06 August 2013


My favorite natural wonder has long been caves. Ever since I spent a short but key period of my life living just outside of Mammoth Cave National Park, I've been amazed by the world that exists under the ground.
Thus far in all my cave adventures, my favorite cave by far has been Gua Tempurung. This cave doesn't necessarily have the biggest underground room, or the prettiest formations, but the tour experience is like no other cave tour I've ever been on, and I've enjoyed it enough to go back 3 times now.

Gua Tempurung offers either wet or dry tours. The dry tours are fairly short and only mildly strenuous (you might only be climbing 1000 stairs). The wet tours are a little more unusual. After reaching the end of the staircases, you head into the lower level of the cave where there are no staircases, no cement pathways, and no lights other than the flashlights you carry. In the lower level, you share the tunnel with the underground river that helped form the cave.

And you get very, very wet. It was only during this most recent tour that I discovered that fish actually live in this underground river--there was one 6 inch fish in particular that wouldn't seem to leave our feet alone, so I was on a mission to stay out of the water as much as possible. Judging from the pictures, I think I succeeded in keeping my head and shoulders dry for the most part.

Some of the passage ways in the cave are no more than 2 feet high. This means that you're doing a belly crawl in the cool water, trying to avoid banging your head on rocks that stick out a little lower than usual from the ceiling, and, depending on the water level, which varies, sometimes significantly, trying to keep your mouth above water as much as possible. 

Basically, it's awesome, and it's as close to real spelunking as I'll probably ever get. Angel and I looked at a "Wild Cave Tour" when we were last at Mammoth Cave National Park, but decided against going because tickets were around $50 and they required us to have actual hiking boots (How crazy is that? Okay, fine, it's sensible).

At Gua Tempurung, the 2.5 hour tour that we took this most recent time costs the equivalent of slightly less than $4 per adult. You don't have to sign any forms or waivers, they recommend that you carry flashlights or else you won't be able to see, but they don't have any types of rules on what kind of flashlights or how many people can share the use of one flashlight. They don't care what you wear--this last time, two of my younger sisters did the whole route in flip-flops (I wouldn't necessarily recommend that.

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Moonofsilver said...

Uh, you are brave. I would never willingly go into a cave of any sort.

Getting the shivers just thinking about it.Two foot tunnels? No thanks.

Anonymous said...

Fun! Caves kind of scare me, but I think it's so cool to see other people's pictures.

Tayler Morrell said...

Looks like you had a lot fun. I went spelunking once in 9th grade. Super fun!

Our Fairy Tale

Dara @ Not In Jersey said...

that looks fun to me! I once crawled through a cave in israel and sat in a room inside where if we turned off our lights it was pitch black and scary!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel, The caves look amazing and looks like you guys had a great time. I am not that adventurous but loving seeing your photos, especially the pic that looks like a heart shape.

Veronica Lee Burns said...

wow so cool!

Sarah Pete said...

That looks absolutely AWESOME!! I've never been to any caves at all, and they're totally on my bucket list. They're just stunning and a completely different world under the surface. They're incredible!

Suzanne said...

That looks like fun! Scary but fun.

We did caving in Australia that was exhilarating. I almost had a panic attack at one point but made it through. I think it was exciting because it was so scary.


Patty said...

That looks so cool! When I was little our family stopped at Mammoth caves on the way home from Disney about amazing!!