Leaving the Lost World Hotel, Ipoh
Our last day in Ipoh we rose late and ate breakfast at the Garden Terrace. By 10:30am we had packed up our bags and checked out of the hotel. Our hosts came to say goodbye to us and we were filled with so much joy at their generosity. Thank you Lost World Hotel, we had a marvelous stay.
As a last memory we told the kids they could choose something from the giant gift store located at the entrance of the theme park. Our hosts escorted us through the staff entrance and into the store before anyone else had been let in. Exclusive shopping rights, I like that. Mia picked a pink turtle with bulging eyes and promptly named her Crush. Caius chose a penguin with big eyes and has slept with it every night.
We left the grounds with huge smiles having had a most glorious few days.
The Dark & Mysterious Gua Tempurung
Before heading back to Penang we decided to visit some of the limestone caves Ipoh is famous for. Gua Tempurung (or Goa Tempurong) is not located in Ipoh, but less than an hour drive south in the Kinta Valley.
Gua Tempurung is one of the larger cave systems found in the scenic limestone hills of Perak, and is in fact, the largest natural limestone structure in Peninsular Malaysia. The cave measures 1.9 km in length and 120 metres in height. Within the cave is a river-cave system. The river, Sungai Gua Tempurung runs about 1.6 km.
We got there at roughly midday and purchased a 40-minute tour for 6MYR ($2AUD) each, under 6 free. It doesn’t actually include a tour; it’s more a discover-on-your-own basis, which supposedly gave us access to the 3rd platform. I am not sure which platform we ended up going to, there was not much signage, but we went as far as the kids could manage and then started back again.
The opening was over the cave river and through a metal gate. Inside was lit up with soft multi-coloured lighting striking beautiful shadows on smooth walls. There were gaping holes in the roof and a path that lead around the whole interior.
One of the tours allowed for a 4-hour complete trek through 3.8 kms of the cave wading to the exit via muddy cave-rivers. Without kids I would of loved to be tackling the adventure of the mysterious caves, climbing stairs, witnessing the beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. Swimming in rim stone pools and sliding through river-caves. Enjoying the huge caverns made up of majestic columns of marble and seeking out the spider web of smaller caves. However with young kids we decided that would all need to wait for another time. Instead we did a children’s cave tour and walked as far as the little ones enjoyed before heading back out. It took barely an hour.
On our way through we met a lovely Egyptian couple that offered Mia one of their torches. All of a sudden the cave went from scary to a ‘Dora-the-Explorer-moment’. And the torch added a beautiful creative flare to our photos. Here is a photo of me giving them our details so that we can connect in Egypt some time next year, hopefully.
Throughout the interior there are lots of stairs, so beware, but if you are good with those you won’t even mind as the smooth limestone walls entertain you with their shadows and colours.
After we made our way out of the dark fortress the kids enjoyed an ice cream before we hopped back into the car. Original plans were to visit a playground, but both kids crashed as soon as the car started and so despite a deep desire for proper food we settle on drive-thru and headed home to Penang.
No Fuel & Traffic at a Standstill
Our way back was fraught with anxiety. Unbeknown to me the fuel tank was low and started flashing as I was tearing down the freeway. No petrol stations in site. Then we hit traffic. Stopped, dead-still traffic.
A few cars had decided to bypass the traffic in the emergency lane and being desperate for fuel and not to be stranded in the middle of the freeway between Ipoh and Penang we risked the emergency lane too.
After bypassing all the traffic we came upon the cause. A car wreck, not pretty. Upon passing that the fuel station turn off was not too far ahead and we breathed a sigh of relief as our fumes pushed us into the station.
It’s funny when you come back to a place you have been living for a month. It suddenly feels like home. We were so happy to cross that bridge and drive through the familiar, beautiful windy cliff roads to our home in Miami Green. To open the door, dump the bags, collapse on the bed and relish in the fact that we really were home.
Well home for one more month, anyway…