Auto Bavaria Malaysia’s MINI Convoy to Gua Anak Tempurung
When Automology was invited to join Auto Bavaria’s MINI convoy recently, we were game. Automologist ATHERTON writes about the trip involving caper, cave and cars.
The three of us got ourselves to Glenmarie at 5.40am and we early birds could start enjoying a good breakfast, courtesy of the hosts, whilst other participants started filling in.
All participants received a MINI face towel, waterproof bag, and from our sponsor, X-1R, an Octane Booster, mug and keychain.
We took off from the rendezvous point at around 7-ish and headed straight for the destination: Gua Anak Tempurung. A total of 30 MINI cars of various models—like the Cooper, Clubman and Countryman—all distinctively different from each other, flowing down the highway was quite a wonderful sight to see. Inside the vehicles, spouses and children rode together with the MINI owners.
Onlookers were captivated by the unusual sight of a MINI convoy and the flurry of colours, decals and exhaust notes, electrifying a Saturday morning.
The highway drive was fun but the B-roads to get to the meeting point were something else. Wooden houses dotted the route and we were greeted by village folk gawking at the sight of the brightly coloured MINIs. An old-world charm abound along this stretch of the journey.
As soon as we arrived at the destination—after an hour-and-a-half drive—the group dispersed to freshen up and have some light refreshments before the next activity.
Getting the right headgear is essential.
We then piled into an open truck, squeezed like sardines, to get to the entrance of the cave. The ride was absolutely fun even though it was a bumpy one. At one point, I had to grab my mate’s shirt just to stop him from falling over.
It’s a good thing that everyone was given helmets—we were ‘slapped’ by branches as the truck made its way. There were deep ruts and blinding turns that our driver mastered superbly and safely. Sometime between all that, I enjoyed the cool morning breeze and the landscape, and felt blessed that I am in a land abundant with natural beauty.
Gua Anak Tempurung is located to the north of Kuala Lumpur in the state of Perak. Formed millions of years ago, it is the largest limestone cave in Peninsular Malaysia. It is said that the cave derived its name from its similarity in shape to a coconut shell. The 2-kilometre tunnel that forms Gua Tempurung is believed to have been in existence since 8,000 to 10,000 BC.
The guides for the expedition took strict safety measures, especially as there were young children as well.
We climbed up a hill and was met with what seemed like a bottomless pit. We had to climb down towards a crevice so narrow that a human could barely squeeze through. As I made my way down precariously, I thought of the other entrance leading into the cave, from which one could simply stroll in. But we are made of sterner stuff.
It was just only the beginning: we entered into pitch blackness and found ourselves standing in a puddle of water. The few of us who had flashlights guided the rest.
After the descent, we had to scale up a wall and squeeze in between rocks to continue to the other side. There were two routes, one of which involved falling down a deep hole in the event of a misstep; we chose the other.
As we clambered through the cave, we could see white marble forming certain sections of the bedrock. There were even two truck tyres in the cave. I can only imagine the might of the rainwater gushing in and pushing those huge tyres through those tiny crevices.
We needed flashlights or we would be engulfed in darkness.
As soon as we got out from the cave and saw daylight again, everyone was relieved. After a group photo, it was back to the truck and getting ‘slapped’ again.
We arrived at camp for lunch and relaxation before heading back out for water-tubing. Everyone was loaded onto the truck again.
The river current was really strong. Even the good swimmers admitted that it was daunting.
The guides were helpful as ever: people were falling off the tubes and being pulled out. It was all good fun and eventually, everyone made it downstream and back to the camp.
Kudos to the wonderful team from MINI, who organised a great adventure, and the participants, some who were claustrophobic but faced the challenge with bravery.
My hats off to the children who made it every step of the way. What a great way to start their life of adventure. Words do no justice to the adventure we had, you have to experience it – just like owning a MINI.