Gua Kelam 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.

Read also: Exploring Gua Charas Temple Cave at Panching, Kuantan

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

    Gua Kelam Perlis, Malaysia: Everything You Need to Know

    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)

    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.

    gua kelam perlis 2020
    The out-of-service trolley train rails that were used in the past to get into the the cave
    hiking gua kelam
    A wooden walkway is built for visitors to walk on throughout the cave
    gua kelam 2
    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
    frog in gua kelam perlis
    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.
    things to do in perlis
    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
    historical places in perlis
    One of the many interesting formations in the Kelam Cave
    gua kelam hiking
    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.

    Attractions & Highlights

    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.

    Map & Trails

    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.

    gua kelam walking map
    The map of Gua Kelam
    gua kelam map
    Information on Gua Kelam
    BEST Malaysia Caverns & Caves
    Upon exiting Gua Kelam, you will be greeted by this beautiful lake and a manicured park.

    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


    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.

    Travel Tips for Visitors

    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.

    Accommodation & 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.

    Gua Kelam Entrance Fee

    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)

    Contact Information

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

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    1. ada aktiviti rock climbing & flying fox juga ye dkt gua kelam..ingatkan just tgk history dlm gua je..tq for sharing

    2. laat masuk gua kelam masa kecik2 dulu. jadi tak menghayati sangat. lepas pkp nak repeat lah. bomeh hiking skali

    3. Banyak info yang buat Sal teruja baca dari mula story sampai ends. Menarik sebab kejadian alam hadir dalam pelbagai bentuk yang sukar ditafsirkan

    4. Bestnya dapat explorer gua kelam ni..flying fox etc tu sekali dengan pakej ke?

    5. Thanks for sharing this. I never been to gua kelam or any gua in my life. Maybe after MCO I should start explore and travel more

    6. nampak macam menarik gua kelam kat Perlis ni. saya belum pernah sampai lagi katsini. selalu masuk gua kt Perak je.

    7. Mat Drat pernah ke Gua KKelam ni 3 4 tahun lepas, memang menarik batuan batuan dlm gua tu.

    8. Dah lama tak pergi sana. Walaupun dok di Kedah. hehe. Terima kasih berkongsi pengalaman kepada kami semua.

    9. Been here but did not explore further as there was limited time then but anyway good to know.

    10. Geram plak bile nampak orang yang jenis tak reti menjaga dan menghargai duk mencinteng dan musnahkan alam semulajadi ni..eeee ...
      Sis suka gak masuk gua-gua ni, tapi mindset ni jahat, selalu terbayangkan yang menjalar tu haaa adeiii...

    11. first time gak dengar nama gua kelam. memang menariklah pengalaman u. kalau harap saya masuk gua ni mmg takla, sejenis penakut

    12. Bestnya dapat ezplore dalam gua kelam. Pengalaman yang menarik. Ada juga flying fox dan rock climbing ye. Entrance fee pun murah je

    13. Aduhh bestnya dapat explore tempat2 sebegini. Sis baru tahu adanya gua kelam ni, kalau ada rezeki nak juga kesana. Thanks ya for the info

    14. Been to Gua Kelam for a few times, but just walk through the path. It was one of Perlis places of attraction.


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