Niah National Park is 115km southwest of Miri. It is not the easiest place to get to using public transport. Most of the buses travelling from Miri to Bintulu and further on to Sibu and Kuching stop at Batu Niah Junction. From the junction there are public buses to Batu Niah town but this is still 4km from park headquarters. The best option is to try to find a taxi to take you from the junction directly to the park (and organise a pick up time). The bus from Miri to the junction takes around 90 minutes and costs 12 MR. A taxi from the junction to the park could cost 30 MR one way (about 15 to 20 minutes).
Alternatives to this include day tours from Miri - about 180 MR per person for a minimum of two people - or hiring a taxi from Miri. Costs depend on your bargaining skills but it is possible to hire a taxi for basically the whole day for between 250 and 300 MR. This works out fairly cost effective if three or four people are sharing. With this option it is possible to travel one way on the inland road and one way on the coastal road for a change of view.
On arrival it is 20 MR entry per person and a further 1 MR each way to cross the river. The reception staff will provide you with a map of the boardwalk and caves.
After completing the walk to the caves, have a break by taking a look through the archeology museum. There are some impressive exhibits showing some of the archeological findings from the cave - copies of the 40,000 year old human remains along with pieces of earthernware. There is also a series of photos and interesting text showing the history of the bird nest collecting.
A small museum, but well kept exhibits, and worth a viewing.
The Caves are a huge complex of interconnected caverns. Starting at Traders Cave you make your way around to the Great Cave.with its vast opening. Hanging from the ceiling can be seen the seemingly fragile bamboo and wood sructures used by the birds' nest collectors.
After entering the Great Cave there is a long series of steep steps before the entrance of the cave is completely behind you and you are in the dark - if you forgot to bring a torch this is where you should head back. There is some light in the next cavern but after passing Lobang Hangus the passageway narrows and you are left in the dark. In this section you will hear the squeak of bats. This section leads you to Gan Kira and onto Painted Cave. Some beautiful structures in both sections.
The walk from Traders Cave all the way through and back could take 90 minutes depending on how long your breaks are.
Don't forget the torch and beware of spiders on the frames of the boardwalk.
A great experience - if you are in Miri, make a day trip of it. Even if you have been to Mulu, this is something quite different.
After the short trip across the river, the walk to the Great Cave is approximately 3km along a raised boardwalk. The walk takes you through a beautiful stretch of forest - most spectacular are the amazing tree roots creepily covering the limestone rocks. A slow walk admiring the forest will mean close to an hour before reaching the cave mouth - but it is certainly worth your time admiring the beauty.
Take plenty of water although a most days there are a couple of women selling cool drinks and souvenirs about 500m before the cave entrance.
The Loop Walk at Lambir Hills is about 4.5km in length. With breaks, it can comfortable be completed in 2 hours. Starting at the National Park office, you head towords Latak Waterfall. Just before the bridges to the waterfall are a very,very steep set of concrete stairs. Seriously steep - I had to have a break at the top. You are then in the heart of the forest. There are quite a few ups and downs, but this trail is used quite frequently so if is fairly clear of debris. The trail takes you past a now derelict tree tower and on to Nibong Waterfall, a nice spot for a little rest. After a further kilomter through beautiful forest you come to a clearly signposted intersection. Turn right to Bukit Pantu and left to head back to the park headquarters. There is a covered 'hut' for sitting at this junction. The final 1.5km back to headquarters is mostly downhill, but be aware that the path is narrow in parts.
You may choose to extend the walk by about 600 metres and head down to Pantu Waterfall before heading back to the junction.
The walk is a 'relaxing' exercise, but carry plenty of water for you. If you are down from Miri for an afternoon, this walk would be ideal.
If you are staying overnight or longer at Lambir Hills National Park, try one of the longer walks. Walks to either Pancur Waterfall, 14km return, or the summit of Bukit Lambir, just over 14km return, take between 5 and 7 hours. You can ask the canteen to prepare you a packed lunch. Take along a lot of water and snacks. These tracks are far less used than the short walks or the loop walk. This means there is a lot more debris on the trails and it is often quite slippery. I wouldn't recommend these walks in rainy season. The park office will give you a phone number to call in case you get into any trouble.
Having said that, it really is spectacular forest - amazing trees, intriguing lianas, some beautiful waterfalls, an abundance of insects. And while I'm I sweated litres of water and was exhausted on return, walking the 14km to Pancur Waterfall and back alone felt like an achievement.
If you are short for time or just want a relaxed afternoon away from Miri, the short walk to Latak Waterfall in Lambir Hills National Park is perfect. Leaving the park headquarters, one crosses a suspension bridge and you immediately know you are in primary forest. Paths are good although you do need to take care not to trip on tree roots. The walk to Latak Waterfall takes about 20 minutes, a short uphill at the start, but relatively flat. Remember to take plenty of water.
At the waterfall there are huts for shelter and several picnic tables. It is possible to swim, but there are warnings about the depth of the water and submerged logs and debris, so paddling is the best option.
This short walk is a great way to casually experience some beautiful forest.
There is some good quality accommodation at Lambir Hills National Park for overnight stays. Airconditioned 'Chalets' which have two bedrooms, a large living area, a kitchen area and a shower and toilet are available. Prices for one bedroom are 100 MR or 150MR for the whole chalet - which will sleep at least 4 people. If you pay for only one bedroom, you may find that you are sharing the chalet with others, although the bedrooms all have seperate locks.
