Niah Caves in Miri Sarawak
Most people had known about Niah as one of the birthplace of civilization. Modern human remains had been discovered in Niah, and it had become one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. There are plenty of human settlements found in the area such as cooking utensils and ornament made from bones, stone or clay. In 1958, it was gazetted as a National Historic Monument. A team led by Tom Harrisson, a curator of the Sarawak Museum at the time had unearthed a skull which was estimated to be 40,000 years old, and it was the evidence of human settlements there. Another discovery is the large burial site further into the cave that had been used from Palaeolithic times up to the year 1400 AD.
Image credit to Wikipedia.org
These archaeological findings were found in The Great Cave. While most of the early settlements were found here, The Painted Cave also holds great treasure. It houses detailed wall-paintings portraying the boat journey of the dead into the afterlife. These paintings were interpreted by the “death-ships” (boat-shaped coffins) on the cave floor.
The Great Cave can be reached by walking for about 3.5 km via the plank walk, and you get to view the dense rainforests from the ground. You may see some of the park’s wildlife, such as birds, squirrels, lizards, butterflies and uncommon insects. The first section of the cave that you will encounter is the Trader’s Cave, which is in fact an extended protruding rock, and not the actual cave. The cave got its name when the birds nest and guano traders conducted their business there in the past. Walking a few minutes later, you will be awed by the view of the West Mouth of The Great Cave, at over 60 metres high and 250 metres wide. The archaeological excavations can be seen clearly on the left side of the cave entrance.
Image credit to Sarawak Tourism Board
Voices of the guano collectors can be heard when you proceed into the cave. Moreover, you get to see local people collecting birds nest, or just the evidence of birds nest collecting which can be seen by the strategically placed bamboo poles and ironwood ladders. Although colleting the nest is a dangerous job, the risk is very rewarding, as the price for the best quality raw bird’s nests are worth over USD1,000 per kilogramme.
Walking through the passage at the back of The Great Cave, you will reach a large chamber known as Padang. Illuminated by the sunlight streaming down the large holes in the cave roof, you can see the bizarre rock formations in the Burnt Cave (Lubang Hangus). Another few minutes’ walk will take you to the dark passage of Gan Kira (Moon Cave), where you need to use the flashlight to see the extraordinary rock shapes and weathering effects.
After that, the plank walk leads to a short pathway under the sun which leads to the Painted Cave. You can see the painting of spread-eagle human figures, some of the animals and the longboats carrying the souls of the deceased with the help of dim light.
Image credit to Wikipedia.org
Niah Caves is just 1 hour 40 minutes’ drive from Miri or 2 hours’ drive from Bintulu. From Batu Niah, you can go to the Park Headquarters by car, motorised longboat or a stroll for about 45 minutes along the riverbank as it was just 3 km from Batu Niah.
Tired of the same thing over and over again? Same cars, same buildings, same shops? Or perhaps you have forgotten the smell of freshness, the quiet surrounding, the sounds of only you and nature? Then it is time for an adventure with MASWings and fly to Miri, Sarawak.
Lambir Hills National Park in Miri is a small park compromising of 17,180 acres of mixed dipterocarp forest with some small areas of heath forest. It is a well decorated park with a number of animal and plant lives. With a nice surrounding, such as waterfalls and tall trees, this is a place to go if you are seeking for a nice relaxing day or even for a short trekking.
Lambir Hills National Parks’ mixed dipterocarp rainforest contains the greatest biodiversity in tree species compared to othe national parks in Malaysia. It is also possibly the richest forest in the world. The trees in the park will make those who walk the trail feel small as the trees are huge in that area. The most number of trees that could be seen in the park is the Dipterocarpaceae species. Lambir Hills National Park is the last patch of dipterocarp forest left in Sarawak as the trees are often logged elsewhere. The Tapang tree is the tallest tress in the national park as it could grow to more than 80 meters in height. Another interesting plant to see in the national park is the Macaranga. Macaranga is a plant that forms a relationship with ants where the ants live inside the plants’ stem to protect it from other herbivorous insects.
Lambir Hills has a number of trails to choose from and all those trails are interconnected therefore it is posibble to walk a few number of trails in a day. The shortest trail in the park is the Latak Waterfall trail. It is also the easiest and most popular trail for families as the waterfall is a nice place to have a family picnic. The pool from the waterfall is safe for swimming however, it is quite deep so those who can’t swim and small children should take precaution.
The Pantu, Bukit Pantu and Pantu Waterfall Trails are all branches of the same trail. The Pantu Trail is located to the left shortly before the Latak Waterfall. It offers a walk up steep steps and then downward through a dense forest to the Nibong waterfall. The Bukit Pantu Trail is further along the trail located on the right and the Pantu Waterfall Trail is located on the left. A number of other trails such as the Summit trail are further along the Pantu Waterfall Trail. Each of these different trails will give you a different experience and views. Lambir Hills National Park also offers a number of harder trails for serious trekkers.
The trails in Lambir Hills National Park will not only let you enjoy trekking thru the forest, but it also gives you the opportunity to view different species of plants and animals. Birdwatchers should be on the lookout for 237 species of birds in the park. There are also different kinds of mammals such as flying squirrels, different types of monkeys and various species of deer to look for.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your gears, free yourself. Book your tickets to Miri with www.maswings.com and get ready to be free.
On the 10th and 11th May 2013, thousands of Jazz music lovers attended the 8th Borneo Jazz Fetival held recently in Parkcity Everly Hotel in Miri. It is one of the international events organized every year to put Miri on world music map.
A local West Jazz Band from Sarawak started off the event with a Hot Latin Rhythms to the Swing Jazz Era and electrifying Funky Rhythms. The award winning Lisa Quartet (‘Bell Awards’ Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album) is well known to jazz music listeners for improvising an ensemble of India and African elements in their music. Lisa, later also joined the Canadian group, The Nylons in a performance.
The Nylons, is famous for their vibrant live show and getting the crowd all hyped up and entertained. Their music appeal to music lovers of all ages.
Equally entertaining was a performance by Grammy Award winner, The Scott Martin Latin Soul Band, from the west coast of USA. Another popular group comprising of 3 generations of the Martin family. They are well known for Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz. It is a mixture of Jazz compositions. Several craft vendors, food and drinks sellers were also seen at the event.
Local travel agencies also took this opportunity to promote pre and post Jazz Borneo Festival in Miri Sarawak to Mulu Caves, Lambir Waterfalls, Borneo Tropical Rainforests Resort and diving off the coastal waters of Miri. The tourism board hoped that with this annual event, it would put Sarawak on world map for Jazz music.