Explore the nooks and crannies of this speleological wonder as you tour large limestone caves dating back thousands of years ago; likely the birthplace of civilisations in Southeast Asia.
Embark on a 1.5 hours’ drive to Niah National Park; grounds to a network of limestone caves and even an archaeological site. Niah is more than just a large cave; swarms of bats and swiftlets call it home—breathing life to the otherwise desolate cave. A kaleidoscope of culture, history and the wonders of the natural environment, Niah Cave is said to be one of the birthplaces of civilisation in this region of Asia—evident from the discovery of a modern human skull dating back 40,000 years ago. We will stop at Niah town for a quick lunch before proceeding to Niah National Park. Upon arrival, we will cross a narrow river to the park HQ where we will learn about the archaeological site at the Niah Archaeology Museum, as well as peruse through various exhibits including the replica of the 40,000-year-old skull and a burial canoe.
Next on our journey, we will embark on a short 3.5km (approximately one hour) trek to the Niah Great Cave, appreciating the beauty of native flora along the way. Look out for Giant Pandanus plants, towering at twice the size of a full-grown man; various fungi and orchids as well as small animals, adding colour and sound to the dense primary rainforest. The first cave we will encounter is the Trader’s Cave—so named as it was a trading hub for bird’s nests and guano traders once upon a time. Moving on, we will approach the west side of the Great Cave. True to its name, its high ceilings and large caverns draped with jagged stalagmites, stalactites and drooping creepers paint quite the imposing picture. As we venture deeper, we will come across the Dark Cave and Moon Cave, illuminated only by thin shafts of light. This is where your torchlight will come in handy to view the unique rock formations.
Continue along the plank walk for a short distance before arriving at the Painted Cave. Vastly different from the previous caves—each, alluring in its own right—it is often discussed amongst circles of spelunkers. This is where the “death-ships” and paintings are found; depicting ancient practices and rituals from a long forgotten time. With its tranquil ambience, it is no wonder the ancient inhabitants found it ideal to lay their dead to rest. The longboats depicted on the cave walls are vehicles to ferry the deceased to the land of the dead. After that, we will trek back to the park HQ for you to be transferred back to your hotel in Miri, concluding your exciting adventure.