Thursday, September 08, 2011

Niah Adventure

I have always wanted to visit the Niah Caves. I am not exactly the most adventurous person, but the idea of wondering into a “prehistorical world” is fascinating to me. The images of swallows, I think they are swallows, circling the sky with bats flying out of the caves and the way the sun rays dances in the cave is captivating.

Even Ekiel wants to visit the Niah Caves thanks to tourismmalaysia TVC.

But of course, not everything turns out the way you imagined it to be and this seems to be a permanent mantra of my life.

The journey to Niah is like an hour or so from Miri. I was hoping to see the cave the moment we arrived Niah, of course tough luck. We paid our RM10.00 entrance fee at the counter and walked to the jetty to take the boat.

When I heard boat, I was thrilled because I thought I would finally get to ride the “local” boats. We paid RM1 per person per ride and OMG I was so bumped not only because it was one of those ordinary boat, but also because the journey took less than 1 minute. We crossed over the Niah River and the hike to Niah Caves begins.

Oh, if you didn’t bring torchlight, you can rent one at the jetty counter. Yes, you will need torchlight considering you’re going inside a cave and preferably a bigger one because a small torchlight is not very useful. Especially when shared with three people.

There is an information centre by the jetty where you can find out everything you need to know about Niah.

The long breezy walk [of 3.5km] to the cave is pretty easy as you only need to follow the constructed walkway. Unfortunately, the cemented path was a little slippery with the wet leaves from the rain the night before. I did some acrobatic stunts which thankfully only the squirrels saw.

When I saw the “rest stop” I was pretty sure we were almost there. We were. Almost to the gate of the Niah Caves that is.

Now, considering I had no form of exercise except for fork and spoon lifting, I think I did the long walk pretty well. Until I see the staircases I have to climb. It wasn’t that bad really, but *ahem* baby elephants don’t do stairs well.

We arrived at the Trader’s Cave first. My camera could not capture the beauty of the place, and everything inside Niah Caves. And sadly my description will not do the place justice.

From the Trader’s Cave, we continued to climb the stairs to the Great Cave. Now the Great Cave is indeed great. It’s a HUGE opening with staircases that leads you to the different part of the cave. There are also several ‘ropes’ dangling from the top and I was told it was used to collect the bird’s nest.

I was puzzled at first to how they got the rope hanging from the top, but my friend said, they climbed over the cave and slot in the rope from the top. Either way, it is fascinating to imagine how bird’s nest collection was done then.

There are a couple more caves you could venture to. I am not sure which cave we went, but the sight were definitely magnificent. Again, torchlight is an essential piece of equipment for this adventure and we cut our journey short as it was difficult to see with one tiny headlamp.

For nature lovers, Niah Cave is a must. For those who are expecting something else, make plans to visit different parts of Miri. Hee.

I’m thinking Mulu Caves for my next trip. Anyone?

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