Malaysia is filled with a huge numbers of caves, including some of the largest and also the longest in the world. These caves are nestled with rich rainforests and mangroves, providing sanctuary to the wildlife.
Most of the caves in Malaysia are equipped with marked paths and platforms, some are famous archeological sites where artifacts date back to 40,000 years, while others contain ancient rock paintings, which are still visible till these days.
There is some of the Malaysian caves support a bird’s nest industry where the collectors climb up to the ceiling of the caves using a bamboo ladders. These nests are made from the bird saliva and consume a high price for their medicinal properties. The Batu Caves, in Selangor, contain Hindu temples, which still attract droves of worshippers from all over the country. There are also remnants of human burial sites found in some Sabahan caves. Malaysian caves are also become a home to the amazing wildlife such as fruitbats, swiftlets, and invertebrates.
Most of the caving expeditions are day trips but visitors can always request for an overnight stay. Overnight camping is not being allowed within most caves but rooms are always available in the vicinity of most caves. Caving is normally conducted within the dry season, between March and October. Permits are required to explore some of the caves. These are available from the respective state forestry departments. Just like any other nature adventures, conservation of stalagmites, stalactites and all cave wildlife are crucial.
Flash photography is prohibited as the light might scare away life forms in the cave. Be aware that there is always the possibility of encountering dangerous creatures such as snakes and scorpions. Malaysia offers a wide range of caves to suit any comfort level and it is the best place to explore the wonders of nature and its mysterious past.
Always take a reliable guide, who can be hired from National Parks or caving clubs. Many of Malaysia’s caves are unmapped and no one should explore a cave on their own. Groups of four would be ideal. Although some operators offer cave diving, it is a highly specialised sport and should only be undertaken by experienced divers and cavers. Always check equipment before venturing into a cave, especially if you’re planning to do abseiling. Limit your time in a cave to a maximum of eight hours. Plan on how much lighting you will need. One kilogram of carbide will give enough illumination for approximately six to eight hours. Cavers should always carry back-up torches and extra batteries. People with a weak heart condition and those suffering from claustrophobia should limit themselves to show caves. Cavers should be free from allergies related to limestone and bat guano.
Cave Exploration Attractions:
Danum Valley – The beautiful Danum Valley is a huge conservation area incredibly rich in flora and stunning views.
Gunung Mulu National Park – Mulu National Park is home to one of the largest caves in the world. All set in a beautiful, all-natural environment deep in the rainforest.
Langkawi – This cluster of 99 islands offers beautiful beaches, world-class infrastructure, ultra-cheap duty-free shopping and fascinating legends.
Pulau Rawa – Famed for its white sand and coral reefs with neon-coloured fish, Pulau Rawa is also an easily accessible island.
Madai Caves – Idahan people harvest medicinal birds’ nests here in a festive atmosphere.
Langkawi Mangroves – One of the largest mangrove forests in Southeast Asia, and is home to a surprising diversity and wealth of flora and fauna.
Bako National Park – Secluded coves and rugged rocky headlands with magnificent steep cliffs overlook the South China Sea.
Niah National Park – The most magnificent limestone caves are concealed within this sprawling jungle.
Batu Caves – The main temple-cave features exquisite ornate Hindu shrines and draws throngs of people during the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam.
Gunung Ledang/ Mount Ophir – Shrouded in mystical legends and folklore, Gunung Ledang continues to charm and intrigue locals and tourists alike.