About Gomantong Caves
Gomantong Caves is a complex cave system inside Gomantong Hill, the largest limestone outcrop in the Lower Kinabatangan area, in the Sandakan Division of Sabah. J.H. Allard of the China Borneo Company was one of the first Westerner to have explored the cave, back in 1889. The initial mapping of it was carried out by P. Orolfo in 1930.
Gomantong Caves comprise two sections: Black Cave (Simud Hitam) and White Cave (Simud Putih). The names refer to the colour of the swiftlets nest found in each of them. Simud Hitam is the more accessible of the two caves. It is open to the general public and is just a few minutes' walk from the entrance. Simud Putih is larger than Simud Hitam. Its entrance is almost 90 meters above Simud Hitam. As it is more difficult to access, visiting it requires special permit. Visitors to Simud Putih have to embark on five hours of spelunking through the caves.
Gomantong Caves is the most famous site in Sabah for collecting bird's nests. Just like Madai Caves, Gomantong Caves has been the place for collecting bird's nests for centuries. Harvesting is carried out twice a year, from February to April and again from July to September. The first collection is done in the early part of the breeding season while the second after the young have fledged. In order to properly manage the collection of bird's nests and to prevent overharvesting, the government issue harvesting licenses.
Gomantong Caves is one of the places to view the nighly flight of bats. Every evening, some two million bats leave the caves, forming an aerial highway in the sky. As the bats leave the caves, the swiftlets return to them.
Gomantong Caves are quite difficult to reach, if compared with Madai Caves, and the more spectacular Mulu and Niah caves of Sarawak. There isn't any accommodation nearby. One way is to drive there from Sandakan.
For online booking of budget accommodation in Sabah, use the Budget Accommodation Guide. The following are accommodation available in the Kinabatangan region.
- Borneo Proboscis River Lodge (tel: 019 8509221)
- Kinabatangan Jungle Camp (089 220299)
- Miso Walai Homestay (tel: 089 660016, www.misowalaihomestay.com)
- Sukau B&B (tel: 089 230269)
- Sukau Rainforest Lodge (tel: 089 438300)
- Sukau Tomanggong Riverview Lodge (tel: 089 235525)
- Trekkers Lodge Kinabatangan (tel: 089 252263)
- Uncle Tan's Wildlife Camp (tel: 089 531639, www.uncletan.com)
Gomantong Caves Location Map
View Gomantong Caves in a larger map
Inside Gomantong Caves
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