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8 Caves to Visit in Sarawak Sabah Borneo

Sabah Sarawak Caves To Visit
This article highlights eight of the best caves to visit in Sabah and Sarawak which is compiled by me, David of Malaysia Asia. Out of the 8 caves, I have personally visited 7 of them, hence this is not a link-bait article as you commonly see being promoted. 

As I have been traveling extensively throughout Sarawak and Sabah in the last ten years, there have been many unique and interesting places I have visited, namely national parks where some of these caves are found. 

This article on the 8 Caves to Visit in Sarawak and Sabah narrows down the list to some of the best for leisure visits. This means you can visit the caves solo, as a couple of in a family. 

8 Caves to Visit in Sarawak Sabah Borneo

Deer Cave (Gua Rusa in Malay) at Mulu National Park in Sarawak is one of the places which you must visit if you love cave explorations in Sarawak. The place got it's name from the local tribe people who used to hunt deer in the caves back in the day.

At the foot of the caves, you can find the famous Mulu Bat Observatory where guest can sit and enjoy the view of the millions of bats flying out every evening.

If you enter the main entrance and walk in a little, you can turn around and see the famous Abraham Lincoln portrait from an angle inside the cave. Mulu can only be visited when you head to the Mulu National Park in Northern Sarawak.

Sarawak Lang Cave
Inside the Lang Cave at Mulu National Park

Lang Cave is the smallest caves in the Mulu National Park and was named after a guide who led an expedition in the late 70's to research the caves in Mulu. In the Lang Cave, there is a wooden walkway and concrete one with rails that leads you inside and then out again.

The beauty about the Lang Cave is the formation of the limestone for over thousands of years which is highlighted with lights. Bring a tripod if you want to take photos inside here as it is really beautiful.

Sarawak Wind Cave
Deep in the Wind Cave of Mulu

Wind Cave or Cave of the Winds (Gua Angin in Malay) is located just next to the Clearwater Cave off the Melinau River at the Mulu National Park in Sarawak. This cave is usually the first stop before heading over to the next cave system which is a short 5 minute walk via a wooden walkway along the outside of the cave next to the river.

The specialty of the Wind Cave is the cool breeze that flows through this cave as you are inside and also the unique formations of stalagmite and stalactites. (The funny long formations you see growing down from the ceiling or coming up from the ground in lay man terms).

Sarawak Gua Niah
The replica home of Tom Harrison at the mouth of Niah Caves
4. Niah Cave in Sarawak

This cave which is 40,000 years ago once sheltered human life and the oldest human remains in Southeast Asia, along with many other relics of prehistoric man can be found at this amazing cave located just outside of Miri city.

Today this cave is home only to bats, swiftlets and other specially adapted forms of life. The famous Niah Painted Cave is another must-see when anyone visits the Niah Caves in Sarawak.

At the Painted Caves, little human-like figures drawn in red hematite watch over a grave site where the bodies of the dead were each laid in its own boat-shaped coffin. The Great Cave and Painted Cave have been declared as National Historical Monuments. 

Clearwater Cave is the same cave system as the Wind Cave located in the Mulu National Park in Sarawak. When you enter the caves, the entire place is well lit inside and there are wooden walkways with rails for safety and conservation reasons.

You will also encounter cave-dwelling critters such as spiders, bats, cockroaches, centipedes, even swallows who make their homes in the caves.

There is also an underwater river running through the Clearwater Cave and your cave guide will lead you to it. A bridge goes over the river to the next part of the cave where you will see huge rock boulders. This is one of the best places to take your epic photographs too. 

One of the unique caves with a huge cavern made from limestone formations and filled with green plant life. The cave offers beautiful stalagmites and stalactites which some are over 15 feet tall.

There is even a stalactite that resembles the Chinese Goddess of Mercy deeper into the cave and this figure has been attracting the local Chinese people here to pray to the figure for years at this cave which is also known as Gua Kapor in Malay.

To get to the clear water caves, you need to either self drive here which takes about 90 minutes from Kuching, but it is recommended to engage a local tour guide. At the entrance, it is a six storey walk up some man made stairs to the entrance of the cave.

Sarawak Fairy Caves
 Fairy Cave in Sarawak

One of the renown caves for birds nest harvesting is located at Gomantong Hill in the lower Kinabatangan area or Gomantong Rainforest Reserve. This cave is also about two hours drive from the city of Sandakan in east coast Sabah.

