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“Lots of Creepy Crawlies” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Gomantong Cave Sandakan

Gomantong Cave Sandakan
Gomantong Hill, Sandakan, Malaysia
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Ranked #12 of 19 Attractions in Sandakan
Type: Caverns/ Caves, Outdoors
Attraction details
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Lots of Creepy Crawlies”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013

The Gomantong Caves was a 30 min drive from the jetty near Sukau Lodge. We did a short hike through the forest to get to the cave (don't brush up against any plants - I had 3 leeches on me from this short hike). The cave was filled with roaches, poisonous centipedes, slippery bat guano, bats, swift birds and sparrows. The roaches were all over the hand rails so you couldn't catch yourself if you slipped (and you will slip and slide on the bat guano, even with hiking boots on). Thank goodness for the hard hats - you could feel things dropping down on your head. The smell was terrible. There was a guy outside the cave holding 2 black bird nests (used for making bird nest soup), so we got to see the nests up close and take pictures.

Visited October 2013
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Date | Rating
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English first
Leeds, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“OMG!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013 via mobile

Scary and amazing all at the same time... Probably the worst experience we've ever encountered but so glad we did it!! The memory will stay with us forever.. It's a must just for the experience....

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“A highlight of our trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

On the final day of our 3d/2n trip booked with Nasalis Lavartus tours we visited the caves - wow!

The acrid smell hits you straight away, but it was no deterrent! The ground and handrails were covered in a mixture of guano, bird poo and cockroaches, while rats were hiding out in the cave walls, venemous centipedes were scuttling around and bats and birds flew overhead.

Recommended: don't pay the RM30 per camera unless you're a pro that can capture images in very low lighting. Otherwise keep an eye out for postcards and hang on to the memory that way.

There is a lot of information about the technical details of this cave regarding its use and importance, but for us it really was just a marvel to visit!

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bournemouth, England
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Wear a clothes peg on your nose!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

Amazing place - so smelly and cockroaches everywhere - what an experience to visit! And we saw a big male orangutan in the trees on our walk to the caves!

Visited October 2013
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Chelsea
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Educational ... and not as bad as I thought”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2013

I did not realise that the tour to the Gomantong Caves was part of our 3D/2N Turtle Islands/Sepilock Orang Utan Sanctuary/Kinabatangan River Cruise tour. After hearing from a fellow traveller about the caves, and being told to avoid it if I could, I really did not want to go along. Our guide advised us to wear long trousers; however, I did not have a pair as I had packed lightly for our trip to Turtle Islands. When we were given helmets as we disembarked from our mini van, I had to wonder what was in store for us.

In hindsight, am I glad I went into the caves? Well, it certainly was not as freaky as what I was expecting (or was led to believe). The smell is not the awful smell of animals, birds or any living or dead thing - it is the smell of ammonia gas, and it is not that bad . And yes, there are bats, birds, cockroaches, massive centipedes, and possibly many more unseen creatures ... and yes, there are droppings, lots and lots of droppings - on the hand rails (that you definitely do not hold on to), on the platform floor, that feels soft from the droppings. But it takes all of 5-10 minutes, and you can see daylight because you are only allowed to go into the Black cave which has a walking semi-circular platform that does not go into the deepest part of the caves. And if it does get all too much for you, you can leave the cave and wait outside (and from this distance, you could probably see the others inside - so it's not that deep at all). You probably do get a few droppings on you; there were a few black marks on our arms and clothes when we walked out.

All in all, it was an experience - and if you are in a foreign country, then why not experience all that it has to offer? And on the way back to our mini van, we saw an Orang Utan in the trees - a little far off, but it's flash of orange fur was unmistakable. To see an Orang Utan in the wild was worth the experience after all!

Visited September 2013
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