There are two cave complexes – Simud Hitam (Black Cave) soaring up to 90 metres high and the more accessible of the two, and Simud Putih (White Cave), where the more valuable nests are found. You will need to make prior arrangements for exploring the more challenging Simud Putih which calls for more serious caving. Simud Hitam opens its door to the public and is a five-minute walk from the registration centre. A well-maintained boardwalk gives you easy access to do some exploring or watch the skilled harvesters at work.
The resident creatures of the caves include swiftlets (from which the nests are collected) and bats among others. On the cave floor, it is infested with bat guano, creepy crawlies and dare we say uncountable cockroaches. So wearing a covered shoes or boots is highly recommended for this visit. Outside, other birds such as serpent eagles, bat hawks and kingfishers can be seen. You might even spot wild orangutans!
Although the smell coming from the cave can be unbearable, we do recommend to stick around in the evening around 6pm to anticipate the bat exodus. Millions of bats will come out hunting and the dancing-like display in the air is quite an entertaining sight.
Most tour packages to Kinabatangan offers an optional tour to Gomantong Cave. Alternatively independent day-trippers can self-drive to this place in Kinabatangan district, approximately 2 hours from Sandakan city.
Birds’ nest collecting is done usually between February and August.
Notice / Announcement
The cave area typically closes during harvest season in: February to April, August to September.
Please check with Gomantong ahead of time.
Sabah Forestry Dept or Sabah Wildlife Department