Caving is not dangerous: Niah Caves in Borneo

The Niah Caves were our first cave system in Borneo. From our homestay on the outskirts of town we got a taxi bus to Niah National Park where we’d start a long, hot walk into the woods. I scoured the ground in front of me for insects to photograph.

The Niah Caves are located in the district of Miri, which is in Sarawak. It’s not an extensive cave system and I thought it’d be a good way to begin our caving adventure in Borneo.

Itty bitty snail

The cave entrance was rather large and the smell of bat poo hung in the damp humid air. I had running sneakers on and I regretted not buying and wearing hiking boots.

Trying to take photos inside of dark caves takes some practice as well. I figured a good plan of action was to take as many as I could this way I’d be guaranteed at least one good shot.

Check out that ray of light in the shot on the left

I take dozens of photos before deciding to balance my camera on a railing covered in bat poo. Better to have some poo on me than bad photos, I decide.

Our main reason for visiting this cave was to check out the Painted cave, which still had drawings that were 1,200 years old. Apparently drawings that were that old don’t look as sharp as they did when they were first painted. After all my walking efforts I was disappointed by the fence that blocked us from getting a better look.

Sweating buckets, we head back towards the exit, and right as we’re leaving, I trip and fall down a bat shit crusted flight of stairs and sprain my ankle. It hurt so bad I sat there and cried like a baby.

Moral of the story: You’ll be perfectly safe walking around in the dark cave but if you’re clumsy you’ll bust your ass on the way out.



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