28 Aug - 31 Aug 2009 Batu Niah

Malaysian Borneo
Sarawak aka Land of the Hornbills
Batu Niah
Forest Lodge +6085737450
Spacious and clean twin room with private bathroom for MYR 42.- or US$ 12.- per night.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Forest Lodge in the Niah National Park, which we would recommend, and for directions:


Spelunking in the (unlit) Niah caves: (i) the Trader’s Cave where birds’ nest and guano traders conducted their business in days gone by; (ii) the Great Cave with its 50 m high and 250 m wide W mouth; (iii) the Painted Cave with rock paintings portraying spread-eagled human figures, probably representing warriors and hunters, some of the animals of the surrounding rainforest, and longboats carrying the souls of the deceased on their dangerous journey to the land of the dead.

Watching fearless and swindle-free climbers collecting birds’ nests from black-nest swiftlets (Aerodramus maximus) under the caves’ ceilings that measure as high as 60 m using long bamboo poles and shaky belian (ironwood) ladders for their dangerous but lucrative job (over US$ 1,000.- per kg for top quality - used to produce birds’ nest soup, highly regarded in Chinese cuisine).

Meeting fellow backpacking retirees Christina & Liau from Kuala Lumpur and dovetailing their Chinese/Malaysian with our German/South-African perspective of travelling off the beaten track in Borneo and promising to each other to touch the lions in front of the Chinese temples thus appealing to the gods to help us to meet again.

Hiring a chauffeured private car (MYR 25.- or US$ 7.- for the ride) from the park office back to Niah Junction and catching the Suria Express bus (MYR 10.- or US$ 2.80 per person) for the 70-km trip through vast oil-palm estates to Lambir Hills National Park (entry fee for senior citizens: MYR 5.- per person), probably the world’s most complex and diverse forest ecosystem with the greatest known level of plant biodiversity on the planet.

Click below for more blog posts about Sarawak's excellent national parks
11 Jul - 01 Sep 2013 Bako

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

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