By John Isaac
WHILE Bau is popularly known for its Wind and Caves, there are smaller ones that are also worth venturing into.
One such cave, which is considered by locals as the most scariest of them all is Gua Hantu (Ghost Cave).
Bau is a gold mining town in the Kuching Division of Sarawak, and is also popular for its two beautiful limestone caves.
The Fairy Cave gets its name from a stalagmite structure at the entrance that is said to resemble a Chinese deity.
Inside, you will notice the great contrasts between the light entering the cave and its shadowy darkness, along with hues of brown and grey of the rocks – highlighted by the rich green of the moss – which offer many opportunities for the avid photographer.
The rock surface outside the cave is where rock climbers do their ascent of varying difficulties.
The Wind Cave, meanwhile is named after the constant cool breeze that blows throughout the cavern.
Many swiftlets and bats dwell within this large cave while a subterranean stream runs through the cave.
As for Gua Hantu, the cave is just as grim inside and outside.
According to reports in BorneoTalk and Borneo Post, the size of the cave’s main chamber is almost similar to a coffee shop, while Chinese characters can be seen on its interior walls.
There seem to be different historical facts about this cave, located near SJK Chung Hua Bau.
The first version says that it all began when the reforms-minded administration under Hadfields Brooke angered the Mau San miners and the Twelve Kongsi, sparking a rebellion against the White Rajah in 1857, led by Liu Shan Bang, the leader of the Twelve Kongsi, at Tian Tsze Lung Kung in Mau San.
With about 600 miners who had neither proper weapons nor military training, they paddled down the Sarawak River to attack the Astana. Hadfields Brooke escaped by swimming across the Sarawak River to the southern shore.
Not long after, Brooke retaliated with his army, comprising Skrang Iban warriors and Malays loyal to him, and defeated the miners in a series of counterattacks.
In Jugan Siniawan, more than 100 miners were killed, including Liu Shan Bang. The Shan Teck Temple in Siniawan was later built in memory of the tragic event.
It is said the remaining miners retreated further into Mau San, some escaped to Sambas, Kalimantan, while most perished on the way. Many miners and their families had also hid in Ghost Cave and subsequently hunted down and killed by the Rajah’s forces. Ever since then, many Bau residents have been avoiding the cave like a plague — apparently after being told it was haunted.
Locals say stories surrounding Gua Hantu date way back. In fact, some living around the area even claim they have heard sounds of people crying and screaming coming from the cave at night.
The Sarawak government recently honoured Liu Shan Bang and other gallant Sarawakian warriors by building a heroes’ monument at the Sarawak museum gardens.