With 14 states in Malaysia for visitors to choose for vacation, Pahang is the state that one should go to if they are seeking for excitement as it offers delightful tourist attractions. Other than tourist destinations that appeal to nature enthusiasts, Pahang is also home to some of the best cultural visits in the country. Charah Caves, hidden in the hills surrounded by the Pancing Plantations, is a must-go if you are seeking for something adventurous yet culturally unique. It will definitely be a delight to spend your day exploring this cave set in the northern part of Pahang, Kuantan, along the Sg. Lembing road about 25 km away from Kuantan. However, reaching the caves might take up to an hour, depending on your mode of transport. Charah Cave is visible from the highway and definitely a sight to behold. You will notice a small cave along the road to Charah Cave, leading you to Panching Cave – a cavern of limestone that you shouldn’t miss. For the full effect of its beauty, stop by during the afternoon, when the day is the brightest as a small opening in the roof of the caves allows visitor to have a better view in the caves. The Panching Cave is also home to a reclining Buddha statue.
The Charah Cave complex, made up of 8 different caves, spreads over an area of 92 hectares. Other than Gua Buddha or Gua Gelap discovered by a monk named Tham Achran Sakatapunya in the 1950s, the other 7 caves that made up the Charah Cave are Gua Batu Nesan Raja, Gua Pecah, Gua Gajah, Gua Tiga Beradik, Gua Puteri Bersikat, Gua Lubang Dalam and Gua Lubang Hidung. Gua Gelap is open to the public since 1972 and the rock hills that house the cave resemble a bearded man, a couple with a child and an eagle. It is believed that these rock formations provide useful guide to sailors plying the area. Currently, a monk resides in the caves and the caretaker’s wife can tell you more about the caves. Although the caves are lit, it is advisable to bring your own torchlight to explore the side caverns.
Charah Caves is considered a home to so much spiritual intensity from the Buddhist communities here and abroad. To allow your exploration of the caves a pleasant one, do wear proper walking shoes. The sanctuary here is highly revered amongst Buddhist devotees in Southeast Asia and you will see many devotees here, making a pilgrimage. That might explain the striking silence in the caves despite the number of visitors. Some even come here as monks or nuns to devote their lives to isolated meditation. The ancient features of the cave and the distinctiveness is definitely eye-opening. While there will be some restrictions to ensure the privacy of the meditated monks is protected, visitors are allowed to wander freely in most of the caverns. Charah Caves is definitely a good place to learn more about the Buddhist beliefs and cultures as most of the caves have some sort of Buddhist statue in them. Gua Charah is still surrounded by mysteries. Apart from the complex’s unresolved origin, a mysterious 2-metre wide tunnel was recently discovered. Estimated to be about 4 to 5 metres long, the tunnel brings you to Bukit Pecah Batu.