Gomantong Caves (Sabah)

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The Gomantong Caves house colonies of swiflets and are therefore a source of birds' nests for Chinese consumption. We visited the largest of the caves known as Simud Hitam (Black Cave) which is 90 metres high. The locals are allowed to harvest the nests only at certain times of the year, and this is a very dangerous operation when you see the flimsy ladders etc which they use. Fortunately for visitors, there is a broad walk so you do not have to tread on the masses of cockroaches on the ground. It is a truely smelly place and now I understand even less why anyone would think that birds' nests are good for you.

This is the accommodation block for the workers:

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And here is why you must not put your hands on the handrails!

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The walls were teeming with cockroaches, but fortunately it was so dark inside you didn’t see too many unless you looked hard.

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Occassionally there was a tiny swiftlet on the ground….

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But what really impressed was the massive height of these caves. Look very closely in the photo below and you will see flying birds, or are they bats? Anyway, this is an entrance way up in the top of the cave.

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© Helen Gray 2021