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Alfred Russel Wallace

Exploring Niah Caves

Exploring Niah Caves

Niah

One of the must-visit caves in Sarawak that I had the opportunity to explore is no other that the world famous Niah Caves, which is located just two hours from the city of Miri in Northern Sarawak. The massive cave system is located in the Niah National Park, which is one of the top three national parks in Sarawak Borneo.

Niah Cave was once a trading cave, where traders from around the world would pay a visit to trade wares with the birds nest that was gathered by the locals from around here. The caves were also discovered by Alfred Russel Wallace in an expedition done back in 1855.

Niah National Park

The wooden stair climb up to the Niah Caves 

A hundred years later, couple Barbara and Tom Harrison made an attempt to excavate part of the Niah Caves and found some interesting discoveries. Till this very day, the Niah Caves are still being excavated. Scientific facts claim that the Niah Caves have been occupied since 40,000 years ago, and proof of human remains have been found here.

My trip to the Niah Caves coincided with a visit to the Patrick Libau Longhouse where the Gawai celebrations or Harvest Festival were held in June. It was my first time and the experience was something that I was looking forward too. From the longhouse, it was an easy trek for about 20 minutes to the cave entrance.

Niah National Park

At the Trader’s Cave, can you see the person in the photo?

Niah National Park

Remains of the traders outpost inside the cave

Trader’s Cave

From there, wooden stairs take you upwards into the Trading Chamber. This was where the Swiftlet Traders set up shop, and you can still see the remains of their wooden structures built into the cave walls.

The chamber is massive, with one side of the cave left open for more than enough light to come in. From the Trading Chamber, it was a short trek up into the main chamber of the caves. Here, I needed to climb a few flights of wooden stairs that had railings.

Niah National Park

Tom Harrison’s House inside the Great Cave

Great Cave

Arriving at the main chamber, Great Cave or Tom Harrison Chamber as I call it, you will be greeted by a house that was once lived in by Tom and his wife. The wooden home sits in one section of the cave entrance and has been preserved by the museum department. You are not allowed to enter the house though.

When looking into the main chamber, you see on your left, an area fenced up to about eight feet. This is where current excavations are ongoing by relevant departments. If you look carefully, you can see what has been dug up or what is in the process of being excavated.

Niah National Park

A fence surrounds the cave paintings at the Painted Cave

Painted Cave

Heading in another 150 meters will bring you the the star of Niah Caves, which is the Painted Cave. This section is also fenced up to preserve the amazing cave paintings discovered. The rock paintings also date back to some 1200 years old and some of them are in good condition while most of them have faded a little.

After attempting to take some photos, at the Padang Area, which is lightly deeper inside the caves, it was soon time to make that return back to the longhouse, as celebrations were still on going. In general, you can visit Niah for half a day, just to explore this fascinating caves.

Niah National Park

Part of the excavation area that is fenced up

Niah National Park

Some of the beautiful cave formations inside Niah Cave

If you are coming from Miri, you will make a stop at the Niah National Park office, where you buy your ticket in. From the park office, it takes about 40 minutes walk to the Trader’s Cave entrance. You will also be walking on a boarded walkway with the beautiful rainforest surrounding your journey.

The entire journey here is worth the visit, provided you love trekking, hiking, caving, nature and adventure. This would easily be listed as one of the main things to do out of Miri City, so if you are in Miri, do look up a tour company that organises trips to the Niah Caves.

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Photos by David Hogan Jr

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Frog Tour At Kubah National Park

Kubah National Park is built with massive sandstone ridge with its three mountain peaks, the 911m high Gunung Serapi, Gunung Selang and Gunung Sendok.  Situated only 22 kilometers from Kuching City, Kubah National Park is one of the most accessible of National Parks in Sarawak.  Was established in 1989 and open to the public in 1995, cover an area of 2,230 hectares.

Home for Wallace’s Flying Frog named after Mr. Alfred Russell Wallace.  The 4th International Frog Race has been organized at Kubah National Park in conjunction with “Save The Frogs Day” on 25th April 2015.

Kubah National Park most famous features are its palms and its amphibian; with almost a hundred different palm species it is one of the suitable for any nature lover, contain extensive biodiversity, rich plant, bird ,world of palm and amphibian life of Serapi Range which is only 45 minutes drive from Kuching.  Premium and standard packages from day trip to overnight stay are available from tour operator design mainly for special interest tourist.

ITINENARY : KUBAH NATIONAL PARK AND FROG TOUR (DAY TRIP)

0845 hrs – Depart from Yayasan Sarawak for Kubah National Park

0945 hrs – Arrived at Matang Wildlife Centre for briefing.

SPE Frog Kubah

Group attended a briefing by officer in-charge at Matang Wildlife Centre before proceed for facilities inspection.

SPE Frog Kubah

Park Regulations

1030 hrs – Room inspection at Matang Wildlife.

1045 hrs – Went to Rayu Iban Longhouse for side inspection.

1110 hrs – Depart from Rayu Iban Longhouse to Matang Family Park for packed lunch.

1145 hrs – Briefing at Kubah National Park by our guide Mr. Gani from Straight Central Tours.

Briefing on Frog Pond and jungle trekking to Rayu Trail

Briefing on Frog Pond and jungle trekking to Rayu Trail

1200 hrs – Jungle Trekking to Frog pond.

Frog Kubah pond

1210 hrs – We proceed toward a waterfall junction before we proceed to another trail of Rayu.

1245 hrs – We reached Rayu trail entrance and discovered the 3.5km trek toward palm garden and later to park HQ.

Frog Kubah TROPICAL FOREST

Quite a challenging trek

1400 hrs – Reached park HQ.

1415 hrs – Proceed to Telaga Air Homestay for side seeing.

1500 hrs – Arrived at Telaga Air Homestay and visited Telaga Air Waterfront.

1530 hrs – Depart Telaga Air for Matang Wildlife Centre.

1600 hrs – Arrived at Matang Wildlife Centre.

1600 hrs – Free and easy.

1800 hrs – Dinner

1900 hrs – Meet the Amphibians specialist Mr. Pui Yong Min and briefing.

1930 hrs – Frog tour at Kubah National Park.

Frog Kubah

2230 hrs – Frog tour ended.

2330 hrs – Arrived Kuching.

STAR OF ATTRACTION AT KUBAH NATIONAL PARK

Wallace Flying Frog or Rhacophorus nigropalmatus also known as parachute frog. Live almost exclusively in the trees, descending only to mate and lay eggs.

Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace a naturalist and biologist, 1823-1913. Travel to Malay Archipelago in the early 1900. Did researched in Kubah National Park.

Wallace Flying Frog named after his discovery.

Wallace Flying Frog
Wallace Flying Frog

Note:

This trip is recommended to any type of visitor’s. Especially who are interested in Frog study or special interest tourist.

Also for coming future the Straight Central Tour will going to design a “SLOW LORIS TOUR” which is the first ever tour product in Sarawak. Fantastic Idea.

 

Prepared By:
Angela Linsam
Tourist Coordinator, VIC Kuching, Sarawak Tourism Board

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