Search for hiking trails in M’sia reveals caverns

Three cave chambers sealed off by sand have been discovered in the Pancur Hitam forest, near Labuan.


Hidden passages: A team of hikers from MTB Park exploring one of the caves discovered near the MTB recreation park in Kampung Panchur Hitam, Labuan. — Bernama

December 13, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – Three cave chambers sealed off by sand have been discovered in the Pancur Hitam forest here, which could reveal more about who might have lived in the area in ancient times.

The discovery was made by a team of hikers from MTB Park while searching for new hiking trails in June 2021, but they kept their finding a secret to prevent intrusion that could harm the unexplored caves, which have the potential to become a national heritage.

The group’s leader, Jamil Kario, said while studying the caves, they discovered a hollow area, a waterfall and a rare type of bamboo growing near the caves.

He said that given that the caves had been in existence since World War II, fallen Japanese soldiers could have used the caves as their hideout.

“After entering and climbing through the first cave, we found that it is about 24m in length and 12m high. The three caves are home to thousands of bats, hanging from the ceiling … as you enter the caves, you will have to wade through several feet of water,” he said after visiting the caves, Bernama reported.

Kampung Pohon Batu village head Haryadi Omar said he hoped that Labuan Corporation (LC) would initiate a meeting with the National Geopark Steering Committee on the possibility of recognising the caves as Labuan’s national geopark site.

Haryadi also agreed with the MTB Park team that the area could be developed into an extreme sports destination and tourism spot.

“We must thank the explorers who discovered the caves and came up with ideas to help turn the Pancur Hitam forest into attractive, challenging hiking trails,” he said.

Labuan was recognised as a national geopark in December 2021. It covers an area of 402 sq km that is rich in rock landscapes as well as biological sites such as a mangrove forest (Kinabenuwa), coastal forest (Tanjung Kubong), wildlife sanctuary (Pulau Ular), and marine parks (Pulau Rusukan Besar, Pulau Rusukan Kecil and Pulau Kuraman).

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