Jebak Puyuh Caves

Senyum 1 : Senyum Cave Complex
Senyum 2 : Speleothems
Senyum 3 : Flora & Fungi
Senyum 4 : Cave Fauna
Senyum 5 : Jebak Puyuh Cave Complex
Senyum 6 : The Secret Garden
Jebak Puyuh Cave Complex

The Jebak Puyuh (Malay: Quail Trap) Cave Complex is something of a hidden gem. The largest caves here may not be as big as those found in the Senyum Cave Complex, but they do take a bit more effort to get to and are thus left relatively untouched. Bear in mind that you will not find signs, well-trodden pathways, and metal stairwells that will help you gain access to the caves, and you will often-times have to push through overgrown forest trails to get there. All this makes the fact that cement companies are trying to get permission to mine this pristine area even more horrifying.

The cave complex is located less than an hour's walk from the southern end of the 'Taman Eko Rimba Gunung Senyum' lake. The trail itself was wide and easy to follow at first, and took us through the dipterocarp forest, heading south-east initially, and across wooden bridges and over the occasional hill. After walking about two and a half kilometres, we passed through a gap of sorts that measured approximately a hundred metres across, that separated the main cave complex of Jebak Puyuh from its much smaller limestone sibling to its south. At the time, we were completely unaware that we were passing between the two complexes due to the density of the foliage around us, but one indication that the gap is close is the appearance of random limestone formations that are scattered around.

An early glimpse of the Jebak Puyuh Cave Complex on approach; scattered limestone formations in the forest

Once we reached the smaller limestone complex, the first cave that we came across was Ular cave (English: Snake cave). The cave was fairly deep and contained a lot of interesting features that seemed to take the shape of various animals, with the most obvious one being the head of a massive dog. Further in, the passageway opened up into a well-lit and much larger chamber. A large sandy mound that is referred to as 'Gunung dalam gua' (English: The Mountain within the Cave) offered us an elevated vantage point that gave us a decent view of our surroundings and the scattered crepuscular rays that pierced through the multiple openings all around us.

View of the 'mountain' in Snake cave

View from the 'mountain' in Snake cave

Crepuscular rays

We left Ular cave and made our way north-east through a much denser section of the forest. The trail was quite overgrown and we were forced to unsheathe our parangs so that we could cut our way through. The overgrown foliage made the trail far less defined and the two consecutive river crossings, that meandered through the somewhat swampy terrain, ended up slowing down our progress considerably. By the time we reached the south-eastern tip of the main Jebak Puyuh Cave Complex, the rain clouds had begun to amass and rumbles of thunder could be heard fast approaching. We were very glad to be able to take shelter within the caves once again.

The cave that we then entered was called Kapal cave (English: Ship cave). There was an abundance of speleothems around--tendrils seemed to splay out from the base of stalactites, and sharp stalagmites hung down from the ceiling, all of which gave me the impression that we were entering the jaws of a carnivorous monster. There were stationary spiders of all shapes and sizes tucked into the corners and crevices of the cave, as well as an occasional cave centipede (Scutigera sp.) that scuttled away. As I was examining the walls of the cave, I also startled a Malaysian cherry red centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes dehaani), that had a vibrant blue head. The centipede darted away as I approached with alarming speed!

Not too far outside the other end of the cave passageway lay a small, fish-filled body of water that is referred to as 'Kolam Biru' (English: Blue pond), the name having been derived from its interesting blueish-turquoise sheen. Unfortunately, the rain was absolutely torrential by then, so we were unable to explore the outside of the cave and were forced to just hunker down and wait the rain out.

The blue pond

Next : The Secret Garden

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