On Monday which was a public holiday, I went to Gua Tempurung with my sister, her frienhttp://backup.zyenhoo.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=190&action=editd Nathalee, and Nathalee’s husband Stephen. Gua Tempurung is a cave in Gopeng, Perak. We wanted to try basic caving, and there were guided cave tours with 4 different levels of difficulty:
- Walking tour through the Golden Flowstone Cavern (40 minutes)
- Walking tour to Top of the World and back (1 hour 45 minutes)
- Top of the World & Short River adventure (2 hours 30 minutes)
- Grand Tour – the whole works involving spelunking, sliding, and climbing (3 hours 30 minutes)
Each of these tours have different difficulty levels and different prices (read more at Gua Tempurung’s website).
We being the adventurous sort and being fit (self-declaration or self-denial, take your pick) of course took the most difficult level, which was supposed to be “strenuous”.
The tour was… OK. It got very boring and monotonous towards the end. But there’s a lot of things wrong with the way it was conducted.
- To start the tour, there is a required a minimum of 8 people, but that morning, what they did was they lumped all the participants who signed up for the toughest level in one big group of 40+. And the number of tour guides for this group was…. ONE. And this one guide never even did a head count before going into the cave; and throughout the caving tour, he never checked to see if everyone had arrived at the next checkpoint before moving onto the next, or before explaining something (especially how to do a particular activity). Oftentimes the four of us were a little left behind (because we were taking photos or something). Although we caught up easily enough, I couldn’t help thinking if anyone got injured, the guide wouldn’t even know, and it would be difficult to call for help.
- They did not properly inform us what we should and shouldn’t bring/wear. My sister had looked up on the Gua Tempurung website which said we should wear hiking boots. We didn’t have boots, so my sister and I wore sports shoes. However, Nat and Stephen wore strapped sandals. When we bought the tickets, they asked at the counter if the sandals were acceptable, and the reply was, “Yes, in fact that is better.” My sis and I were quite pissed off about that. I mean, we knew the tour was going to involve some water activities, but if we had known that those sandals were preferred, we’d have worn that instead. As a result, our shoes kept filling with sand and stones. By the end of the tour, I had to walk on tiptoe because the sand and stones hurt my feet.
- 5 minutes before we started the tour, one of the attendants said that we should not bring our wallets etc, and we should leave behind expensive cameras. Stephen had brought his DSLR camera. We had a quick discussion, and then just as the tour group started going in, we quickly requested to go to our cars to put our things down, but he said the tour was already starting, and said in BM, “I already told you not to bring those things earlier!” Yeah, 5 minutes before. Shouldn’t they have given us time to put things aside then? The four of us were silly enough to bring backpacks thinking we’d need water etc. None of the other participants brought anything else except a flashlight and some brought cameras.
- After we finished the tour, my sister and I filled up the guestbook, but it seemed that they preferred the guestbook to be filled in by foreigners because the attendant in charge of the book pointedly asked Stephen to fill it up, since he was a Mat Salleh. Yeah, we locals are just second-class citizens, right?
Anyway, as for the tour itself, the “strenuous activities” consisted of: wading through water, crawling through water, belly-crawling through water (we four skipped that one. We found that there was a way to walk around it, hahahahahaha), and one slide down a muddy slope. Nothing very stressful – for me, at least. I brought my waterproof Olympus camera and my sister took photos to her heart’s content.
I did have one fall in the cave, because my torchlight gave out as I was wading through the underground river, so I tripped and fell onto the rocks. No serious injuries, but I had a lot of bruises on my legs and arms because of that.
The tour took 4.5 hours for our group to complete because the group was too bg. By the end of the third hour, we were already actually getting bored. There was only so many photos we could take – all we could see was a dark background everytime we snapped because the flash couldn’t illuminate everything! So we compensated by having lots of stupid poses.
Oh… and I couldn’t resist. This photo screamed to be made into an ad. By the way, this Hercules bag has been with me since I was in Form 4 (1995)… so it’s been more than 10 years!! It’s very sturdy and it’s also waterproof. I love it not only because of that, but because no one else seems to have this bag, so no one could ever pick it up and pretend it’s theirs. In fact, no one would want to – it’s not a cool bag! Back in school when everyone was carrying branded stuff like Nike or Reebok or something, I happily carried this bag because I could see it a mile away, and if I left it anywhere unattended, no one could claim it as theirs. If anyone tried to make off with it, I could point and shout, “That’s mine!!!!”