View Map

Overview

In 1958 a 40,000-year-old human skull was found in one of the caves of Niah National Park. The oldest remains of a homo sapiens in Southeast Asia along with rock paintings and canoe-like coffins pointed toward the site having once been used as a burial ground. You can view some of the artifacts found on the site in the park’s archaeology museum housed in a Malay-style building; the rest are in the Sarawak Museum in Kuching. Fascinating as this may be, the prime reason for coming to the 12-square-mile national park in the northeast of Sarawak is to view the caves. The Great Cave is one of the largest in the world with an 820-foot-wide mouth. ...

In 1958 a 40,000-year-old human skull was found in one of the caves of Niah National Park. The oldest remains of a homo sapiens in Southeast Asia along with rock paintings and canoe-like coffins pointed toward the site having once been used as a burial ground. You can view some of the artifacts found on the site in the park’s archaeology museum housed in a Malay-style building; the rest are in the Sarawak Museum in Kuching. Fascinating as this may be, the prime reason for coming to the 12-square-mile national park in the northeast of Sarawak is to view the caves. The Great Cave is one of the largest in the world with an 820-foot-wide mouth. In places it is 200 feet high and provides a home for close to half a million bats and swiftlets; it’s the nests that these birds make with their saliva that are the prime ingredient of birds-nest soup. On your way to the Great Cave you’ll pass through the Traders’ Cave, which has an overhang with dramatic stalactites, while afterward you can see the Painted Cave, site of the rock drawings. Within the park you can also climb to the 875-foot peak of Bukit Kasut and follow the park’s plankwalk at night to see luminous fungi. It’s possible to visit the park on a long day trip from Miri, the nearest large town; there’s also accommodation in the park.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

view full overview

Simon Richmond for Triporati

Must See, Do

Save It for Next Time

info

If time is short, save these attractions for a second visit.

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Niah Caves is located within the district of Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia.
  • Language: Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Cantonese and Mandarin
  • Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
  • Research: Bintulu | Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Anytime. Come during the week to avoid crowds and if you want a choice where to stay in the park. Dusk is best time to view swiftlets and bats as they come and go from the Great Cave.