Exploring Niah Cave Part 1
It has been only 4th week of my first semester, my unit mates and I went for a field trip on the last weekend. It was our 1st field trip organized and there will be plenty more to come in the future (hearsay we might have our future field trip as far as Kalimantan-tba). Whatever it is, I just can’t wait. 😉
The 1st field trip organized was to the Niah National Park, Miri. To Mirians, it might be a boring place but for a student like me, that is just the right place relating to my area of studies. Personally, this is my 2nd time visiting Niah National Park. The 1st visit was back in the 80s, merely an educational trip organized by my school.
Niah National Park may be the smaller national parks in Malaysia but it is one of the most important visitor attraction spot. Why? Because Niah National Park is one of the world most important archaeological sites where the skull of the oldest modern man (homo sapiens) in Southeast Asia was found at Niah Cave. It was excavated in the year of 1957 which was led by the late Tom Harrison whom by then was the curator of the Sarawak Museum.
Our university bus departed from campus at 7:40am and it was approximately 2 hours drive (via coastal highway) when we finally reached the Niah National Park. We get ourselves registered at the park HQ office and paid the entry fees (RM10 for adults, RM5 for student, FREE for children below 5 years old) for 8 person.
Later, we continue the journey by crossing the Niah River. During my 1st visit here, there was no proper boat jetty and no life jacket. I was impressed with the improvement upon boarding the boat to go across the river. Niceee.. 😉
Upon reaching the other side of the river, we visited the Niah Archaeology Museum. It was built in the year of 1998 (officially open on the 11th Oct 1998) and there is no entrance fee imposed. The museum exhibits stone age artifacts (stones, jars, metals, beads, bones artifacts) found in the caves, old pictures that portrays the culture and life style of the people living in those area and replicas of the ‘death ship’ or also known as the coffin found in the caves.
Visiting the archaeology museum was such an informative mission where one gets to know more about the history of pre-historic people back then. However, I was a little sad to see some of the exhibited old photos on the museum wall where the picture frame was without any glass. One tends to touch the photos (coz I did that out of curiosity) and over time, it will lead to a blurry picture quality. I was sad too upon looking at the ‘un-maintained’ chalets near the museum. I stayed in one of the chalets during my 1st visit (malu bah mok ambik gambar rumah buruk, cnei kah dah tuju duit sidak tok).
We spent approximately half an hour exploring and studying the museum and I personally quite disappointed coz no photograph taking are allowed in the museum. Perhaps the museum management has a reason for that. 🙁
To walk into the caves, one has to walk along the plankwalk as far as 3.5km from the archaeology museum. Along the journey, one will get to cherish and enjoyed the flora and fauna surrounding of which is certainly a fascinating experience for me. I took my sweet time strolling along the plankwalk where I took pictures and jotting down some notes.
So far, are you following me? Wait till I post my Part 2. 😉