Batu Niah is a small town located about 3 kilometres from the world-famous Niah Cave with a population of under 1,900 people. It is a common stopover for visitors who are on the way to the Niah National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. Listed below are the top attractions in Batu Niah to help you plan your journey.


    Best Things to Do in Batu Niah, Sarawak
    Best Things to Do in Batu Niah, Sarawak


    Best Things to Do in Batu Niah, Sarawak

    Visit the Niah National Park

    Niah National Park allows visitors to roam freely within the caves and hiring a tour guide is not mandatory. There are two well-marked wooden walkways here, which are the Batu Kasut Trail and Madu Trail. The first optional stop at the Niah National Park is the Archaeological Museum that tells the history of the Niah Cave and its former inhabitants.

    Niah National Park sarawak
    Visit the Niah National Park in Batu Niah, Sarawak
    Batu Niah sarawak
    The beauty of Batu Niah is raw and pristine, making it an unforgettable destination for city dwellers.


    Explore Gua Niah

    The trail begins at the Traders Cave or ‘Gua Dagang’ where there are wooden structures resembling scaffolding. These are the actual remains of the temporary workplace of bird's nest collectors during the harvesting season.

    Next, you will arrive at the Great Cave, which has an enormous entrance measuring 60 metres high and over 250 metres wide. At the back of the Great Cave, there is a passage leading to an area called ‘Padang’, which connects to another popular cave. Known as the Painted Cave, it showcases cave wall paintings estimated to be older than 1,200 years old formed during the Iron Age.


    Another main highlight at the Niah Cave is the remnants of “death ships” or boat-shaped coffins which were Palaeolithic and Neolithic burial chambers. As with most caving activities, you will also get to marvel at the various limestone outcrops, boulders, stalactites, stalagmites and its living creatures such as spiders, bats and gecko lizards.

    For lucky visitors leaving the Niah Cave around sunset, you may experience an event known as the “changing of the guards”. There will be two huge black clouds intermingling at the cave ceilings as hundreds of thousands of swiftlets return to their nests while equal numbers of hundreds of thousands of bats exit the cave. And as the night approaches, several luminous fungi will start to shed their lights. It will take approximately 5 hours to complete your tour here.

    gua niah sarawak
    Explore the historical Gua Niah in Batu Niah, Sarawak


    Book a Homestay

    Affordable but basic accommodation options such as chalets and hostels are available. Those who are looking to understand the local culture better can opt for a dedicated homestay program at the Iban Longhouse Village of Rumah Patrick Libau. It is only a short 15-minute walk away from the magnificent Niah Caves.

    Iban Longhouse Village Batu Niah
    Book a homestay at the Iban Longhouse Village in Batu Niah, Sarawak


    Drink Bird's Nest Soup

    Batu Niah town greets its visitors with unique and rare offerings such as bird's nest soup. Depending on the grades, bird's nest soup can be very expensive. The market price for this exotic dish ranges between RM3,500 to RM5,000 per kilogram. These soups are prepared in multiple ways and either be served warm and fresh, or chilled and bottled! Other interesting local products from Batu Niah are rattan handicrafts and also organic fertilisers made from bat poops known as “guano”.

    bird's nest soup batu niah
    Drink the local bird's nest soup when visiting Batu Niah, Sarawak


    Try the Exotic Ikan Betutu

    Apart from bird's nest soup, another expensive dish in Batu Niah is the Ikan Betutu or Marble Goby fish. The local Chinese community of Cantonese origins call this the Soon Hock fish. This type of fish is seasonal and is loved for its decadent and juicy white flesh. It is also said to have healing properties when consumed. The fish is rather rugged and has almost no bones. The most common way to prepare this fish in Batu Niah is by steaming it with garlic paste and eaten with white rice.

    Ikan Betutu sarawak
    Try the exotic Ikan Betutu at Batu Niah, Sarawak
    exotic fish sarawak
    You can also try other kinds of exotic fishes in Batu Niah, such as hammerhead sharks.


    Pray at Tua Pek Kong Temple

    Tua Pek Kong is known as the God of Prosperity among the Chinese community around the world. Surprisingly, there is a temple dedicated to this deity in almost every town in the state of Sarawak. While traveling through Batu Niah, you will definitely come across this vibrant and beautiful temple located just a stone's throw away from the river.

    batu niah Tua Pek Kong Temple
    Visit the Tua Pek Kong Temple at Batu Niah, Sarawak


    Taste the Local Sarawakian Dishes

    Most of the dishes found across Batu Niah is influenced by Chinese-style cooking. There are many must-try dishes here, including freshwater prawns which are delicious when served in the local Big Head Prawn Laksa. This dish is similar to Sarawak Laksa, but with gigantic freshwater prawns replacing the typical boiled shrimps. Another famous prawn dish in Batu Niah is the Coconut Tom Yum Prawn. This tom yum dish is cooked with fresh prawns and coconut water in a coconut shell.

    Other simple and enjoyable comfort food loved by the locals is the Kampua Mee. Unlike Kolok Mee, the noodles used are straighter and less springy. This dry-style noodle dish is served with soy sauce, slices of meat and wanton. Fun fact: In Sarawak, Kampua Mee is served on plates while Kolok Mee is usually served in bowls.

    freshwater prawns sarawak
    These huge freshwater prawns are a hit in Batu Niah
    Kampua Mee Sarawak
    Traditional Kampua Mee in Batu Niah, Sarawak


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