Gua Damai Cave Exploration Tests Mental, Physical Endurance

strong>By Balkish Awang

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – A truly challenging but no less exhilarating experience await adventurers raring to explore the caves in Gua Damai located behind the iconic Batu Caves.  

The caves are within the Gua Damai Extreme Park which, besides cave explorations, also offers a host of extreme sports activities such as BASE jumping, rock climbing and abseiling.

The park was among the places a group of 22 journalists was taken to during a recent media tour organised by the Ministry of Communications and Digital.  

Participants of the 2023 Media Adventure Program will have to go through various challenges climbing and descending the hill in the Gua Damai Extreme Park. -- photoBERNAMA (2023) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The four-day programme was aimed at introducing the media to tourist attractions in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

To get to the Gua Damai caves – which, according to the participating journalists, was the tour’s most challenging destination – one has to hike up a 100-metre-high forested hill, Bukit Lembah Damai, which itself can be physically challenging.

The park, spread over two hectares and managed by a private firm Wira Adventure Consultant, has five main caves, namely  Crystal Cave, Dog Cave, Chili Padi Cave, Ichibawa Cave and Fig Tree Cave, and several other caves as well.

Crystal Cave, however, is not open to the public and only researchers and students carrying out studies are allowed there.




On the way up the hill, the Wira Adventure Consultant guides accompanying the reporters pointed to various herbs and plants growing lushly in the wild. Among them are Tongkat Ali Hitam (Polyalthia bullata), Ubi Gadong (Dioscorea hispida), Sehelai Setahun (Monophyllaea glauca), Derhaka Mertua (Plumbago indica), Ubi Kekek (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius) and Akar Patawali (Tinospora crispa), some of which are said to have healing properties.

It took the participants about an hour or so to get to the Gua Damai caves where a thrilling, and scary to some, caving experience awaited them.

This writer, who is of small stature, felt apprehensive the moment she stepped into the Fig Tree Cave – it was pitch dark inside and traversing its difficult terrain was no mean feat.

Wearing safety gear such as a helmet and harness and equipped with a headlamp, the journalists were ready to explore Fig Tree as well as other caves located beneath it. The climb down was steep but the views were mesmerising.

The first cave, located on the left side below Fig Tree, is known as Batik Cave as its texture resembles batik. The right side offered a panoramic and stunning view of Langsir Cave.      

It took the group about two hours to explore the Gua Damai caves.



 Gua Damai Extreme Park founder and manager Mustapha Al-Bakri, who lives in nearby Kampung Wira Damai, said he started exploring the caves in Gua Damai after he realised it had the potential to be developed into a tourist attraction as well as a destination for extreme sports activities.  

Back in 1997, Mustapha, who was then working as a handyman, would head for the Bukit Lembah Damai area after work each day with some youths from his village. Over there, they would clear some of the rocks from the cave area as well as create a trail for the public to hike up the hill.

In 1998, armed with a capital of RM100,000 comprising his savings, he opened the Gua Damai Extreme Park.

“My keen interest in extreme sports drove me to develop the site and open a park for cave exploration and extreme sports. Not only that but my house is also located nearby,” he said.

Mustapha, who is also a Level-3 recreational coach with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, said his company Wira Adventure Consultant rents the site where Gua Damai Extreme Park is located from the Selayang Municipal Council for RM700 a month.

He said he was disappointed that although his park was opened to the public 25 years ago, many people, even those living close by, were still unaware of its existence.

“Not many people know that Gua Damai is a hub for extreme sports or of its unique caves. It’s a place where they can participate in interesting activities with their families and friends,” he said, adding that the lack of publicity could be a reason for this.



Gua Damai is the location of choice for international BASE Jump divers who do not miss the opportunity to perform their diving stunts. -- FotoBERNAMA (2023) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Mustapha also said that Gua Damai is a popular spot for BASE jumping and has attracted thousands of professional BASE jumpers from countries such as Mexico, France, Japan, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Indonesia, Austria and India.

BASE jumping is an extreme sport that involves leaping from a high place and parachuting to the ground. 

“We have been organising the Gua Damai International BASE Jump for 14 years. We were forced to put it on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic but will resume soon,” said Mustapha, who is skilled in handling activities that require the use of ropes and has also explored most of the caves in Malaysia.

He added that Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari is among the leaders who often visit the Gua Damai Extreme Park to participate in some of the activities there.  

Participants of the 2023 Media Adventure Program take a memorable photo in front of Gua Damai Extreme Park. -- fotoBERNAMA (2023) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Selangor government has recognised the Gua Damai area as a geosite, which is waiting to be gazetted as part of a unified national geopark in Selangor.

Meanwhile, sharing his experience, Gaya travel magazine reporter Ameen Nur Hadee Ishak said he has previously taken part in caving activities in, among others, Gua Tapadung in Lahad Datu, Sabah, and Via Ferrata in Gua Musang, Kelantan, but he found the Gua Damai caves most challenging.

“The Gua Damai trails were very slippery and we had to use ropes to climb. Even though it was tough and tiring, my exhaustion disappeared as soon as I was inside as the stalagmites and stalactites were amazing to look at. It was fun,” he said.


Translated by Rema Nambiar





© 2024 BERNAMA. All Rights Reserved.