Bom.


 Scorpion
Tree with large thorns

We saw a small cave Gua Kepala Belut and went on to the river cave, Gua Putera Mandi. It is a resurgence cave -


but we went in the large dry entrance.

Inside the entrance chamber were many sacks of guano and also elephant droppings.


We went down to the river passage. It was quite small and the 5 of us almost blocked
the flight path for the bats.




We soon came to a duck, where the roof lowered almost to water level.
Juki took off his shirt and went through. He came back, took the camera and went back in again, with Rosni. There is a small chamber but no dry way, so the water must come from below the rock level.


We didn't actually check the downsteam end, although it can't be far to the entrance.

Next cave Gua Karang, was short but with some nice coral -



We found a new species of cave fauna, Juki batuensis .




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See also Day 2, Gua Kubang Rusa and Kalong, and Day 3, Gua Panjang etc.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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