Visit the Gomantong Caves
Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
The impressive Gomantong Caves are located close to the lower Kinabatangan River, surrounded by wildlife-rich rainforest. This limestone cave system is famous for its huge populations of swifts and bats.
The caves are home to two types of swift, which build their nests high on the walls and on the vaulted ceilings. Supervised by the government's Department of Wildlife, the nests are harvested twice a year and then sold to make the Asian delicacy, Birds' Nest Soup. These nests are considered to be some of the most valuable animal products in world, sometimes costing up to RM7,000 per kilogram (around US$1,800).
The caves are accessed by wooden walkways. As you can imagine, the presence of millions of birds and bats in the caves has created rather a large amount of natural waste, and so do be aware that the smell can be a little pungent! There can also be quite a few insects. We recommend wearing sturdy, closed-toe shoes.