Top Places To Visit in Perlis 2020
Gua Kelam of Perlis, Malaysia: Everything You Need to Know


Gua Kelam is one of the most underrated caves in Malaysia. Also known as the Cave of Darkness, this interesting Perlis attraction is made up of two smaller connected caves known as Gua Kelam 1 and Gua Kelam 2. The journey into the cave begins at Kaki Bukit and ends unexpectedly at a beautifully landscaped open park. The gangway that runs through the cave keeps curious visitors on track while safety gears such as helmets must be put on at all times as there are several narrow areas with low ceilings and long stalactites.

Note: This article talks about one of the best kept secret of Gua Kelam. Continue reading to learn about this hidden location. 

Exploring Gua Kelam of Perlis, Malaysia

The walk through Gua Kelam is a breeze, and it is unlike many of the caving experiences I’ve had. It is absolutely suitable for those who are looking to learn more about the country’s mining history, but adventure seekers can choose a different option - which brings you through the same route but ends with an one-hour river wading experience.

For the usual route: You will not get wet and you will not require a head lamp. There is very minimal climbing involved, other than a few flights of stairs.

Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Upon reaching the site, you will see the Perlis State Forestry Department office
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Gua Kelam is located within the Banjaran Nakawan range of Thailand-Malaysia
Gua Kelam Camping
There is more honestly more climbing involved outside of the cave than inside (heh)


The History of Gua Kelam

Located 33 kilometres north of Kangar, this 370-metre long cavern was formed during the country’s olden tin-mining days. In 1935, the English used the water pathways as a channel to transport tin ores from the mine which they discovered within Kaki Bukit's underground cavern. According to history, the name Gua Kelam is given by the miners due to the darkness within the cave. The miners had to use carbide lamps to light up the cave in order to carry out their activities.

Today, there is a wooden walkway that has been built inside the cave for visitors to walk on. Almost everything inside the cave are left the way they were - including remnants from the tin mining activities.
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The out-of-service trolley train rails that were used in the past to get into the the cave
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A wooden walkway is built for visitors to walk on throughout the cave
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Helmets are a must as the roofs are lower in certain parts of the cave
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
The guide stops to point out interesting features in the cave
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Explanation by the guide is very detailed, making the tour an interesting one
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Formations in the Gua Kelam
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We were so lucky to come across a cave-dwelling frog!
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
More interesting formations (which names I unfortunately do not recall)
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Another group of visitors ahead of us. 
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
If you look close enough, you can see writings in the cave that were left behind by the former cave dwellers - miners that were brought here to work from China by the British
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Inside Gua Kelam, you will find writings on the walls with a similar theme: the miners' professing their love for women and their longing to return home.
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Unique inscriptions found in Gua Kelam
The History of Gua Kelam
'Graffiti’ on the walls of Gua Kelam
Gua Kelam Rock Climbing
Writings on the walls left behind by the miners in Gua Kelam, believed to be written using charcoal.
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
A hoe left behind from the mining era
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
You will find "doors" within the caves marked with initials at the borders that separate different territories belonging to different leaders
Top Places To Visit in Perlis 2020
The mesmerising interior of Gua Kelam
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Interesting formations within Gua Kelam
Perlis Travel Guide
Remnants from the tin mining operations can still be found intact in Gua Kelam
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Beautiful interiors of Gua Kelam
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
The guide stops to show us the formations in Gua Kelam
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One of the many interesting formations in the Kelam Cave
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Interiors of Gua Kelam
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
Beautiful natural formations within the Gua Kelam cave
best caves in malaysia
天 means sky. The Chinese offer their prayers to Tian (天) which is one of the oldest Chinese term for heaven. This small area is found within Gua Kelam that shows the miners' praying rituals.


The Secret of Gua Kelam: The Highlight of Our Experience

Almost halfway into the eye-opening caving experience, the guide stopped and told us that he has a surprise in store for us.

In front of us was a steep pile of rubble and crushed rocks. He told us that if we make the climb, we will discover Gua Kelam’s most precious secret.

I thought to myself, “Finally, some real action!” I was so excited. I cannot possibly be anymore ready.

The climb is steep but very short. To our surprise, on top of the rubble is another sizable cave - but this one is different: it holds a few shocking remnants from the past.

Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
The steep climb to a secret location within Gua Kelam

We were stunned to find what is in this cave.

There isn't any information about these findings online. This is a secret treasure that you will only discover during your visit to Gua Kelam.

