Niah National Park which is located on the Niah River is about 3km from Batu Niah town.
The park was first gazetted as National Historic Monument in 1958 and
as then as National Park on 23 November 1974 and published to the public
on 1st.January 1975.
Though it is one of the smaller national park in Sarawak, but it is certainly one of the most important in term of archeological significant. It was the site where the oldest modern human remains was discovered in 1958 by Tom Harrison…Sarawak Museum curator.
The Park is accessible by road from Miri or Bintulu which normally took
about 2 to 3 hours. There is no direct bus service to the park. There
are number of travelling option to Niah National Park.
If you are coming from Bintulu, you can board the Bintulu-Miri long distance bas at Medan Jaya Long Distance Bus station. Those from Miri can board the Miri-Bintulu public bus at Pujut Regional Bus Station.
There is no bus service to Batu Niah Town, all public bus stop at Batu Niah Rest area…from there you need to take a taxi or private vehicle to the National Park.
You can also rent a car from one of the Car rental companies or hire a taxi to take you there, though it a bit hard on the pocket if you are alone or better still share among fellow travellers.
Those travelling from Miri by private vehicle can either take the Miri-Bintulu road or the Jalan Bakam – Jalan Sungai Saeh coastal road to the Park. And those from Bintulu can either take the Bintulu-Miri Road or the Jalan Similajau-Batu Niah coastal road.
The Great Cave which is approximately 3km from the Park
Office is easily accessible by plankwalk…flank by dense primary forest
on both side. Along the route you can see giant tapang
trees…padanus…colourful exquisitely formed orchids…tree fungi…various
birds and animal species.
Just before the West Cave is the Trader’s Cave an extended rock overhang where the birds nest and guano traders conduct their business.
The West Cave which is over 60m high and 250m wide is one of the world’s most spectacular cave entrance leading to an even larger chamber within. The archaeological excavation site is located on the left of the cave mouth. The sight from the cave mouth makes a spectacular and memorable photo. Further inside the cave you can hear the squeaking voices of millions of bats and swiftlets creating an eerie atmosphere.
The Large Chamber/Padang which is located at the back of the Great Cave have a stunning view of sunlight stream down from the large holes in the cave roof to illuminate the bizarre rock formations in the Burnt Cave
The passage to the Moon Cave is pitch dark…so flashlight are need not only to find your way but also to view the extraordinary shapes and weathering effects found there.
The famous Painted Cave is located shortly after the Moon Cave which is a short pathway through the forest. The paintings are rendered in red hermatite and cover approximately 30km long narrow strip at the back of the wall. It was the site where the death ship was found and the contents can be view at Sarawak Museum in Kuching.
Outside the Cave is equally interesting with plants…animals and birds life. There two marked trails;
Jalan Bukit Kasut which is marked green and white leads to the summit of Bukit Kasut. The 45 minutes journey passes through beautiful primary rainforest…Kerangas Forest and fascinating cliff vegetation. At the Bukit Kasut summit you can have a sweeping view of the rainforest canopy.
The red and white marked Jalan Madu which sticks quite close to the bank of Sungai Subis is an hour journey passes through alluvial and peat swamp. Along the trail you can see plenty of wild orchids…bizarre mushrooms and giant pandanus plants.
A Iban longhouse …Rumah Chong/Ugop which is 30 minutes journey from the main walkway at the bridge over the Subis River is also worth the visit. It provided you a glimpse of the Iban of Sarawak life style and culture. They also make handicrafts for sales.
The park has a number of Chalet…rest house and hostel style rooms equipped with 24hrs electricity and piped water. There is also a site for camping with public bathroom and toilets.
The park also has a canteen serving simple meals and drinks. There is also a AV room and Information Centre for public to learn more about the park.
Beside the accommodations at the National Park…there are number of clean and comfortable accommodation at Batu Niah town. One of them is Niah Cave Hotel (+6-085-737726) located at Jalan Pekan Batu Niah.
As the condition inside the cave is dark and slippery due to the presence of guano…suitable footwear and flashlight are needed. Hat or suitable covering for the head is also necessary as protection from bird droppings.
Niah National Park is an exciting and interesting site to visit due to is historical significant and also its beautiful surrounding.
Leave Niah National Park to explore other National Parks in Sarawak.