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Recommended experiences in and around Sandakan
Reviews (492)
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All reviews birds nests creepy crawlies bat guano bird poo wear a hat red leaf monkeys million bats bird's nest soup chinese market wild orang utans board walk worth a visit kinabatangan river interesting experience clams camera fee nice walk
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Reviewed 14 January 2018

Me and my best pal visited Gomantong as the final touch to our Kinabatangan River cruise. We both saw the rare Golugo and red langurs on our way.
Yes the stench is there and there is a lot of ammonia in the air, so camera with infrared seeker didn’t quite manage att all times. But, the light ans space and play on the colored cliff walls was thrilling.
Cockaroaches in billions, bats, swiftlets nests...and even some poisonous centipedes made us all sigh and say this is the cheapest thrill we ever experienced!
The part of cave open is beautiful and exciting enough, light scattered through natural openings high above, so high it was hard to understand the vast proportions of the cave. We also discussed a lot the workers and their working conditions gathering swiftlets nests or honey. What a work; what a working place, nothing for faint hearted.
Wear proper shoes or shoe covers, the batshit does neither smell good or feel nice on you. Wear a head over, a helmet or a hat. Adjust your camera to landscape and high ISO or auto ISO. The further most part of the steps/ pavement offers fantastic play of light.

Date of experience: October 2017
2  Thank Mikael K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2018

This experience is definitely not one for everyone, especially if you're squeamish about insects. However, the cave is a natural phenomenon, and it has it's own unique ecosystem that is quite fascinating. The size of the cave is the first impression you get, and although it is not particularly deep, it is high and the rays of light that shine through the gaps in the cave are just stunning. There are swiftlets flying in and out and high above you, and off to the left, the bats are napping high up in the dark recesses of the cave. Unfortunately we didn't get to see them flying out as we came early in the morning, but I can imagine it would be a magical sight to see them depart the cave in throngs. The other thing you see to the centre and actually all around you is the huge pile bat dung or guano, and amidst it are more cockroaches than anyone is likely to see in their lifetime...unless of course, you're the unfortunate soul given the task of sleeping in the hut for 15 days at a time in the middle of the cave! We were given the advice to wear closed shoes and not to touch the rails, and I second this advice wholeheartedly. In addition to the cockroaches, there is also one wall where you can see enormous venous centipedes with 14 pairs of legs scuttering away from the light. The sight of these nearly gave me a heart attack! Yes, they are very cool but if I had a choice of falling in the dung with the cockroaches or falling onto the wall with those centipedes...i might actually pick the dung! A theoretical decision thankfully as no-one in our group fell off the boardwalk :)

Overall, an immensely unique experience and one I'd recommend for the non-squeamish travellers. It is a little walk through the rainforest to get to the caves, and whilst we didn't spot any animals along the way, it's worth looking out for primates as there have been some spotted near the caves.

Date of experience: January 2018
3  Thank nalia81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2018 via mobile

The cave was nothing special, but just outside we saw a couple of wild orangutan which was amazing! We got lucky.

Date of experience: December 2017
Thank Marachen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2018 via mobile

It took a while to get to the cave. The tour guide we had waa great he knew a lot about the forest and surrounding area. I don't feel this is a must see unless you love caves or find bird near soup interesting. This is a harvest site for the bird nests. It's quite slippery walking thru the cave and while it was nice to see I don't know that I would go out of my way to go there. Most places charge 10 myr to bring your digital camera this place charges 30. Why I don't know. We did get to see a red leaf monkey and the guide said they're very rare. The monkey was beautiful. The bat droppings don't smell as much as I assumed they would and you have to be very careful not to skip as you walk thru the cave. To be honest I was so worried about slipping into a huge pile of poo that I had a difficult time enjoying myself. There were tons of roaches so if you get freaked by that then I'd avoid this trip. I live in Florida roaches tend to be around so I don't care but one lady on the tour was freaked out by that. You can wash your shoes off at the faucet easily so no worries about taking bat droppings with you as an unintended souviner. Yes the one pix shows a sea of bat droppings.

Date of experience: January 2018
Thank Frances W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2018 via mobile

It was really awesome to watch the bats flying across in the caves and above all could not resist the smell of the bat droppings. I went in deep to see for myself the livelihood of the locals staying inside to collect the birds nest. A trip so fascinating.

Date of experience: January 2018
Thank mohanp551
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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