sign in a cave in Laos

30 April 2012

Gua Landak, Langkawi

Gua Landak is on the main island of Langkawi, in Kedah, Malaysia. Local tour guides take tourists into the cave.
The cave is located just a short distance from the road. Cave entrance -
There are a few nice formations inside
There are also crickets and bats
and some fungi
© Liz Price No reproduction without permission

16 April 2012

Tempurung Cave Cleanup - Earth Day 2000

In the days when the Malaysian Nature Society had active cave groups in Perak and Selangor, they used to remember Earth Day by cleaning up places such as caves.

On Earth Day 2000, Saturday April 22 was the 30th Anniversary of Earth Day. On the following day, which was Easter Sunday, a group of about 20 cavers and volunteers gathered at Gua Tempurung in Perak to clean the cave.

We split up into 3 teams. On group followed the streamway, another the walkway, and the third concentrated on the steeper parts. Some of the Selangor Group members had brought ropes and SRT gear in order to reach rubbish in deep crevices.
The streamway group -

See my write up in The Star.

See more on Gua Tempurung rubbish.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

Tempurung Cave Cleanup 2000 - Star

The Star
Saturday, May 13, 2000
Off The Beaten Track

Spring cleaning a cave
© Liz Price

EASTER Sunday saw a motley group of cavers armed with black plastic
rubbish bags and pink rubber gloves descend on Gua Tempurung in Perak.
Whilst many people throughout the Christian world were hunting for
chocolate Easter eggs on that day, we were hunting for something less
palatable ........rubbish. We were remembering Earth Day.

Saturday April 22 was the 30th Anniversary of Earth Day and this year's theme was climate change. Earth Day began with some small protests in a couple of cities 30 years ago. But on this weekend, millions of people in
more than 100 countries took part in what's now known as "Earth Day." People picked up garbage, planted trees, and found ways to get around that didn't use gasoline -- from jogging to canoeing. Religious leaders offered prayers for the Earth.

US President Bill Clinton called global warming the most crucial environmental challenge now facing the world. "If we value our coastlines or farm lands and our vital biodiversity, we must build a national consensus to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases," he said. Many scientists believe greenhouse gases, made up mainly of carbon dioxide from burned fossil fuels, are responsible for a slow but risky increase in the Earth's average temperature.

As part of Earth Day 2000, we had opted to do our bit by collecting rubbish from the cave. Gua Tempurung is West Malaysia's finest show cave, but unfortunately the spectacular views within are often marred by unsightly rubbish dropped by thoughtless visitors. So we decided to give the cave a spring clean.

A bunch of cavers from Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh turned up bright and early, having camped outside overnight, and were ready and waiting even before the cave was open for visitors. There were about 20 cavers and volunteers from the Malaysian Nature Society Selangor and Perak branches, as well as the media to record this event. We broke up into three teams and set off.

One group followed the streamway, another the walkway, and a third abseiled down some of the steeper parts, in an attempt to collect the rubbish dropped by careless visitors. Despite the notice boards placed outside the cave, reminders by the guides not to drop rubbish, and the rubbish bins placed throughout the cave, visitors still drop their trash anywhere. The cave is beautiful, so why do people spoil it by dumping their unwanted items.

The streamway group found most of their rubbish consisted of plastic water bottles and old shoes. Shoes have a habit of falling apart in caves, and are often dumped by inconsiderate visitors. The opther groups found that their refuse was mainly tissues, sweet wrappers, and drink containers -- cans, boxes and plastic bottles. People were too lazy to use the garbage bins, preferring to throw the rubbish anywhere rather than carry it to the next bin. And as expected, much of the rubbish was thrown down holes or the steeper parts. Out of sight is definitely not out of mind in this cave, as we still made an effort to remove whatever was accessible.

One other more natural problem is waste matter getting washed into the cave. Gua Tempurung has two entrances, with a river flowing in one end and out the other. The eastern entrance where the stream enters the cave is below the North - South Highway. A lot of debris and pollutants get washed in, such as oil, diesel spillages, tree branches and even timber planks. Following the landslide on the highway in January 1996, the road was re-routed, and therefore a lot of contractors were called in to do the work. Some of the debris they left behind got washed into the cave over the following months, even large diesel drums have been found in the cave streamway.