Gomantong Caves consists of two cave complexes which are Black Cave (Simud Hitam) and White Cave (Simud Putih). These caves have been harvested for the prized birds nest for many decades and even till today bu selected families.

To get here, you need to engage a local nature guide to bring you to the caves. There are numerous tour companies in Sandakan that can arrange for this.

8. Madai Caves in Tawau, Sabah

Madai Caves are another well known caves for harvesting birds nest which comprises a wide network of caves and passages which raises from 250 meters above the forest floor and is one of Sabah's most important archaeological sites.

At Madai Caves, you can find a labyrinth of cave passages that can be followed and an underground stream also runs inside here. This cave requires you to engage a special cave guide to explore.


All the eight caves in Sabah and Sarawak are accessible to anyone. However, you need to engage a tour guide to bring you the the selected caves mentioned above.

In no circumstances should you explore the caves by yourself as it is dangerous and you can easily get lost at some of them. I highly recommend that you book special tours that take you to the caves here.

Niah Trader's Cave
Can you spot the person in this photo taken at the Traders Cave in Niah National Park?
There are also numerous other caves located around Malaysia and Borneo where activities include general caving, spelunking, harvesting of birds nest and even cave explorations. There are even caves dedicated to places of worship like the world famous Batu Caves in Selangor. 

The list above is in no general order and specially created for those who enjoy this area of eco-tourism. I have also narrowed down the list to 8 caves to visit in Sarawak and Sabah in Borneo for anyone who is interested in this. 


Migrationology said...

Borneo is like an outdoor natural fantasy land with so many adventures! I spent about 2 weeks there and would have loved to spend a year there! Awesome selection of caves.

Malaysia Asia said...

Thanks Migrationology, A year there would be blissful with all the beautiful Eco! Luckily it's just next to Peninsular Malaysia so time to start packing for another trip there.


Robo said...

Hi David,
What will be the cost for traveling to Mulu Cave from KL for 5 days 4 nights? Will be sufficient to explore the area in 5 days time? (I understand that we need to transit from KK to Mulu, right?)
Please advise.

Malaysia Asia said...

Robo, 5D/4N is perfect for Mulu. Prices vary depending on where you stay. If you choose the standard lodging, it can cost about RM100 (US$30) a night while the Royal Mulu Resort costs around RM300+ (US$100+) a night.

For transit, usually it is done at Miri Airport then it is a 30 minute flight to Mulu Airport.


CathJ said...


Malaysia Asia said...

Thank you Cath! :) So, how many have you explored?


Dustin said...

Nice post. I checked the Mulu caves and Niah Caves. Wanted to hit the adventure caves in Mulu, but they didn't have any guides to take me grrrr.

Malaysia Asia said...

Hi Dustin, you're one serious backpacker exploring all these fantastic places! I admire your RTW style and hoping you will have a fab time in Egypt.


location espagne said...

In Sabah, the most famous caves are the Gomantong Caves which are known for the birds' nest industry. There are two main caves, Simud Putih and Simud Hitam....Thanks for the nice info....locations espagne

College in Malaysia said...

Which cave your preferred the most?

Malaysia Asia said...

CiM, seriously, I preferred the Deer Cave as it was huge, lots to see and the bats flying out was amazing.


gbeejipp said...

of all the caves that I went to, the Wind Cave is the one that I like most. had a great time in Mulu a couple of months ago. I think the Deer Cave is more on the size but nothing much to see. ;-)

Malaysia Asia said...

Jipp, you're right about Wind Cave, more character there but apparently for the Cave Lovers, if you go deeper into the Deer Cave, there is quite a lot to see there. I hope to go back again to explore the caves in Mulu once more.


Unknown said...

i wonder why the bats only fly out in one direction.
are there bats flying behind the mountain that we don't manage to see?
any source on the area?
thanks for sharing.


Malaysia Asia said...

Hello Wong, I am assuming you are talking about the Deer Cave. Yes, they only fly out in one direction in the evenings. If you are very near the caves, you can actually see them circle before they take flight out. Behind the caves, not that I know off as the guides did not mention anything.


Jeremy B said...

These are great caves! We have some good ones here in California and I've seen some in Slovenia but these would be interesting to visit.

Malaysia Asia said...

Thanks Jeremy, hope you make it here for a visit and make sure you spend at least a good week to explore some of these caves in Borneo.


Villa Sicilia said...

Sabah Borneo is a beautiful place to visit and the information is nicely described. The caves seems to be quite good to visit and can spend some quality time.