The Gomantong Caves are vast limestone cavities inhabited by swiftlets whose nests are harvested twice a year (normally Feb–April and July–Sept) for the bird’s-nest-soup trade. The caves are also home to a huge number of bats, and the enormous piles of guano (droppings) give them a distinctive acrid smell.

There are two main caves. The black cave, smaller but only a ten-minute walk from the ticket office, mostly contains black nests, a combination of twigs and bird saliva. The white cave is rarely visited by tourists as it’s another hour away, but nest collectors go there for the more valuable white nests, made from pure saliva. Note that the guano attracts a huge number of cockroaches, so don’t wear flip-flops or sandals.

There’s nowhere to stay or eat in and around Gomantong, so plan to leave the caves well before dark if you are not on a tour.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Malaysia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Living the good life in Borneo

Living the good life in Borneo

Life in the beautiful region of Sapulot is relaxed and uncomplicated, and the communities who live here want to keep it that way. They are inviting visitors to …

02 Jun 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

Looking to unwind on a tropical island somewhere in Southeast Asia? Then head to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia’s ultimate escape from the country’s frene…

09 Feb 2016 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

National parks are some of the world's most awe-inspiring natural places, taking in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and forests (sometimes all in the same one…

02 Jul 2015 • Rebecca Hallett help Quiz
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month