Malaysia is home to a vast numbers of caves, including some of the largest and longest in the world. These caves are nestled within rich rainforests and mangroves, providing sanctuary to amazing wildlife.

Most caves in Malaysia are equipped with marked paths and platforms. However, some are only accessible by boat or require visitors to rough it out and crawl on all fours. Some caves are famous archeological sites with artifacts dating back 40,000 years, while others contain ancient rock paintings, which are still visible to this day. Batu Caves in Selangor contain Hindu temples, which still attract droves of worshippers from all over the country. There are also remnants of human burial sites found in some Sabahan caves.

Several Malaysian caves support a birds’ nest industry where collectors precariously climb up to the ceiling of the caves using bamboo ladders. These nests are made of bird saliva and fetch a high price for their medicinal properties. Malaysian caves are also home to fruit bats, swiftlets, and invertebrates as well as having other natural attractions like massive stalagmites and stalactites. Just like any other nature adventures, conservation of stalagmites, stalactites and all cave wildlife is crucial.

Although major expeditions have been carried out, many caves have yet to be fully explored, luring explorers who are up for an adventure. Most caving expeditions are day trips but visitors can opt for an overnight stay. No overnight camping is allowed within most caves but rooms are usually available in the vicinity of most caves. Permits are required when exploring some caves. These are available from the respective state forestry departments.

Flash photography is prohibited as the light might scare away life forms in the cave. Be aware that there is always the possibility of encountering dangerous creatures such as snakes and scorpions, so it’s best to stay alert at all times.

Key Tips

  • Caving is normally conducted during the dry season, between March and October, but always be prepared for rain.

  • Always take a reliable guide, usually a seasoned caver. Guides can be hired from any National Park, adventure/caving clubs, or contacted through the Malaysian Nature Society.

  • Many of Malaysia’s caves are unmapped and no one should explore a cave on their own. Groups of four would be ideal.