I’ve been to Yogyakarta for God knows how many times. But, for me, there’s always this one place that leaves a magical impression in my heart: Kalisuci Cave. “Kali” in Kalisuci means water, or river water, and “Suci” means “holy” or “pure” in English.
The first and the last time I went there was in 2013, when I had a trip with my college friends. Wait, why did I suddenly reminisce about my past trip to Kalisuci Cave? Yeah, it is because of a viral news spreading in the media that Lee Seung Gi and Jasper Liu (read: famous South Korean celebrities) were visiting Kalisuci Cave as seen on Netflix’s “Twogether” reality show.
Now, here I am: recalling my trip to Kalisuci Cave seven years ago, thanks to those two Korean celebs. Just suppose that I was traveling back to that precious time and telling you all I know about Kalisuci Cave.
Anyway, the routes and prices may have changed, but I can assure you that the charm of Kalisuci always remains the same.
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2 HOURS, 4 CAVE
Before setting foot on Kalisuci, we had a chance to visit Pindul Cave in Beringharjo Village.That was my first tubing ever, and Pindul was fun enough to explore for a first timer like me. The next day, we went to explore another cave that was Kalisuci.
Unlike Pindul, Kalisuci Cave felt more ‘natural’ as what caves naturally look like. Maybe, it was because of the heaps of stalactites hanging above us and the stalagmites towering below them, or maybe because of the tree groves on our way to the mouth of the cave.
Pro tip on how to not get hurt while doing the tubing: before plunging into the river, make sure your helmet, life vest, elbow and knee protectors are properly worn. Why? Because the walls of Kalisuci Cave have sharp and pointy surfaces which might scratch your skin.
Whoever named this area “Kalisuci” is a genius. As the name implies (Suci), the water in Kalisuci is a definition of purity–it is clearer than my future.
The first time we splashed into the river, the very cool water greeted us peacefully. The scenery I was watching was so breathtaking. As far as I knew, the river reached a depth of 1-3 meters.
There are 15 people in our group; imagine how noisy the racket of 15 people who frantically endured the frosty water! Tee-hee! Slowly, our floaties (the ones that shaped like tires) began to line up following the grooves of the karst hills.
The first cave we passed was the Gua Suci (Suci Cave). In contrast to Pindul, the mouth of that cave was wide open so that the ceiling looked very broad.
By looking up to the ceiling, you would see lots of bats resting while trying to hide away from the sunlight. Suci Cave was indeed the home to the bats because I could see the large amount of their stools stuck to the cave ceilings. Yeah, it was the batcave, no pun intended :p
THEY SAID IT WAS THE PLACE OF THE CLAIRVOYANCE
Unlike Gua Pindul that required us to swim along, in Kalisuci we don’t have to bother getting off the floaties since the flows are quite swift to move us, swift enough to make us not realize that we had arrived at Luweng Senglat (“Luweng” means “doline” or “sinkhole” in English).
Little by little, we saw that the mouth of the cave shrank gradually, turning the surroundings darker. There were only one or two small gaps that beam out the lights to illuminate the cave. A little chilling, but still, it was so pretty.
Few times I felt that our guide seemingly intended to make the atmosphere even darker by telling us that there were often many “clairvoyants”, a psychic, who meditated in the cave to increase their paranormal knowledge.
This tradition has been going on since the Javanese kingdom era and is still going on and on today. He showed us the small land attached to the cave wall inside Luweng Senglat, where the clairvoyants and hermits are said to put their ritual “offerings”. Okay, the surrounding had been suddenly spookier after we heard that…
“Then how in the world do they get to the cave?” asked one of us. The voice echoed because it was extremely silent inside.
“Well, they use banana tree trunks as their buoys,” replied the guide, followed by our simultaneously “oooh” as the response.
We couldn’t deny the fact that all the mystical stories he shared about the cave made the atmosphere even colder and silent, that the only thing we heard was the water droplets falling from the huge stalactites. But, what a nice story, though.
A Fun, Natural Slide!
The atmosphere gradually returned to light and grew more noisy in the third cave. This time the tubing activity couldn’t be more exciting with what we called “nature slide”.
It was as natural as it was: there were combinations of high rocks and fast currents that allowed us to slide down very easily. THAT WAS A REAL FUN YOU KNOW (as long as you properly wear the elbow and knee protectors because the stones are the sharpy ones).
We did take our turns to slide down and it was kind of addicting! After all of us took turns to sliding, we went on continuing our journey.
The guide then directed us to a small pond that was calm and quite broad. Even though the water seemed so calm, don’t think that the water here was shallow. In fact, as the guide told me, the depth where we were swimming could reach about 5-15 meters.
No kidding! Imagining the depth of the water we were in made me somewhat uneasy at first.
After a few minutes of capturing every moment and place with the camera, the guide took us to our final destination. As far as I remember, there was still a cave ahead of us, but it was not suitable for a tourist spot because there were many venomous snakes inside.
Yep, definitely a no thanks. By the way, to return to the initial place–we called it base camp, we had to do trekking with the help of a rope from the guide. It was a bit challenging because the path was quite inclined, like walking uphill. Hence, we needed to focus on maintaining our balances.
To sum it up, the tubing experience is unforgettable! I don’t regret my first tubing ever: laying down on a floatie, enjoying the calm streams brings you along the caves, enjoying the amazing scenery, and don’t forget those majestic stalagmites and stalactites. Beautiful…
Now, here’s what you need to know,
KALISUCI CAVE TUBING TOUR
IDR 120,000 (domestic)
IDR 200,000 (foreign)
Jetis, Jonge, Pacarejo, Kec. Semanu, Kabupaten Gunung Kidul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55893
Operational hours: 8 AM-4 PM
By the way, I heard that Kalisuci Cave is still open during the pandemic. However, the number of tourists for cave tubing is limited for the sake of safety. So, I highly recommend you to reserve your visit in advance if you and your friends want to try exploring Kalisuci Cave.
So yeah. I am really waiting for my next cave tubing in the future, thanks to Lee Seung Gi. LOL! Now, tell me, which other cave tubings are worth trying?