Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Miri & Niah Caves, Malaysia

I only spent one day in Brunei (I don’t even drink that much and found the place boring). The next day, I crossed back into Malaysia, this time into the state of Sarawak. I headed to the nearest city, Miri.

Miri is a city on the coast of Sarawak. Most people use the city as a base to explore the numerous national parks nearby, such as the UNESCO listed Gunung Mulu National Park with its caves and limestone formations. I originally chose to visit this area in order to see the indigenous people’s longhouses, but decided against that because it was too touristy and fake. Instead, I went to Niah Caves National Park.

It was quite an adventure getting to and from Niah Caves. First, I took a bus from Miri that dropped me off at Niah Junction, by the highway. I stored my bag with the bus ticket office and then attempted to find a ride to Niah Caves. Luckily, a waiter at the food court saw that I was Chinese and helped me in securing a ride.

Niah Caves is a complex of several caverns with prehistoric drawings and graves. Many people used to collect birds’ nest (a Chinese delicacy) and bat droppings (for fertilizer) there. My highlight was walking through the eerie cave in almost-complete darkness. I could hear the bats and water dripping. Another highlight was trekking through rainforest in order to reach the caves. It was then that I understood why these flora constitute the “rainforest” as it was a soaking day!

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