Merapoh in Kuala Lipis is an interesting district surrounded by large karst rock formations which just pop up all around this valley and thus making it well-known in Malaysia for its impressive caves…. I think there are about 500 caves in the area surrounding Merapoh, but only 12 are safe for tourism and public…..
Anyway it is said that Kuala Lipis, which happens to be the old capital of Pahang state is slotted to be the next Geopark of Malaysia and within this charming town, you can find some truly amazing caves – one of it which is the Dragon Scale Cave (Gua Sisik Naga) which is truly unique and breathtaking because it has ridges in the roof which is pretty much like looking at the backbone of a dragon, if one were walking inside its stomach…..
It takes about 5 minutes walk through some bushes and path before you reach the entrance of the cave. The cave is a little challenging as it comes with a narrow path that visitors need to squeeze through but that struggle to witness the dragon backbone interior is really worth it.
The second cave we headed to was to the Meteor Shower Cave or known to locals as Gua Tahi Bintang, named after the streaky / meteor shower formations or designs found on the cave wall…
Again a 5 to 10 minute trek through bushes and a small part of forest… it was rainy but we prevailed….
The Meteor Shower Cave (Gua Tahi Bintang) is a breathtaking cave with flowstones or what looks like travertine terraces that reminds one of Pamukkale…..
Another surprise this 500-metres-long hollow, offer would be its glittery or sparkly pavement (kinda like someone sprinkled or dropped stardust on the ground)— a natural phenomenon that happens because of calcite or minerals that make up the cave’s pavement…. Not to forget the beautiful stalagmite and stalactites and the unique meteor shower designs on part of the cave wall…
It sure is one of the prettiest caves I have seen, so watch out for it!!! And check it out!!
We then headed back to our homestay in the traditional kampung at Felcra Sungai Temau where we had the whole house to ourselves….
Dinner on our first night in Felcra Sungai Temau was a BBQ dinner which was prepared by the friendly villagers…. After which we retired for the night to rest before getting ready for our kayaking activities that would take place the next morning…..
The day started with nasi lemak with fried chicken at Puan Shaidah’s little food stall… she runs the food business along with her Warisan Dodol business from her stalls in Sungai Temau….
She gave some demonstrations on the making of dodol, a traditional chewy-somewhat like gummy kinda coconut sweet…. Depending on her orders or time of the year, she can produce some assortments of dodol — gula kabong, pandan, durian…. We got to try the one, which the locals eat with bread….
When we were done, we got to the back of one of the Hilux and off we went through the Central Spine Road to some palm oil plantation and so… until we came to a section of the Sg Yu river
We were pretty well taken care off because we had guides as well as a few members of the forestry department following us
Normally they would go for a long stretch (which might take a good portion of the day – 5 to 6 hours) of the teh tarik kinda-colored Sungai Tanum near Cegar Perah but for our trip, it was a shorten stretch at the nearby Sungai Yu as we were a little hard pressed for time and this stretch only took about an hour (plus minus)
The river was pretty and unspoiled, flanked at the sides by tall trees and bushes…. The biggest challenge would be the fallen trees or branches that become obstacles you need to carefully navigate through along with some small rapids….
Tuah Travel provides kayaks — you can ride solo or with another person — and guides to follow you and bring you safely to the end point near Cegar Perah. If you’ve never been in a kayak, you may have some trouble adjusting to the river flow, so talk to your guide and in case, ride with them.
We came back in time for lunch at a small warong at Cegar Perah and then headed to see some of the cottage industries Cegar Perah had like boat making and even pretty furnishings and tables made from Jati and other wood…
Then it was a short visit to the Bateq tribe, an indigenous group that lived in a small village not too far away from Cegar Perah…
We were warmly welcomed with a garland of fragrant ummm tobacco roots or something like that…
And the indigenous villagers sang and danced for us while the village pet black hornbill kept watch on a tree on top of us….
One of the villagers also showed us some of their handicrafts (baskets) and the herbs or parts of trees they used for medicinal values… it sure was an interesting experience….
We headed back to our homestay for a rest before joining some of the village ladies in preparing for a meal- in this case making Gulai Kawah and Jelatah…..
We then ate what we prepared and watch the villagers at Kampung Sungai Temau entertain us with karaoke, as well as a couple of silat performances … for those of you (my friends overseas) who don’t know what it is, it is a form of martial art, pretty deadly but it is also almost like a form of dance….
The good villagers and some of the indigenous people of Cegar Perah and Sungai Temau with the help of IC – CFS (Central Forest Spine) are doing their best in contributing to the local economy by promoting eco-tourism, besides the normal plantation activities… so with the beautiful natural caves, rivers etc around, this initiative is definitely worth the support….
For more info or for a trip, please check out tuahtravel.com