The cave is rich in indigenous fauna, and goodness only knows what is
happening to it now. The water looks quite clear, but knowing that oils and diesel do get washed into the cave, I don't know how the cave fauna is coping.

After a few hours of hard work, we were "rewarded" by about 10 sackfuls of rubbish. We hauled it out of the cave, much to the amazement of incoming visitors. I felt like warning them all not to drop any more trash. Even as we went out, we were faced with freshly dropped litter, which had been dropped by tour groups entering during the day after us. It seemed our task was never ending. However we had had a satisfying day, knowing we had done our bit for Earth Day.

Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd. (Co No. 10894-D)
All rights reserved.

15 April 2012

Nui Kim Son, Marble Mountains, Vietnam

Nui Kim Son (Metal or Gold) is across the road from Nui Hoa Son (Fire). These are two of the five Marble Mountains at Da Nang in central Vietnam.

The first cave we visited on Nui Kim Son was Dong Quan Am. There was construction work going on outside (July 2011).

A very young monk with an interesting hair cut!

Steps lead down to a small entrance.

Passage leads to a smallish chamber with a large fenced stalactite, which was just cm from the floor.

A passage leads onto a chamber with a few bats, muddy floor and a small pool or sump. Saw a couple of Huntsmen and a whip spider.

Entrance has chert vertically down the wall.

Further along the road is another cave, Tam Thanh. A gated archway leads to a chamber open to the sky, although it is more like a rock shelter. There are insect eating bats hanging in semi dark and 2 Thai style Buddhas and a couple of other statues.

See more Marble Mountain photos.

Expedition results are published in Karst and Caves of South Vietnam, Part 1: Provinces of Kien Giang, An Giang and Da Nang. Michael Laumanns (editor). Published by Berliner Höhlenkundliche Berichte (BHB), Volume 43 , 2011 . To order, contact me or see BHB 2011.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

9 April 2012

Gua Tempurung fauna

I've been going to Gua Tempurung for years. In the days before it was a show cave, it was easy to see lots of fauna on the walls, especially in Top of the World below Rolls Royce garage.

Nowadays there is far less fauna there. Also on my most recent visit in March 2012 there seemed to be less bats generally throughout the cave - and I was caving in areas off the show cave route.

The cave has one "claim to fame" in that it has a trapdooor spider named after it, Lipthistius tempurung.

I have not taken many fauna photos, despite having visited Gue Tempurung many times.


whip spider


cricket feeding on a dead bat


I rarely see scorpions in Malaysian caves. See more on my webpage.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

5 April 2012

Geological Museum, Ipoh, Perak

The Geological Museum in Ipoh is located at the Jabatan Mineral dan Geosains Malaysia (Dept Mineral & Geoscience) on Jln Sultan Azlan Shah.

The building was opened in 1957 and was designed by Iverson.

The library is housed in one part of the building and the museum in another.
The museum used to be in a spacious room, with simple display cabinets of fossils, rocks, minerals and gemstones.

There was also an interesting collection of different cassiterite (tin ore) samples found in Malaysia as well as a diorama of tin mining in the country with explanations on the mining methods.

In 2011 the museum was extensively renovated, in time for Visit Perak Year 2012.

There is now a new entrance from the front of the building and you have to take your shoes off before entering.

The exhibition space was increased, by having smaller walk through areas and more exhibits.

The first section is on the history of the earth and geological processes
There is a tiny replica of a cave
And immediately beyond is an animated model of a dinosaur head that roars
This leads into a fossil section
There is a floor feature of the petrified wood in Arizona. After the display of rocks there are the minerals, crystals and gemstones. Specimens from all over the world are shown, rather than concentrating on local ones.
There are many full display cabinets of minerals, crystals and gemstones. I would prefer to see more emphasis on local collections.

After the uses of minerals, you walk into the tin and coal mining section.

The next displays are on mineral exploration and marine geology activities. A section on geological hazards makes out the processes such as landslides are all natural

Outside are a couple of buckets from a dredge

Admission to the museum is free. On entry to the complex you have to register at the guard house, and then show your pass and paper at the reception desk in the museum.

Official website of geological museum.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission