sign in a cave in Laos

11 July 2013

Merapoh 2013 July, Bukit Tekong Hidden Garden

July 6 2013 we continued the exploration of Bukit Tekong. We had first visited the hill in Nov 2012. Our last visit was in Feb, when we found a wild boar skeleton in Gua Tekong Terowong.

On the Feb 2012 we had found a few small caves, the best was Gua Tekong Taman. This time we went straight to Gua Tekong Terowong as we intended to continue our search on the other side of the hill. As we went through the cave we saw that the wild boar bones have been completely removed by persons unknown. A pity we didn't collect them at the time.

In Feb after exiting this cave, we turned left and only found one short cave, Gua Tekong Jodoh. This time we turned right, going anticlockwise around the hill. we found many short passages, many were interconnected or almost connected and most followed the face of the hill rather than going into the hill.

 Nice curtain
 More of the "leopard skin" marking -

None of the caves were particularly exciting. There were very few bats, and only a few invertebrates. A whip spider and a Huntsman spider with egg case -

One had a small stream going in. There were pig footprints in the mud

 In one cave the floor consisted of soft dry 'clay' and my foot went right through
 Cave pebbles

 Is this a bath for pigs?

Some of the flora outside was quite interesting. I don't know what these are

 or what this is

There were some huge Alocasia, or keladi, which made us look like smurfs
Large monophyllaea -

We continued on around and after a lunch break, came to a cave which I was sure I recognised from Feb. The others said it just looked similar. I was really puzzled as to me it seemed to be the same cave, Gua Tekong Jodoh -

We continued on and I thought I recognised the terrain. Came to another cave and went in  and I realised it was Gua Tekong Terowong. We went right through and then Laili was also convinced it was the same cave. Somehow we had done a circle.

We sat down and discussed how we had gone round in a full circle without realising. We were presumably inside a wang. I don't think we had walked very far in terms of distance as we had been popping in and out of caves all the time - but when looking across the forest from Gua Tekong Terowong, we couldn't see any sign of the hill opposite. It was strange, but we concluded it has to be a wang. Laili named it the Hidden Garden.
This is a rough outline of the wang from Google Earth. At a very rough estimate the diameter is only 200 m, which doesn't seem much, considering we could not see across the wang through the trees.
If it is an enclosed wang, that would explain why the keladi had grown so big, as it was undisturbed. Also we had seen no footprints of big mammals and no elephant dung, because of course they wouldn't be able to get into the Hidden Garden.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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