New chalets have been built from concrete and have a veranda area. Older chalets which are probably in a better position, are built from wood and are slightly further away from the main park area than the newer ones.
It is also possible to camp, although the camping area was very close to the main road.
If you are staying overnight, you should inform the 'canteen' that you want an evening meal. A small selection of delicious rice or noodle dishes is available at very cheap prices. The canteen also does a breakfast pack for 5 MR and will prepare a takeaway lunch pack for 5 MR if you want to take food with you on one of the longer walks. Great ice coffee too!
Lambir Hills National Park is situated 30km south of Miri on the Miri-Bentulu Road. It can be accessed by bus - all buses heading towards Bentulu and beyond will drop you off in front of the National Park - or by taxi for approx 65 MR one way.
The National Park is primary forest. Entry is 20 MR. I was happy to pay the price especially when I realised how clean the area was kept.
There is a 20 minute walk to Latak Waterfall where there is a picnic area, a 4.5 km loop walk, and several longer walks of up to 14km.
Both the loop walk and the longer walks have quite a number of ups and downs on fairly good forest tracks.
It is a beautiful, scenic piece of country with overnight accommodation available.
Miri is the perfect base for exploring Niah National Park which is located on the Sungai (river) Niah, about 3 km from the small town of Batu Niah, 110 km to the south-west of Miri itself. The park was first gazetted as a National Historic Monument in 1958, and opened to the public as a national park on 1st January 1975. The Park is one of Sarawak's smallest, but it is certainly one of the most important and has some of the most unusual visitor attractions. The park's main claim to fame is its role as one of the birthplaces of civilisation in the region. The oldest modern human remains discovered in Southeast Asia were found here making the park one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Forty thousand years ago, the Niah Great Cave sheltered human life along with many other relics of prehistoric man. Today the cave is home only to bats, swiftlets and other specially adapted forms of life.
The famous Painted Cave is another highlight of the Park. Here, little human-like figures drawn in red haematite watch over a gravesite where the bodies of the dead were each laid in its own boat-shaped coffin. The caves are accessible via a raised plank walk that winds through lowland forest vibrant with birds and butterflies from the park entrance and headquarters. For more information, visit my Niah page below:
Kuala Baram is located near the mouth of Sungai Baram (Baram River), one of the longest river in Sarawak.
Kuala Baram is a small outpost/village that used to be the main entry point of tourists from Brunei to Miri town. A large open ferry (that could carry up to 20 vehicles) used to work at the Baram River to transport passengers back and forth across the wide river. However, ever since the completion in August 2003 of the new Batang Baram Bridge or "ASEAN Bridge" that span the width of the Baram River, people have stopped using the ferry.
Kuala Baram is also the place where one takes the local river transport - the Long Lama express boats - to go upstream to Marudi town and onwards to interior villages such as Long Lama and Mulu.
When I visited Kuala Baram again in Feb 2008, I saw a few changes. There were new industries setting up shop there, some warehouses, hostels for sawmills' workers, and new housing quarters for government Maritime staffs. The crocodile farm is still there... yeah!
Despite these small changes, Kuala Baram still maintains its untouched and relax way of life. One can still see the "wild" lalang (coarse Malaysian grass/tall coarse tropical grass) growing rampantly on wide empty fields, casuarina pine trees and misplaced mangrove trees struggling to survive in the unfertile soil, and village children running around half-dressed and playing on the deserted roads. Quite surreal.
To get to Kuala Baram, you can either drive your car (just follow the road signs), take a taxi, or the public bus (not advisable !!).
A beach not only beautiful but where you may very well be the only one in the water.
Bekenu is a village located at about 50' drive from Miri. Just before the village, a road to the right will take you to very scenic beaches, easy to access and just waiting for you to be discoverred.
Take everything with you because there is almost nothing there. Though you may buy fruits and local food at the local village market.
Should you fancy the experience, ask a local fisherman to take you for a ride along the coastline. Cheap if you bargain.
For back packers, YES you may consider camping on site.
To get there, you may arrange a taxi from Miri to drop you and pick you up.
Much of the Gunung Mulu National Park was unexplored until the Royal Geographic Society and the Sarawak government surveyed it in the late 1970s. The park was not even opened to the public until 1985. Some of the best examples of tropical limestone weathering in the world can be seen here including enormous razor-sharp pinnacles, deep-cut canyons, and awesome caverns that are home to millions of bats and cave swiftlets.
These caves include the world's largest underground chamber, Sarawak Chamber in Lubang Nasib Bagus, capable of holding 40 Boeing 747 aircraft; the world's biggest cave passage, Gua Payau (Deer Cave), which can fit five cathedrals the size of Saint Paul's in London; and the longest cave in Southeast Asia, Gua Air Jernih (Clearwater Cave).
Lambir Waterfalls is located in the Lambir Hills National Park and a place is popular with locals especially on the weekends. People come here for picnics or to enjoy nature with the long walks on the way to the waterfalls
The main waterfall is Latak Waterfall, which is the highlight of the trip. There is a sandy beach where you can lie or play sports and swim in the pool below the falls. Wooden tables & benches are prepared for the public to picnic and restrooms are available for your convenience
On the way to Latak Waterfall, you will see a few smaller waterfalls which are also quite popular. The walk to the main waterfall can be quite steep and slippery so bring comfortable shoes. It can also get very humid in the rainforest so bring some refreshments
To get to the waterfalls, it is a half hour drive from Miri and a further 20 min (pleasant) walk to Latak waterfall