sign in a cave in Laos

25 November 2011

Gua Mampu, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Gua Mampu is the longest cave in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is about 4 km from Ulowe and about 30 km from Watampone (Bone). I visited in 1994.

It is the only hill in the area and from a distance doesn't look like limestone but as we got closer there were piles of limestone rock on the roadside.

From the car park we walked up past a cave entrance and stalls to the main cave. There is a small entrance fee (1500 Rp).

It was a Sunday and there were lots of visitors and they were curious about us.

It is a nice cave with large chambers and lots of openings.

Seemed to be a series of chambers going round in a circle. A man with a rifle walked around with us.

Lots of bats with the resulting sickly smell common to caves in Tator (Torajaland). The smell was overpowering in the lower chambers.

Collection of guano is big business with many full sacks stacked near the entrance. I was told they fetch 5000 Rp a sack (£1.40, 2004).

There are many legends and stories about the rock formations representing people and animals and in many places these were enclosed by railings and concrete posts with signs, e.g. Raja Mampu 1, Anjing etc.
There were paths and steps throughout the cave.

© Liz Price
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24 November 2011

Cave of Hands, Leang Leang, Maros, Sulawesi

There are two caves of archaeological significance in the Leang Leang Park, which is in the Maros karst in southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is not far from the capital Ujung Pandang. I visited the site in 1994 with some English cavers.

Leang Leang means "many caves" in the Makassarese dialect. The village of Leang Leang lies at the southern end of the limestone massif which houses all these caves and rock shelters. Although there are other rock paintings in Indonesia, these are some of the most easily accessible.

Pettae cave was first studied in 1950. During the archaeological excavations, several stone artifacts were found, such as flakes, blades, arrow heads, neolithic axes etc., as well as animal bones. In the same year the cave paintings were also found.

Pettakere Cave was only studied in 1973, by a British archaeologist. Again cultural artifacts were found, as well as a human skeleton. The cave walls have hand paintings, as well as the babirusa. In 1979 archaeologists from South Sulawesi continued the excavations.

Hand stencils and babi rusa

The main hill

See more on the Bantimurung area.

© Liz Price
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Bantimurung waterfalls, Sulawesi, Indonesia

About 45 km north of Ujung Pandang the Bantimurung waterfalls are set amid lushly vegetated limestone cliffs. This is the Bantimurung Waterfall Park. I visited in 1994 so these photos are old scanned one, hence not good quality.

Ujung Pandang (Makassar) is the capital of Sulawesi, the octopus-shaped island of Indonesia.

To get into the park, the road passed under a giant concrete monkey, which was waving with one hand and scratching its head with the other. Maybe it couldn't decide whether to welcome us or not. Apparently this 6m tall statue is of a lutung, which is a black, long-tailed leaf monkey indigenous to Sulawesi and Kalimantan.

Steep steps lead up the side of the tufa waterfall and onto the gorge with the blue river. It reminded me of the Bei Shui river which flows through the Jiuzhaigou Nature Park in Sichuan province in southern China. It must be the tufa which gives the milky blue colour.

Bantimurung is crowded with Indonesians on weekends and holidays, and at other times it's a wonderful retreat from the congestion of Ujung Pandang.

Gua Mimpi is a show cave in the park.

There is a boardwalk through the cave and there is a lot of nice stal.

The Bantimurung Nature Reserve covers 1000 ha. There are many other caves in these cliffs but apart from the scenery the area is also famous for its beautiful butterflies. The naturalist Alfred Wallace collected specimens here in the mid 1800s.

© Liz Price
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20 November 2011

Liphistius kanthan, trapdoor spider

Liphistius kanthan is a species of trapdoor spider and is only known in one location, a cave called Gua Kanthan in Perak, Malaysia.

There are a few species of cave dwelling trapdoor spiders known in Malaysia.

In Gua Kanthan they build their nests on the cave walls. The nests vary in size and shape.

These 2 nests are side by side

This door is slightly open

See more on Gua Kanthan and Liphistius

© Liz Price
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Gua Kanthan, Perak, Malaysia

Gua Kanthan is a large cave in Perak, Malaysia. It is located in Gunung Kanthan which is the northernmost limestone hill in the Kinta Valley.

I revisted the cave in Nov 2011 after an absence of 8 years. It was also my 8th visit to the cave.

The normal route up to the cave was "blocked" by water from the nearby pond so I found a different way up, via the abandoned temple up on the hill. This photos shows the temple in 1997

I managed to easily find the cave and Jan took this photo

The entrance is very impressive with some nice fluting.

The cave is also called Cathedral Cave due to its size. The main cave is a large single chamber with a river running through. However there is no need to get wet as the route through the main chamber is above the water level.
There is graffiti

Going down a climb

At the place where the river crosses the chamber, the way on is by traversing a ledge

At the next part of the chamber we were slightly too late to see the sunbeam - these pictures are from 1993 !

There are some nice gour pools just beyond, Jan took this photo
and a view of the flowstone

The cave is home to a trapdoor spider, Liphistius kanthan, which is found nowhere else in the world.

Looking back up towards Gua Kanthan

Gunung Kanthan is heavily quarried. The cave is on the south end, in a currently untouched area.

Gua Kanthan register number Prk 47/02.

See more on Liphistius kanthan and the Kanthan quarry.

© Liz Price
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16 November 2011

Thai Buddhas in cave temples in Perak

The state of Perak in Malaysia has an abundance of limestone hills and many of these hills are home to cave temples. The majority of temples are Chinese containing Buddha and other statues.

In the last few years I have noticed an increased change towards Buddhas in Thai style. It seems to be the latest trend. Several of the temples also have Thai monks in residence.

Here are a few of the Thai Buddha temples.

24 m high Tibetan Buddha at the Jingang Jing She temple.

Buddhas at the Trumcitta Vipassana temple at Gunung Bercham.

Gua Bahagia at Gunung Lang, also known as Fook Pou Tong or Cave of Happiness.

Lang Forest at Gunung Lang

Wat Puthanimittam at Gunung Ginting is not actually a cave temple but it is located on a limestone hill

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission