ARE THESE STONE SCULPTURES …. OR ARE THEY PROPS FROM A MONSTER MOVIE SET?
No – but they very well could have been, I suppose, if you have an overactive imagination like me.
These are just natural formations from the limestone caves which Fat Dragon and I visited at Gunung Senyum (Smiling Mountain), a recreational Park, 40km off the town of Temerloh, Pahang in the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia during the labour day holiday. Imagine, these were carved out by tropical rain water over thousands of years!!!!!! Its a real testament to the wonders of nature.
We ended up labouring hard that May day. You see, caving at G. Senyum, requires a bit of a climb. The caves are scattered all over the two limestone hills i.e. Gunung Senyum & Gunung Puyuh in the park. I think in all there are about 18 caves in G. Senyum and about 8 in G. Puyuh. We managed to cover 8 only & they were all in G. Senyum.
Caving really offers a unique experience. The minute you step into a cave, it can set your sense of imagination into overdrive. If you look closely, the overhanging stalactites and grounded stalagmites itself seem to take on a life of their own …… sometimes eerily so, sometimes funny, sometimes cute. The larger than life sculptures carved out by Mother Nature are truly amazing and the uncanny resemblance to images of animals, things or certain characters can be quite scary sometimes. For me, it feels as if you’ve just stepped into a sculptural museum of sorts or even a movie set of aliens & monsters!
See the resemblances for yourselves and tell me if you agree with the comparisons that I drew from them………..
1. ……….make way for the BABY ELEPHANT.. the Circus is in Gunung Senyum!!!!!
2. ……Ummm, could this be a panda? … The front legs are a bit short though…
…………………wait a minute, that’s maybe because he’s a BEAVER …
3. …..Hey I thought ALIENS were found in ROSWELL, you mean they’re in G Senyum too…! Hmm, his shoulders look buffed from the side profile. Must be from all the rock climbing activities here!
4. …. Move aside Alien Vs. Predator … here comes Alien Vs. Limestone Predator?
5. Ok now this is getting creepy…..I half expected the stone which looked like a head covered with long hair to rear its head to reveal this scary eye image from the 1998 Japanese cult horror flick, The Ring…..
6. Ahhahaha…Never fear… the stalactite and stalagmite galore has enough images to offer you a respite from the self imposed scare….check out these peeping smiley faces…don’t they look like they came jumped straight out of one of Yue Min Jun’s art pieces – the anonymous smiling face being a trademark in each of his works … Yue is a contemporary artist who hails from China. He set the value of art produced by Chinese artists on fire with his piece “Execution” being sold at London’s Sothebys for a whopping £2.9m. Yue Min Jun ROCKS (pun intended!!!). And what an appropriate way to end our adventure … with a smiling face in Gunung Senyum – a great playground for an overactive mind. Looking back at these pictures, never fails to put a smile on my own face.
P.S. Travel Tips to G. Senyum:
- Entrance to the park is FREE of charge. There is ample parking space available and you can drive up straight into the park itself.
- If you go during weekends, beware of Mat Rempits who lord their way through the small road leading to the Recreational Park. They are actually youths working in the rubber/ oil palm estates of the huge FELDA schemes in the nearby Jengka area. We were told they can be aggressive at times & their motorcycle stunts pose a danger to traffic.
- Be sure to pack lunch & drinks if you’re going on a day trip. There are no eateries in the Park itself although there are washrooms and rest areas.
- If you’re the superstitious type, you’ve got to pack some caution with you. There are some pantang larangs attached to caves according to Malay folklore. A woman who is menstruating should not enter the cave. You should also not talk BIG or boast or even mock the creatures or whatever that is inside the caves. We were told that there have been groups of people who have violated these unwritten rules & have fallen sick en masse. Believe it or not.
- There is no comprehensive map of the cave system available. Do try to explore every nook and corner, to the left and to the right even if its really dark. Or else you just might miss some spectacular sights. We covered Gua Angin, Gua Terang Bulan, Gua Taman Satu, Gua Taman Dua, Gua Gajah, Gua Makam Tok Long (Yup…you got that right..there’s a grave in the cave), Gua Silat, Gua Danau Impian in Gunung Senyum itself and that’s only partial coverage. Lots more caves to explore!
- You can find directions and more information on the Gunung Senyum Recreational Park in this website.