Gomantong Caves & Kinabatangan River (1D/1N)
The Gomantong Caves, the largest cave system in Sabah, are about 110 km by
road south of Sandakan, and are home to over one million swiftlets. The swiftlets'
nest are collected for the famous Chinese Delicacy, bird's nest soup, and fetch
a good price locally and abroad. Twice a year, in the caves men can be seen scaling
bamboo ladders to heights of about 90m to collect this delicacy off the cave walls.
The swiftlets' neighbours are bats, more than a million of them, living above
an enormous guano pile. The sighting of bats, swiftlets, birds and butterflies
is virtually guaranteed, with the occasional bonus of small mammals, including
orang utan. Harvesting of the nests is a spectacular and dangerous operations
which is only carried out twice per year, usually around March to April and August
to September. To find out the exact harvesting times you need to contact the Wildlife
Department at 6089-666550 for more details.
Two varieties of swiftlets make edible birth nests. Good quality birds nests can
fetch more than US$ 400 per kilo! Although the visit is more spectacular during
nest collection seasons, the lime stone cave is most impressive all year round
with sightings of animals and insects.
The Kinabatangan River at 560 km long and with a catchment area estimated at
16,800 square kilometers is Sabah's longest river. The greatest concentration
of wildlife in Malaysia, and possibly all of Borneo, can be found along the lower
reaches of the Kinabatangan River. The main river is lined with forest on fertile
alluvial terraces. Behind these are extensive, low-lying forested swamps which
are usually water logged and flooded during rainy periods. Within the swamps,
scattered lakes and small hills dot the landscape.
Various wildlife species abound here, including elephants and orang-utans.
The proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), a species confined to Borneo, is most
readily seen and particularly abundant in the mangrove forests of the lower Kinabatangan.
They live in groups of several up to twenty or more and always sleep next to water.
These placid vegetarians can always be found among the mangrove forests along
the river banks, late afternoon before they retire for the night, or early in
the morning, before they move off in search of food.
- Meet on arrival at Sandakan Airport or at Hotel Lobby. Depart for Gomantong
Caves, journey will take approximately 2 hrs passing by Oil Palm plantations and
- On arrival, take a 10 minute walk to the cave entrance of Simud Hitam. Explore
these magnificent limestone caves, home to millions of bats and swiflet birds.
During the collection of the edible bird nest, there will be a lot of workers
climbing long rattan ladders to collect the expensive nest.
- After exploring the caves, depart to the village of Sukau by the banks of
the Kinabatangan River, the longest river in Sabah.
- Board boat for a 5 minute transfer to the Lodge. On arrival, check in &
lunch at the main hall. Depart for boat cruise along the Kinabatangan river to
search for the odd nose monkeys of Borneo - the Proboscis Monkeys and other wildlife.
- Return to the lodge for dinner.
- Overnight at the lodge by the banks of the Kinabatangan River.
( Lunch & Dinner )
- After breakfast, depart for Sandakan Airport or to hotel. End of tour.
( Breakfast )
Things You Should Know / Bring / Wear
Suitable walking shoes / long sleeves shirts / change of clothes / water canteen/plasters
/ insect repellent / mosquito oil / binoculars / camera / water proof bag for
camera / torchlight / raincoat and personal items.