Miri and the National Parks
Miri Travel Blog› entry 108 of 121 › view all entries
Richard and Raul couldnâ€™t stay in Miri unfortunately as they had flights to catch and other places to see a bit faster than I wanted to go, so we had to part ways. They had been good company for a few days, so we shook hands and wished each other well. I went off in search of a hostel and once I found one, I went in search of some information on the national parks.
I had some great news regarding work and now my diary was all but full for the months I would be back. I could once again switch off and enjoy my last few weeks without any more stress and worry from that stuff. I celebrated with a McDonalds (I was just craving Western food for a change) and took it easy for the day.
I chose to go to the close by Lamir Hills National Park and arrived in plenty of time to do a few of the trails. I signed the register and paid the park fees and noticed only three other people had actually visited the park today, and they had already gone. That meant the park was empty and to myself. I was delighted with that as I stood a chance of seeing some fauna if I was quiet enough.
My first stop was to Latuk Waterfall which
was only a short walk away, passing a few other small waterfalls on route. It was easy, but the swimming pool didnâ€™t
look too appealing. There was a distinct
lack of wildlife as well, so I carried on the next trail to Tengkorong
Waterfall. This was a much more
strenuous trek of 2.
I could hear jungle sounds all around me, but unfortunately they kept out of sight. I really enjoyed the exploration though and continued on my hopeful route. It can get pretty tough going at times and often the path is unrecognisable. Instead you look out for markings on the trees and follow that. I soon came across a 40 metre high tree which you can climb up and view the canopy. Itâ€™s pretty high at the top and reminded me of the cliff jump I had done in Portugal into the sea â€“ oh good times.
I didnâ€™t see much from the canopy, so I came back down and continued onto Nibong and Pantu Waterfalls before going in search of the abandoned oil well. By this time I was shattered and my ankles were a metaphorical restaurant for ants and mosquitoes, and so with a murderous rage, a few of them enjoyed a final meal out of me, whilst others had a good feed and politely left.
My tee-shirt was sodden wet to the point where I could ring it out! That was the moment I knew enough was enough and I should go back before it gets too dark.
I wanted to see Niah Caves National Park as well from Miri, and first thing in the morning I got talking to a Canadian guy, Danny, and it turned out he was keen to visit as well. We set off on the bus bound for Niah Junction. Once there cab drivers want a rip off 30 RM to take you the 11km to the park, well I had my big backpack with me and the fares seemed pretty non-negotiable, so we just had to pay.
At the park you pay the registration fees and then take the boat crossing for another ringott. Why they couldnâ€™t build a bridge across is only explained by this ridiculous boat fee each way. Itâ€™s only 20 yards maximum!
With my backpack safely stored at the park
HQ, we set off for the caves along the simple wooden walkway. I did see a few lizards and birds, including
a king fisher, this time on route, so was quite pleased with that.
We made it quickly to the lime stone caves and entered the so-called Great Cave. From here itâ€™s a walk to the back of the cave where it gets darker and darker. You need to bring a torch as it does get pitch black. With torches on, we continued through to Gan Kira (Moon Cave) and saw some really strange bugs. They looked like a cross-breed of a cockroach with a spider, well I suppose it was dark in the caveâ€¦. That little bugger had a huge leap on it as well; a bit similar to that of Tim Cahill when he dons the mighty royal blue jersey! Maybe itâ€™s just a freak and was out casted by the other bugs and so found solitude in the cave, I donâ€™t know.
Continuing through the passage, you rejoin the trail and go on to enter the most famous Painted Cave. Myself and Danny actually ventured a bit too far and found ourselves amongst a sealed off evacuation site! Iâ€™m sure they had unearthed a skeleton, but we were shown the way back to the painted cave so they could continue their studies in peace. Clearly we werenâ€™t supposed to be there â€“ whoopsy.
Back to the top of the cave I spotted a couple of pictures and we got some great close up photos. Just around the corner from there in a sealed off enclosure, you could see many more. These cannot be approached though and from that distance, I just couldnâ€™t capture any images. There was a barbed wire mesh preventing us from entering, apparently there to stop idiotic people from drawing on the caves (as they had done in the past, bringing some of the pictures into questionable authenticity).
We left after that and back at the HQ, but found no cabs were available outside the park. The swines seem to have the market wrapped up and call a cab for you, but the fare is set at an extortionate 30 RM again! It seems very unfair to spend that much for a cab for just 11km, but thereâ€™s very little you can actually do about it. Lonely Planet had said the fare was 10RM, and I guess that used to be the case before the park got incredibly touristy and popular, now they can run this scam, overcharge and top up their salaries. When the cab turned up, the driver got out and went inside the HQ. This all but confirmed my suspicions that he was paying them a commission.
Back at the junction, Danny was to go back
to Miri, whereas I was to go onwards in the opposite direction to Kuching.