Within this mini cave are several cairns - or man-made piles of stones that according to history, are typically erected as burial monuments, for defense or for ceremonial purposes. The local authorities are against the idea of knocking down these historical structures, so no one is able to tell what is hidden beneath these cairns with certainty.

Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
These hidden cairns within Gua Kelam is the cave's best kept secrets.
Gua Kelam Perlis Malaysia
I only took archaeology for one semester in university, but I am convinced that these cairns are burial sites for the miners who died during their time in Gua Kelam. In Chinese customs, alcohol (typically rice wine) is placed on the altar before being offered in libation by pouring it in front of the tombstone horizontally from right to left with both hands in honor of the deceased.

I am still in awe with what I saw.

Think you have the answers for Gua Kelam's greatest mystery? Go on a guided tour into this hidden part of the cave and make your own observations.

Gua Kelam Map

Although there is a map and wooden path to guide you through the cave, hiring a tour guide is a must as the cave is huge.

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The map of Gua Kelam
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Information on Gua Kelam
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Upon exiting Gua Kelam, you will be greeted by this beautiful lake and a manicured park.


Gua Kelam Rock Climbing, Hiking & Flying Fox

There are many activities available at Gua Kelam, such as flying fox and rock-climbing.

Gua Kelam flying fox
Craving for some actions? Gua Kelam has a series of activities lined up for visitors, such as flying fox.


Gua Kelam 3D Gallery

The Gua Kelam 3D Gallery opened in December 2019, and it is the first of its kind gallery in Perlis. It showcases five different concepts, which are flora and fauna, tropical rainforest, mining, cave and the Malaysian jungle. Many of its walls are painted by local artists which make great backgrounds for photographs.

Gua Kelam 3D Gallery
Preserved snakes found in Gua Kelam
Gua Kelam 3D Gallery
Remnants left behind by the Chinese miners in Gua Kelam
Gua Kelam 3D Gallery
Display of preserved butterflies that can be found in the Perlis State Park

Gua Kelam Camping

There is an allocated camping ground at Gua Kelam, called the Hujan-Hujan Camp Site. Gazebos, an activity hall and other facilities are available. Campsite rental charges are priced at RM2 per adult and RM1 for students.

Please inquire before your visit if you are planning to camp here.

Gua Kelam Nature Run

The Gua Kelam Nature Run or #GEKRUN is an annual marathon that brings participants through narrow town trails along former mining sites, state parks, rubber farms, limestone caves and oil palm plantation. The event starts and ends at the entrance to Gua Kelam located at Kaki Bukit, Perlis.

Be a Responsible Visitor at Gua Kelam

There are certain parts in the tunnels which are narrow with low ceilings. Although you will be given a protective helmet, always be aware of your surroundings and try to avoid grazing the roofs as you could be breaking the calcite crystal straws which take decades to form!

Most importantly, do not vandalise! Walking through the last part of the cave was a heart-breaking experience 

Gua Kelam Camping
Vandalism found near the exit of the cave by irresponsible visitors when the cave was open to public a few years ago.


How to Get to Gua Kelam, Perlis

You can reach Gua Kelam either by car or public transport.

If you are going by bus, hop onto a bus that heads to Kaki Bukit from the Kangar’s main bus station, and walk for 10 minutes to get to the ticket office.

If you are going by car, exit from the North-South Highway (PLUS) via Changlun and take the Changlun-Kuala Perlis highway to Kangar and drive toward Padang Besar. Look out for signboards with Kaki Bukit.

Gua Kelam Guest House & Hotels

There are several guest houses and budget hotels located close to Gua Kelam available for less than RM100 per night. For a more comfortable stay, you can opt for hotels in the city that are located approximately 20 kilometres away.

Booking.com

Gua Kelam Ticket Price

Here is the list of ticket prices for the activities and services in Gua Kelam:

(Mykad / Non-Mykad)
Gua Kelam 1 Entrance Fees
Adult RM3 / RM5
Child RM1 / RM3

Gua Kelam 3D Gallery
Adult RM3 / RM5
Child RM2 / RM3

Gua Kelam 2 Guided Tour
RM80 per group (max 10 pax)

Gua Kelam Perlis, Malaysia

Address: KM 2, Jalan Kaki Bukit, 01000 Kangar, Perlis
Phone Number: +604-938 4466 (Perlis Forestry Office), +6012-455 2121
Email: forestry@perlisforestry.gov.my
Opening hours: 9.00am-6.00pm

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