sign in a cave in Laos

29 November 2016

Perak Tong on new Malaysian stamp

In Nov 2016 Pos Malaysia issued a new series of stamps, Places of Worship. There are 5 stamps of 60 sen in the set, and one of them features Perak Tong cave temple in Ipoh.

From Pos Malaysia :
Places of Worship
Date of Issue 21 November 2016
Date Of Sale 21 November 2016 Sales at all Pos Offices, nationwide
16 November 2016 Sales started for First Day Cover (without stamps) at all Pos Offices, nationwide

Unfortunately the leaflet that comes with the FDC has wrongly translated the name of the cave and also gives the wrong location!! It should be called Perak Tong or Perak Cave, not Tong Temple, and it is located in Gunung Tasek, not Gunung Rapat.

29 October 2016

Cave snakes grabbing bats video

The cave racer catches its prey as it flies by. Racers have been observed to hang over ledges and catch bats flying by. I have seen them climbing cave walls with ease.

The cave racer in Malaysia, Orthriophis taeniurus, is commonly known as a rat snake. Rat snakes are found in many countries. In Oct 2016 National Geographic published a 2 minute video of yellow-red rat snakes (Pseudelaphe flavirufa) catching bats in a cave near the town of Kantemó in southern Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. See the article and video here.

Watch Snakes Grab Cave Bats From Mid-air
The mysterious Kantemó Bat Cave, or Cave of the Hanging Serpents, is home to unique (and rather creepy) wildlife.

31 August 2016

British tourist dies in Gua Mampu, Sulawesi

I went to Gua Mampu in south Sulawesi in 1994. The cave is located in a hill in Bone regency.

We didn't survey the cave as the French  “Association Pyrénéenne de Spéléologie (APS)” had been there 2 years earlier.

In 2016 a British tourist died in the cave. This report is taken from The Jakarta Post, 30 August.

British tourist found dead inside cave in S.Sulawesi

British tourist found dead inside cave in S.SulawesiDangerous beauty -- A tourist takes a picture inside Mampu Cave in Cabbeng village, Bone regency, South Sulawesi. (
A British man has been found dead inside Mampu Cave in Cabbeng village, Bone regency, South Sulawesi.
Bone Police criminal investigation unit head Adj. Comr. Hardjoko said on Tuesday that the cave’s administrator reported the discovery of the UK citizen, identified as Stephen David Miller, 55, at around 4:30 p.m. local time on Monday but he was not removed from the location until 8:00 p.m.
He said it was suspected that the tourist had died after falling in the cave as he had extensive injuries to his limbs, head and abdomen.
“It is probable he fell while he was attempting to climb the wall of the cave. He wasn’t using either climbing equipment or safety tools and the walls of the cave are steep and slippery,” said Hardjoko.
He added that Miller reportedly went to Mampu Cave alone at around 10:00 a.m. Two cave guides, Ansar bin Siri and Sirajudin, had offered him assistance in exploring the cave but the victim rejected these offers and chose to explore the cave alone.
“It was getting dark at 4:00 p.m. and the victim had not yet come out of the cave so the guides decided to search for him. They found him lying face downward and dead, around 500 meters from the mouth of the cave,” said Hardjoko.
A UK passport was found in the victim’s trouser pocket. His body is currently being held at Tenriawaru Regional General Hospital in Bone while awaiting confirmation from the immigration office in Makassar. (ebf)

News about the inquest was published in the media in mid January.
See Bristol Post 18 Jan and Mirror

1 July 2016

Quarrying of Bukit Sagu & Bukit Tenggek, Pahang 2016

I first blogged about the quarrying of Bukit Sagu & Bukit Tenggek in Pahang in August 2014. The hills are being quarried by YTL. This quarrying is resulting in the extinction of some rare endemic snails.

On 30 June 2016 Mongabay published a very good piece "Cement company may have caused extinction of 3 snail species".

Cement company may have caused extinction of 3 snail species

 / Shreya Dasgupta

For more recent updates up to 2020, see my 2014 blog .

6 April 2016

Plain of Jars new discoveries

The Plain of Jars in Laos has always puzzled scientists as it is not known why there are thousands of jars strewn across the terrain. See my blog from my 2007 visit on the Plain of Jars.

In April 2016 there was some interesting news that scientists have found signs of ancient burial rituals at the Plain of Jars. The jars are thought to be at least 2000 years old. Although human remains have been found in the past, there are now further finds :
"...three different types of burials had now been discovered; bones placed in pits with a large limestone block on top, bones buried in ceramic vessels, and a single body in a grave."
Read more on BBC news from 5 April 2016.

Grotte Crematoire is a small cave, a single chamber, with evidence of smoke, so it may have been a crematorium or even a kiln. Inside the cave -

Research will continue on the site.

See a detailed article on ABC website.

21 March 2016

Tin dredge in Selangor

Every time I go to Kuala Lumpur airport, I look out to see if the dredge is still there. And as of March 2016, it is!

See my blog on the Selangor dredge from 2010.

Many press reports write that the dredge at Tanjung Tualang in Perak is the only one in Malaysia. That is wrong. There are still two dredges in Malaysia!

7 January 2016

Iron Hill at Gunung Rapat, Perak

Iron Hill is an area of Gunung Rapat that presumably was mined for iron. A trail leads up the hill through 3 wangs. First time I visited in Feb 2010 access to the trail was behind the Poh Yeh Ngam temple (aka Porok Giam in 2015). The path led past a series of shrines built against the cliff, Wat Putabatwanapuparam, Deep Jungle Mountain Buddhist Feet, aka Tokong Siam.

The start of the trail -

On my next visit in Aug 2015 I discovered that the trail has now been incorporated into part of the
Qing Xin Ling complex and there is an entry fee - the above photo is the back lake at Qing Xin Ling.

The first part through a small gorge is lined with displays of old shops and artifacts

 In the first wang are some dinosaurs! -

From here concrete steps lead on up the hill but there is no further developments. You come to the second level as indicated by the red writing

The flora is interesting. There are lots of monophyllaea

 this one I call the jelly plant as the stem is very soft, I don't know its real name -

After climbing up and up you reach this point with a view

Unfortunately the heavens opened and we were unable to go on up to the triangulation point, instead we made a hasty but careful descent as the trail was really slippery.
Old cables left by the miners

We sheltered below one of the old huts used by the miners and watched the rain

Back to the tourist part -

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

Qing Xin Ling village, Gunung Rapat

Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village

Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village is a newish attraction at Gunung Rapat, near Ipoh, in Perak, Malaysia. The complex consists of a lake surrounded by limestone hills and has been developed into a tourist attraction. It has been described as a mini Guilin although this isn't a very apt description.

There is a path right around the lake. When I visited in Aug 2015 the lake was a dirty green colour and there was quite a bit of rubbish on the water. The front section has chalets built by the water and there are hawker stalls. The chalets are all built in different designs but are a bit gaudy.

There were a couple of goats and they had obviously been drugged so people could touch them, which was really sad to see

The next section, the walk around the back lake was very enjoyable, as there are several types of plants and some interesting rock formations, ducks and geese (and rubbish). 

Murals have been painted on the rocks, depicting tin mining and rubber tapping, pomelos, etc

There is a small museum in a rock shelter, with old photos of Ipoh area, artifacts and rock samples
 Looking down on the complex-

At the car park there are some strange statues

There is a RM4 entry to the place. There are bikes for hire to go around the area.

In the next valley is a trail up to Iron Hill. This used to be free access but now the start of the trail has been taken over by the Qing Xin Ling complex, so you can only get there by paying the entry fee. See next blog on Iron Hill.