Exploring Niah Cave Part 3

Do you know that the West Mouth of the Great Cave is one of the world’s most spectacular cave entrances leading to even a larger chamber within? (tapi sik dapat chei-len gua-gua kat Mulu lah. korang dah gi Mulu sik? ;p menyesal seumur idup mun korang belum gi gik).

 great cave resting point

ironwood (belian) poles are seen attached to the cave ceiling at the great cave entrance

nope that is not sunlight ray from the cave ceiling but its water pouring from the ceiling. i liked this shot the most. ;)

Walking towards the Great Cave mouth entrance, you’ll get to see the first archeological excavations on your left. It is now being fenced from ‘itchy hands’ for perseveration purposes. This is where Tom Harrison and his team (including his wife-Barbara Harrison) found plenty of archeology artifacts back in the 50s.

 the fenced excavation site at great cave

Despite of living in the modern world, the locals still believe in keeping the forest spirit ‘calm’ by performing some annual ritual at the Great Cave entrance. One will get to see a small hut for offerings.

 i called this as the offering hut

coins are seen here under the offering hut. probably they thought it as a wishing hut instead. ;p

I do not know whether it is intentionally or un-intentionally that the park management does not provide basic facility to its cave visitor such as toilets. Upon reaching this point, some of us (the visitor) might want to ease ourselves but there is no decent place to do so (expect me /you to ‘shi-shi’ at where ever its convenience, is it? ada kenak sumpah penjaga gua kelak, mali ku urang, ndak piak?).

 some of the signage are placed on the cave walls for direction

a clearer caves direction signage

Proceeding into the cave, it is advisable to follow the signage (jimat duit sik payah bayar tour guide ;p ). You can get lost inside the cave if you decide to follow your own rule by refusing to see the signage clearly and it happened before. Here, you’ll get to hear squeaking voices of millions of bat and swiftlets. It is really dark and one must bring a small torch light to enjoy the views from inside the caves.

 the view from inside the cave before proceeding to lubang padang

As you walked in further, the plankwalk will lead you to a larger chamber known as Lubang Padang. It is indeed another good spot for photo takings but in this case, I have to satisfy with the quality of a digicam. 🙁

 you'll get the walk on these plankwalk inside the caves

shaft of sunlight streaming into the cave

It is un-usual for visitors to see bird nest collector in action as the bird nest harvesting is a seasonal activity. On that day, my group is lucky because we get to see one in action. It was on our way to Lubang Padang where I saw a man equipped with ropes and a similar look of a safety helmet with a ‘powerful’ spot torch light on his head. The bird nest harvester has been doing the job for the last 4 years (he’s a local) and he was more than happy to show us the process of climbing the ironwood poles that are attached to the cave ceiling (mulut kamek ternganga nanga nya nait kedak Speedy Gonzales, nasib sikda tahi burung gugok dalam mulut masa ya ;p ).

 a bird nest collector in action

For the record, collecting the nests from the cave ceiling is damn dangerous job (they don’t wear any safety gears at all) and it is illegal to collect the bird nest or the guano as it is temporary bans by the Sarawak Forestry to protect the swiftlet populations. One must obtain special permit to do so (unless you owned a cave).

The bird nests are purely from the swiftlet’s saliva and when it is cleaned and cooked, it is highly regarded in the Chinese cuisine as caviar is in the west. Of which also explained the high price of a raw bird nest (nyaman lah makan air liur burung? yeewwww..).

After Lubang Padang, you will enter a totally dark passage known as Gan Kira (Moon Cave). You’ll get to admire and fascinated by the remarkable rock shapes and weathering effects. It is also very windy here and one gets to hear sound of water dripping from the cave ceiling. Towards the end of the plankwalk, my group rest at Gan Kira resting point before proceeding to the Painted Cave (Gua Kain Hitam).

can you see the gan kira resting hut at the other end? ;p

Because it’s a resting point, I’m taking a break too and Part 3 adventures ends here. Otherwise, I have less information in Part 4. 😉


  1. Rodz

    7 April, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    I’ve went to Mulu :p of course niah cannot chei-len mulu la hehehe but both have their own identity and specialty though.

    As for the toilet things, I never heard anything about why it is not provided. I’ll ask those staff there when i have the chance later 🙂

    YOu’re lucky to see those harvester in their deadly action. There was one person died last year, falling when he harvest the nest in that cave if i’m not mistaken la.

    1. ladybirdmollyz

      7 April, 2010 at 8:53 pm

      yes there is no way mulu caves can ‘chei-len’ niah caves, right? 🙂 and yes despite that, both caves do have their own unique-ness.

      waitttt..do you noticed that you can also find the famous side view of ‘abraham lincoln’ in niah cave apart from deer cave at mulu? 🙂

      about the toilet thingy, yes please ask the staff there. other wise the great cave entrance/the resting point/or part in the caves would stinks of urine waste. ;p

      hell yeah we were lucky to see the harvester in action and i wouldnt be surprise if there’s 1 death per year. not only due to the safety reason but also one have to ‘feed’ the cave spirit. spookyyyyyyyy..

      1. Lady Lizz

        7 April, 2010 at 10:56 pm

        cave spirit? never heard bout that b4. i would like to know more bout it….

      2. Lady Lizz

        8 April, 2010 at 10:03 pm

        i think bout d toilet issues…..erm, maybe hard to find water supply, maintaining and oso vandalism. dats wat i think la.

  2. ladybirdmollyz

    8 April, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    lady lizz,
    one has to get the story from the elders about the cave spirits. 🙂

  3. Lady Lizz

    8 April, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    ooooo. hopefully i can meet one of d old folks to get d story. thanks

  4. william

    13 April, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I am so tempted to go again! This time, I will take pictures of the smaller creatures around.

    1. ladybirdmollyz

      13 April, 2010 at 10:02 am

      please do so, it is so addictive taking photograph there. felt like banging the digicam i brought along the other day for failing to capture good shot on squirrels jumping from the tree branches ggrrrrrr…

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