30 November 2009

Sukau, Kinabatangan - A Little Detour to Gomantong Cave

My Sukau trip with the ladies had brought me(us) into doing a little bit of detour to the adjacent Gomantong Cave.
Again, my third time there. I was quite confused because I recalled being asked to pay an entrance fee of RM 2.00 during my first visit. Then, I entered for free on both my second and third visits.
Well, if they really cannot grant their visitors free entries then at least give them some hanky-panky-FREE visiting regulation. After all, it is a tourist spot. We don’t want to send the wrong message to our tourists, do we..?

Located in one of the most well-preserved forest areas in Sukau, Gomantong Cave is quite a popular destination among tourists, both local and international alike.
To get to the cave from the management office, you have to walk along a long wooden bridge that will lead you across an area of beautiful tropical forest. It really is like walking through a vast display of wildlife habitat. Only it was a real one.
Every now and then you’d expect to bump into some unfamiliar creatures that come up you way without the slightest warning. Believe me, in a forest like the one at Gomantong Cave, little crawling creatures like this can get you real jumpy.
I almost passed out when that thing suddenly came crawling right in my face. Grrrrrr!!!

You know you’re almost there when you see this. As to why it is called SIMUD HITAM Cave, I had no idea.
This is a picture of me in front of the gapping mouth of the cave (p/s: a bit blur. Blame it on the camera man. Ahaks!)
This is me cam-whoring right there.
Just bear in mind that Gomantong Cave is most popular for its precious bird-nest harvesting activities. Hence, have to warn you (again), Gomantong  Cave is a damn smelly place. It is like a giant manufacturing machine for fetid ammonia.
But then, you’ll get used to it once you’re inside the cave for more than 10 minutes. In fact, I began to like it after quite awhile. :-P
It wasn’t the harvesting time so we didn’t get to see any of their famous death-defying harvesting stunt.
I was told that harvesting is only done three times a year – middle of February, April and August. You still get to see them doing the dangerous stunt in mid December when they clean up the cave.
Gomantong Cave for me is a perfect place to test your photo-shooting skills. I got to test taking photos in an inadequate light interior of the cave. My camera was tested to the fullest. So were my photographic skills. These are some of the outcome.

Take 1.
Take 2.

Take 3.

OK lah. For my Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W200, they probably couldn'g get any better. I am quite satisfied.
I didn’t come to this part of the cave in any of my previous visits.

Not only it seemed to be quite off the visitors' walk-about area, I wasn't even sure if it was safe enough to walk into. Still, I dared myself to go up there this time.
and look straight up against the illuminating light.
Believe me, it was like looking out from the center of the world.
And the whole interior of the cave is best viewed from there too.
This is a picture of me trying to look cool with the wall in the background.
And this is a picture of Ulai trying to look cool against the wall.
Hmmm. I didn't get it. As long as she was happy, why not..? hehe

Having made a full-round tour inside the cave, we returned outside and walked back to the management office. A beautiful old wooden building had captured my attention.

I was told that it was actually the previous management office before it was moved to the current concrete building. It was left abandoned ever since but had been recently restored as the venue for a number of exhibitions.

I was even more attracted by the roof. Upon closer inspection, it was actually pieces of wood that had been wrung up together to form a layer with the pattern of a pangolin’s scales.

I just love its architectural design.

Some concrete stairway with wooden handrail got us curious. It seemed to be heavily clogged with overgrown grasses.

Driven by this curiosity, we took the courage to follow the steps up the hill and later found out that it actually leads up to an abandoned house. Or rather a one-time chalet.
It gotta be one of the spookiest and creepiest places that I had ever been to.

While my manhood was challenged to the get any closer than this, that lady in pink didn’t seem to be bothered at all.
I was actually holding my breath, just in case she proceeded to get INSIDE the house. All I wanted to do was to get the hell out of there. Period. It really was spooky.

I was glad we were out in the open again later. Some unfamiliar durian-like wild fruit had caught our attention. As much as I had wanted to have a taste on them, I didn’t have the guts. After all, they could be poisonous. :-P

Since we had another river-cruise to catch up with later that day, we had to say good bye to Gomantong Cave after awhile. While there are so many people who have never been to a cave in their entire lives, I am just glad that I'm not one of them.

At least, I’ve been to Gomantong Cave. And believe me, it really is a cave worth visiting.


YeinJee said...

Cool, can consider visiting in near future.

Which is the nearest city reachable by Airasia? Sandakan? Tawau?

JIPP said...

Hi YeinJee. People usually go there via Sandakan. It's only 2-hrs drive. Tawau is quite far off (4++ hrs). Yeah, you should consider going there. You won't regret it. ;-)

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iml said...

How do you book a tour to the caves? I'm from s'pore and took a cruise to the Kinabatangan river spending a night in abai and sukau in March. Sure would like to visit the gomantong caves.

iml said...

How do you book a tour to the caves? I'm from s'pore and took a cruise to the Kinabatangan river spending a night in abai and sukau in March. Sure would like to visit the gomantong caves.

jipp said...

hello Iml. Thanks for visiting. We didn't go there by tour package as we used our own vehicle. If you're going to Sukau by tour agency you can actually ask to stop by the cave because it is somewhere along the road to Sukau itself. Enjoy your trip to Sabah. :-)


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