sign in a cave in Laos

1 April 2013

Gunung Lanno revisited

In Nov 2001 I was part of an international caving expedition to Gunung Lanno. Lannno is one of the largest limestone hills in the Kinta Valley in Perak, Malaysia and is located a few kilometres south of Ipoh. We explored and surveyed many caves and published the results in an expedition book. This is available for sale, contact me for details.

Since the expedition I have not been back to many of the caves. In March 2013 I wanted to photograph the historical graffiti on the walls on the western part of Lanno.

There is officially no access now as a company is mining sand in the area. However my friend Hong talked to the owner and explained what we wanted to do and the man very kindly allowed us in and even led us to where we wanted to go.

I was amazed by the changes. In 2001 the area was heavily vegetated with secondary forest and it was hard to see cave entrances. Now the whole area has been cleared, and the land bulldozed right up to the hill.

Unfortunately this meant there were piles of mud in front of some caves. And other caves were being used to store materials such planks, pipes and fencing.

Quite a depth of earth has been removed -

Some nice notches and a keyhole passge have been exposed

I had forgotten that the 3 caves Selari, Pulau and Batu Nesan are all so close. In 2001 it had not been easy to see with the vegetation. Gua Pulau is now completely dry, leaving a dry island!

The water in Gua Batu Nesan is being pumped out

There are now good views of the blind valley to the north where there are plans to build chalets and a small resort.  There are goats wandering around.

We looked at the graffiti. The earliest we saw was 1928. There is a lot from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, but nothing more recent. There are several Sikh names. I wonder if they were police during the Second World War and then the Emergency. The first set are taken in Gua Selari. The line Hong is pointing to translates as "may our comrades continue to strive".

Sikh names
 The bottom right photo says PL which may mean policeman (?). The most recent date we saw was 1961.

There was some pottery but I have no idea how old it is

 The main thing I wanted to photograph was the drawing of a soldier shooting a man. I wonder if this is from the Emergency.

There were very few other drawings. There were some flowers and a 'ghost face'.

I was glad to see that the cave register numbers we had put in place in 2001 are still there
An electric box has been installed

The climb up to Gua Selari upper chamber is now quite exposed -
We went in one of the lower entrances -
[Hong's photo]

Looking across the landscape

Register numbers :
Gua Selari Prk 18/15,  Gua Pulau Prk 18/16, Gua Batu Nesan Prk 18/17.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission