Niah Caves

Finally got away from boat maintenance and made a trip to one of the bigger tourists attractractions of Sarawak: Niah Caves. Together with Grace, Miscelia, Rachel and Henny we made the 1 1/2 hour ride to the caves. And hiked to the cave and walked inside. You are lucky that the pictures do not include the smell in the cave (a stench caused by the droppings of large amounts of bats and swiftlets).

The caves are not the ones with the colorful stalagtites, but are more interesting because of their vast size and their historic significance (caveman).

The caves are on of the prime areas for the collections of birds nests. These are the are delicacy for the Chinese, praised for their positive effects on general health and skin smoothness. The nests are built by swiftlets, a kind of swallow (?), the nest is builts by the saliva of the birds, and once the young bird has been raised and left he nest, the nest is not used again, and harvested. There is also a sizeable industry in Sarawak towns where people attempt to lure swiftlets to built their nests in specially built houses.

Not too many pictures from inide the cave since my camera’s flash was not powerful enough.

On the way to the caves, about a half hour walk, most of i on a board walk, you walk along the limestone walls.

Trader’s Cave, the wooden frames are the remains of huts that were used as accomodation by the bird nest collectors.

A bird nest collector packing up his bamboo poles.

One of the smaller caves.

The caves were formed when this area was under water, in this will you can still sea the old levels of the ocean.

View of the ceiling.

Archeological excavation site. In Niah caves one of the oldest skeletons of pre-historic man was found (dating 100.000 years back). The caves have been inhabited by many for thousands of years.

Looking out from the main cave. At the left bottom you can see the houses which give you a good perspective on the size of the cave.

Another view from the cave. The poles on the right are hanging from the ceiling, these are climbed when the collectors gather the birds nests.

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