Friday, April 10, 2009



Trip to Madai caves was really spookyinteresting.. This massive Madai caves raises from 250 metres from the forest floor and it was one of Sabah’s most important archaeological sites. Madai caves was like a home to thousands of bats since hundreds of years ago and it has been well known for generations among the locals for its supplies of bird nests. This generation comes from the Idahan peoples who has been harvested and they have earned the right for collecting all the nests since 20 generation now.

Madai caves is located at Tawau division of Sabah..
between Lahad Datu and Tawau on the East Coast of Sabah. It can be easily located until you can reach to its mouth by driving from the main road about 1.5km.
The view from a nearby village..
Before you reach to the cave, You’ll find there’s a small village outside the caves and you need to passed this village who have lived there since about 100 years ago and they are also the keeper of the bird nests. They also offering a place to stay for nests collectors only during the harvest season.
The path walkaway through the village.
Another macnificent view from the village.. at this time, the weather was just nice and very soothing feeling.
This the main entrance to go inside the main cave.
Lucky they have stairs otherwise it would be very hard to get up since the height till you reach the main entrance is about 100 metres up.
But we’re not up yet where the guide (named Eddy) brought us to the south part where he claims that the place where the foot print of the original founder was spotted.
It was the great of the great ancestor of the Idahan people who first found the cave and later lived here and excercise their magic power in traditional medical expertise.
If you see it clearly on the surface, the foot print sure exist.
Can you see it..
this smaller footprint claims to be the son’s footprint.
The view from the side
Harvest season where the legal collectors to collect the nests which held every twice a year between February and April and also between July and September.
There’s also an unwanted graviti art available here inside.
drawn by the not so talented people but really not a responsible person.
It was quiet dark inside eventhough some lights from the sun came in from some of the openings and can you just imagine when night time comes.. total darkness!!
The villagers claimed that they have seen many things inside the cave that people would dare not to see, something like a small little green creature aka Toyol
The one that have witness most are the people who temporary lived inside the cave as a guardian to the bird nest. Since one bird nest can cost you around US$1,500.00 per kilo, they are also theif who would love to stole the nest ans sale it with twice the price, but it was said that whoever stole the bird’s nests then they will get sick and soon will be death.
There are two types of birds nest available, the black and the white one which is more damn expensive compare to the black nest. One thing for sure when you step inside the cave was.. you’ll get an exiciting feelings where you can smell the nature obviously!… the bird drop of course.
Next.. after I’ve finished took my deep breath for 100 metres stairs, then our guide of the day, Mr. Eddy (still single) brought us up to the main cave and walk through this amazing path..
..until we reach into this part where there’s few wooden houses for the guardians stayed to make sure all the bird nest are kept safely.
Our guide Eddy would love to bring us into deeper level, where this are the entrance where you’ll find lots of bird nest kept, but we didn’t continue the journey further inside since it was total darkness since the openings are only 300 metres away.
So we hangout for few minutes while Eddy keep telling us his stories + histories + legends behind the cave. Eddy also mention that, one famous 50’s Malaysian actor+director+singer, P. Ramlee also have come and experience the cave before but then he died after the visit and had a physical contact with one of the Idahan people who lived here.. Not sure but I think there’s somethin fishy with Eddy’s stories.
and this is the grave of the original founder called ‘Nenek Apui’ aka Grandma Apui. Actually Nenek Apui’s grave have been digged long time ago to get the bones and now been placed and displayed at the Kota Kinabalu National Museum.
A creepy look for those penakut.. but it’s a macnificent view for those nature me.
This is how the bird nest collector get their nest during the harvest season, risk their lives climbing to the roof of these caves using only rattan ladders, ropes, and bamboo poles. The collectors are actually only reserved for the Idahan peoples.. and this has been practice since about many years ago. So..if you want to get married with the Idahan people, make sure they have their own spot booked up there.
and now it’s time to go home.. way down we go.
Just one thing I would like to share with you guys if planning to go here.. get a flashlight, a good one!
one last shot for some sweet spooky memories in Madai Caves.


zuriz said...

Very lovely pictures. Were there many tourists around? The kampong does not look as if the Idahans are rich from the sale of the bird's nest.

sapagaya said...

idahan people not stay around madai cave anymore, they will come to the madai cave only when harvesting. idahan people stay at lahad datu, in kampung sapagaya, just take around 50 minute to madai cave. the house you see in the picture only half-way house

flying_rider said...

salam sapagaya,
ada nda laman facebook tuk komuniti idahan?

sapagaya said...

wslm flying_rider,
ni link fb dia...