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Amazing Tourism Malaysia . Caving in Malaysia

Limestone caves are commonly found all over Malaysia, with those in Peninsula Malaysia smaller in size compared to those in Sarawak. The caves are home to many exotic creatures - whip spiders, long-legged centipedes, cave crickets, cave racers, blind catfish, and the trapdoor spider.

Caving is a safe sport providing the visitor is properly prepared and equipped. Caves are dark so it is essential for each caver to have at least one source of lighting, preferably a light attached to a helmet such as a carbide light, or else a torch attached by string, leaving the hands free for moving though the cave. Always remember to note the landmark and look behind you as well. However, trips to "show caves" require no special equipment and can be done year-round.

Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak

The world-renowned Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak has some of the most spectacular caves to be found anywhere. Tropical wonderland is the only way to describe the Sarawak's largest national park. For the visitor seeking adventure it has everything, the world's most extensive cave system, rock climbing, jungle trekking, kayaking, mountain biking, river rapids, and fascinating people, including Sarawak's last nomadic tribe.

Spectacular discoveries include the Sarawak Chamber, which at 12 million cubic metres is the world’s largest single cave chamber. To put it into context, the cave could comfortably house 16 football fields or 40 jumbo jets. Perhaps best known and certainly the most visited, is Deer Cave, the world’s largest cave corridor, which plays witness to a spectacular daily flight of bats from the cave each evening. Besides, the system also houses the longest cave in Southeast Asia, Clearwater Cave, with a 107km long passageway.

Most of the cave system is accessible only to proper caving expeditions with specialised equipment. But four well-lit show caves are open daily to visitors. A longboat trip from Park HQ takes you to Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave while a plankwalk leads through forest to Deer Cave and Lang's Cave.

Niah National Park, Sarawak

Also in Sarawak, the caves in Niah National Park offer a similarly thrilling if less strenuous experience. Here are found some of the oldest burial sites in Southeast Asia, iron-age cave paintings, and luminous rock formations. You can see evidence of prehistoric inhabitants in the Painted Cave where human figures drawn on the wall watch over grave sites where the dead were laid in boat-shaped coffins.

Gomantong Caves, Sabah

Located on the Southwest of Sandakan Sabah, the Gomantong Caves has considerable historical depth, and especially renown for their birds' nest industry. It is fascinating to see the local people collecting these nests using bamboo ladders and poles.

During the periods of February to April and July to September when the nests are being harvested, visitors get to see how experience locals with just the use of rattan ladders, ropes and poles, remove the bird nests from the caves' walls.

Gua Tempurung, Perak

Gua Tempurong, stretching over 1.3km, is believed to have been in existence since 8000 BC. The cave is probably the largest natural limestone cave in Malaysia. Gua Tempurung is a show cave with electric lighting and walkways, and a variety of tour options. The short tours provide basic information of the cave, and is suitable for those who don't want to get dirty. On the other hand, the longer adventurous excursions, which normall take 2 to 3 1/2 hours, require the visitors to pass through the underground water and come out on the other side of the cave. You will be able to see various stalactite and stalagmite formations, many of which are still growing.

Batu Caves, Selangor

In Peninsular Malaysia caves can be found in all states north of Kuala Lumpur. The tropical karst towers occur as steep isolated hills rising from the valley floors. In Selangor, just 12km from Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves near KL are a famous tourist destination and site of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam.

Rising almost 100m above the ground, Batu Caves actually consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest, referred to as the Temple Cave, has a 100m-high ceiling, and features ornate Hindu shrines. To reach it, visitors have to climb a steep flight of 272 steps.

The other main cave is the Art Gallery Cave located at the foot of the steps. Statues and wall paintings depicting Hindu deities and mythology are displayed here. Less well-known, but more interesting to cavers, are the Dark Caves. The passageway extends 2km inside, and supports cave fauna such as bats, centipedes, cockroaches, crickets and snakes.