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.

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Malaysia

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Malaysia

Already gaped at the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, lazed on a white beach in the Perhentians, met orangutans at Sepilok and filled a whole SD card with…

31 Aug 2017 • Marco Ferrarese insert_drive_file Article
9 tips for backpacking Malaysia

9 tips for backpacking Malaysia

Despite having turquoise-ringed tropical islands, misty rainforests, cosmopolitan and arty cities, colourful festivals and one of the world's most interesting e…

08 Jun 2017 • Marco Ferrarese insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
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