Twitter Updates

    follow on Twitter

    Friday, 23 October 2009

    Niah Caves - An Awesome Sight

    Air Asia Flight[Enlarge & More]
    After Kuala Lumpur we finally ended our overland adventure and boarded an Air Asia flight to Borneo. We’d spent the last 3 months travelling overland by bus, boat and car and both of us felt odd getting on a flight. To get to Borneo we had no choice but it did feel weird.

    Air Asia is a low-cost carrier and it felt like boarding an Easyjet flight, the only difference being the theme was red not orange. Borneo is split into two distinct regions and our 2.5 hour flight took us to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. However we wanted to be in Sarawak so we boarded another 50 minute flight to Miri the following day. We did have some time in Kota Kinabalu but we knew we’d be returning in a few days so only went out for some dinner.

    Traders Cave [Enlarge & More]
    The whole reason for going to Miri was to explore some of the rainforest and caves in the area. The effort and cost to get there was richly rewarded as I got to see the single most impressive sight I’ve seen in the 4 months of travel so far, the caves at Niah National Park.

    We chose to do Niah National Park as a day trip from Miri, an area of rainforest which also includes a set of caves. Once at the park, about a 2 hour drive from Miri, you have to hike for about 1.5 hours through the rainforest to reach the caves. It’s hot work as it’s just what you’d imagine a rainforest to be like, very hot and humid. The caves themselves are famous for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the bird nests inside them are highly sought after as a delicacy and secondly, the remains the oldest human life in South East Asia were found in the caves.

    Traders Cave [Enlarge & More]
    Upon reaching the caves, I couldn’t take in what I was seeing. First you reach the Traders Cave which is where all the workers who used to harvest the bird nests lived. It now contains some rickety structures which until as recently as 1970 were home to the workers. The Trader cave is huge but around the corner you come across the Great Cave which is enormous. I really could not comprehend what I was seeing at first, as it’s so vast. A few people had made the hike into the cave before us and as I saw them in the distance I really got a feel for the enormity of what was in front of me.

    Great Cave [Enlarge & More]
    As I settled into the view I started noticing the clicking noises the birds and bats were making up above me and as we explored further into the cave the ground underfoot became soft with their droppings. As we ventured further in, the air became still and heavy with the stench. We turned another corner and in front of us was a beam of sunlight like if a spaceship was ready to beam someone up. That single sight was the just awesome, absolutely magical.

    Beam of Light[Enlarge & More]
    About another hundred meters in we turned on our torch and the path got darker and darker until there was only the light from the torch. A few more minutes into the walk Jono said “I don’t want to go too far in” and even though I was thinking the same we ventured on. I had had the foresight that morning to stick a spare set of batteries into my bag and I was thankful as I don’t know what we would have done if the torch light had gone out. It was pitch black. It’s funny how the mind plays tricks on you as the shadows caused by the torchlight spooked me a few times and I was really pleased I was not alone.

    Remains, Painted Cave[Enlarge & More]
    I think it was about 15 minutes of walking in total darkness before we saw light ahead and an exit. As we got closer to the exit I heard voices and when we got out there was a group of school kids, one of them was hyperventilating while surrounded by all her friends. The darkness must have got to her.

    Following a further 20 minute walk we got to another cave which had paintings and remains of prehistoric man. There were basic drawings on the walls, wooden burial boats and what looked like recently excavated human remains. It’s a pretty inhospitable place now and I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like back then.

    Leaving the Great Cave [Enlarge & More]
    The whole trip was amazing and we had to do the whole journey backwards to get out of the caves and rainforest but this time we had a little more confidence and I even shone the torch around a bit, not afraid of what I might see this time.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

    Blogger Templates by Blog Forum