Malaysia // Sarawak //

The caves of Bau

Nineteenth-century prospectors were drawn to BAU, half an hour’s drive southwest of Kuching, by the gold that veined the surrounding countryside, but the modern-day market town is mundane in the extreme, though it does have a picturesque mining lake, Blue Lake, on its southwestern edge. Pretty though the lake is, it contains arsenic and is unsafe to swim in; the main reason to come to Bau is to visit the two nearby caves, around 4km apart to the west. If you have to pick one of the two – which you may well have to do if relying on public transport – go to the larger, Fairy Cave. Steps inside enable you to wander through the gloom towards a gaping maw at one end of the system, which lets in refreshing breezes and enough light for the cave floor to be blanketed in ferns and moss. Wind Cave meanders through a rocky outcrop on the banks of one branch of the Sarawak river system, and again steps and planks make it possible to wander from one side of the outcrop to the other.