A cave can bring us back thousands of years with vivid depictions of how the early civilisation lived. In Malaysia, you can find several prehistoric caves - one of which has left traces of a 40,000-year-old human remains. This location is known as Gua Niah, and it is a treasure hidden in the country's very own backyard!


    Gua Niah Sarawak
    Everything you need to know about Gua Niah at Niah National Park, Sarawak


    Gua Niah at Niah National Park, Sarawak

    Niah Cave History

    Gua Niah is located within the Niah National Park in Miri, Sarawak. It was nominated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 and 2019. Not long ago, five pieces of microlithic tools claimed to be dating back to 65,000 years ago were unearthed, giving the world a clearer understanding of when human occupation begun at this site.

    History buffs can appreciate the fact that Gua Niah is a valuable archaeological site. Nature lovers will definitely adore the rich flora and fauna here in the majestic rainforest. Adventure seekers can look forward to exploring this great cave that boasts extraordinary cave paintings. All in all, Gua Niah is an incredible destination for every type of traveller.

    Niah National Park entrance
    Entrance to the Niah National Park, Sarawak


    World's Largest Cave Entrance

    The adventure begins with a 4-kilometre walk to the opening of Gua Niah, which is recognised as one of the world's largest cave entrance. The trail is relatively easy and the air is fresh, and you will be soothed by the sounds of the surrounding rainforest. You might also spot some extremely cute animals during your walk, so do have your camera ready!

    Gua Niah entrance
    There is a 4-kilometre walk to arrive at the opening of Gua Niah
    gua niah animals
    You will be greeted by many animals along the way


    Attractions at Niah National Park

    Trader’s Cave

    As you begin your journey into the cave, you will soon come across a unique rock formation called the Trader’s Cave.  The catchy name comes from the fact that this was the spot where guano and bird's nest traders did their business.

    Trader’s Cave Gua Niah
    Unique formation can be observed at the Trader’s Cave, Gua Niah


    West Mouth or Lobang Kuala

    Next, you will reach the West Mouth or Lobang Kuala of this Great Cave where you will most definitely be astounded. Standing at 60 metres high and 250 metres wide, it makes a magnificent spot for photography.

    For the faint-hearted, do not be afraid when you hear bats and swiftlets flying or swirling around you. This sound might remind you of a horror movie, but what awaits you is quite the opposite: a nature's paradise.

    Lobang Kuala Gua Niah
    West Mouth or Lobang Kuala of Gua Niah
    Gua Niah Archaeological Site
    Ongoing excavation at Gua Niah


    Padang Chamber

    As you walk down further, you would soon reach a large chamber called the ‘Padang’. Here, you will certainly be reminded of the saying ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ In this glorious space, you will see rays of sunlight bursting through holes in the roof. The light will reflect off the rock formations, and you will be amazed by the raw and incredible beauty of nature.

    Moon Cave or Gan Kira

    As your walk progresses further, you will soon reach the Moon Cave or the Gan Kira. Be warned, it is pitch-black here and you might be tempted to walk quickly. There are several wonderful rock formations here, so use your torchlight and make sure that you do not miss out on these stunning products of nature.

    Painted Cave or Kain Hitam

    As you continue walking, you will soon reach the entrance of the Painted Cave. If you are curious about the name of this part of the cave, you are right to do so! It was right here where several remarkable cave paintings made by prehistoric humans were found! Seeing these paintings with your own eyes will probably be the icing on top of this sweet adventure. 

    Knowing that these paintings were created by the very hands of the humans who lived here so long ago, and to have these paintings survive the test of time, would take your breath away. The paintings are rendered in red hematite. As you walk down the 30-metre strip, take time to admire the paintings of humans, animals, and longboats. The longboats are believed to carry the souls of those who have passed away and transporting them into another world. A human skull was also discovered here and is believed to date all the way back to 38,000 years BCE! Ceramics, pottery items and irons were also found. Another remarkable find here is the ‘death ships' which are are actually coffins for the dead. Although the content of the death ships has since been transferred to the Sarawak Museum, you can still view the original burial plots.

    Painted Cave gua niah
    Entrance leading to the Painted Cave or Kain Hitam


    Gua Niah Hiking Tips

    Make sure you are comfortably dressed and have proper walking shoes as well as drinking water and snacks if required. More importantly, please bring along a headlamp or a torchlight as you will need to go through a pitch-black section of the cave.


    How to Get to Niah National Park

    You may opt to take a taxi from Miri directly to the Niah National Park, which is approximately a 90-minute journey. Alternatively, you can take a bus from the Miri Bus Station to Batu Niah, which will be a two-hour journey.

    From Batu Niah, the headquarters of the park is approximately 3 kilometres away. You can hop onto a taxi to the park. Another option would be walking to the headquarters of the park. It will take you approximately 45 minutes, and it will be a beautiful one, as you will be journeying along the riverbank. Lastly, you may opt to take a longboat there.

    Niah National Park longboat
    You can take a longboat to get to the Niah National Park


    Another option is to put on your adventure hat and drive all the down from Miri to the Niah National Park! There is no better way to get to know a place than by driving down scenic routes and taking in the beautiful views! Upon reaching the Niah National Park, you are required to register at the headquarters. Below are the ticket prices for your reference.


    Niah National Park Entrance Fee

    Malaysians:

    Adult

    RM 10

    Child

    RM 3

    Foreigners:

    Adult

    RM 20

    Child

    RM 7



    Map of Niah National Park

    Refer to the image below:
    Map of Niah National Park, Sarawak
    Map of Niah National Park, Sarawak


    Niah National Park Accommodation

    There are also accommodations at the Niah National Park if you would like to stay the night. This includes chalet units, hostel rooms, and even a camping site. Simply make your booking in advance!

    Walking through this incredible cave will give you a glimpse of how our ancestors lived, and perhaps you will gain a newfound appreciation of how these ancestors have paved the way for our lives now. History reminds us of who we are but how our future will turn out actually lies in our hands. It will also remind you how there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.


    Contact Information

    Address: Niah National Park, Batu Niah, 98200 Niah, Sarawak, Malaysia
    Contact number: +6085-737454 / +6085-737450
    Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm

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