A breathtaking and otherwordly landform just an hour outside of Kuching. Fairy Cave is a magical experience that we highly recommend when visiting Sarawak, Malaysia.
Planning a trip to Kuching? Check out this guide for exploring Bako National Park!
What is Fairy Cave?
Fairy Cave is a limestone rock formation located near the town of Bau in Malaysian Borneo. The view of the main cave room is just breathtaking. Stalagmites and stalactites jut out of the rock face, greenery dresses the walls, and the sun shines into the opening illuminating the cave entrance.
The cave has been used for various resources in the past, including gold, flame-retardant material, and even limestone. In 2013 it became a protected land under the Sarawak Forestry Department.
Upon arrival at Fairy Caves Nature Reserve, there is a visitor center with restrooms (no toilet paper, make sure you have some in your backpack) and a large parking lot. Across the parking lot are a few stands selling snacks, light meals, and refreshing coconut shakes. You can rent shoes (if you did not wear close-toed shoes) and flashlights, buy your tickets and watch the required safety video at the visitor center.
How did the caves form?
Millions of years ago, the land that is now Fairy Cave was under water. Through various natural processes, including compaction and cementation, limestone rock formed from the accumulation of what were once ancient shells and skeletons deposited on the ocean floor. As earth’s plates shifted and land rose, water flowed through the bedding planes and joints of the limestone, dissolving some of the rock. Fairy Cave began to form as the water flowed and dissolved the limestone rock.
However, like many other caves, Fairy Cave is still being formed. Although water does not flow through the cave system still, water still deposits dissolved limestone in the form of stalactites and stalagmites. These calcium deposits may continue to grow for millions of years, as they have been, and create columns and other intricate rock formations in the cave’s interior.
Visiting Fairy Cave
We rented a motorbike from a shop in Kuching for just over $10 and headed out for the day. Google Maps said the drive would be about 55 minutes, but since our motorbike couldn’t reach the highway speed limit, it did take us a little longer.
The seat may not have been super comfortable, but the ride provided some nice views once out of the city. It’s so freeing to explore the more rural areas by scooter. Most often, these are some of our favorite days, like these days in Sri Lanka!
When we reached the town near the caves, Bau, we stopped for a late breakfast/early lunch at a place called “Good Luck” Cafe. We ate our 134th plate of fried noodles in Malaysia and headed to the cave. Sadly, Wind Cave was under maintenance and closed during our visit, so we didn’t get to explore this natural wonder. We continued our drive to Fairy Cave; this one was open!
When we arrived, Sam was told she couldn’t wear her hiking sandals because close-toed shoes were required, so she had to rent some rubber shoes for $0.50. The staff said it was for our protection since we may not see the spiders or scorpions that could run across our feet. Not fighting them on that one!
We watched a short safety video (required for all visitors) and bought our tickets before climbing the stairs to the cave entrance. The Sarawak Forestry Department really does a nice job with information and descriptions of how the cave was formed through informational graphics at the visitor center. Sam was definitely geeking out over the rock facts too!
What a Magical Place
After 5-6 flights of stairs, we made our way to the cave’s opening. We climbed the ladder and some more stairs into the main “room” of the cave.
Already out of breath, the first full view of the cave stole the rest of it. It’s no wonder this cave has the name “Fairy Cave” because it seems like the perfect place for fairies to live! We made our way down the Dark Cave trail (described above), using our headlamps and the reflectors on the ground to stay on the path.
Luckily, we had stopped to buy the headlamps at the store because there was NO LIGHT once you reached a certain part of the cave. The cave formations were so interesting, and we couldn’t help but stop and stare at them every few steps. The estimated time is 15 minutes for this trail, but it took us much longer because of all the stopping.
In the cave, we saw some bats and smelled their droppings, some crickets, and some frogs. There are also a ton of plants that grow in the main “room” of the cave. It is so interesting how they can adapt to the harsh conditions and low light here.
Fairy Cave was definitely worth the long drive out, and we are in awe of this stunning natural formation!
Looking for more wildlife experiences in Kuching? Don’t miss this amazing orangutan encounter at Semenggoh
Planning Your Trip to Fairy Cave
Cost for Visiting the Caves:
Visiting Fairy Cave is extremely affordable. The cost to enter the cave is 5 MYR per person (foreigner price) and 3 MYR to rent shoes if needed.
You also will have to find transportation to get there. A scooter or motorbike day rental from Kuching will cost roughly 50 MYR.
What to Expect in the Caves:
When visiting Fairy Cave, you will see that concrete steps and paths have been added to the interior to make the cave accessible for visitors. There are two “trails” to take in the cave; The Twilight Trail is the name of the path that takes you around the large main room of the cave. A series of paths and stairs will take you to a couple of viewing platforms, including one at the mouth of the cave.
As you can see from the pictures, lots of stair climbing is involved.
The Dark Trail is the name of the path that leads you through the lightless cavern. A flashlight/torch or headlamp is required to visit this cave section. Although the signs say this trail only takes 15 minutes, expect to spend double that if you are taking time to look and enjoy the various formations inside the cave.
There is a summit reachable through the Dark Cave trail, Gunung Kapor. However, a guide is required for this path. Do not try to complete this summit without the correct permissions and guide.
Transportation – How to Get to Fairy Cave
By Motorbike/Private Vehicle
Reaching Fairy Cave by motorbike or your own vehicle is what we consider to be the best way to visit the cave. This gives you the freedom to explore independently and at your own pace and explore more in the area. You can rent a motorbike from Kuching for 50 MYR (~11 USD).
The drive takes 1-1.5 hours to reach the cave from Kuching. With the motorbike we rented, it took us an extra half hour than Google Maps predicted because our bike didn’t reach the speed limit speeds, so make sure to give yourself time.
We rented our bike from Ah Hui Motor in Kuching. Besides it not reaching highway speeds, we had no issues with the bike or the rental process.
You can book tours to Fairy and Wind Cave, however, we felt that these tours were expensive for the trip and we prefer to explore on our own. You can find tours on Google, Tripadvisor, and GetYourGuide.
By Bus + Walking
There is a bus that goes from Kuching to Bau and the price is very affordable. However, after exiting the bus in Bau, you have another 1 km to Wind Cave or 8 km to Fairy Cave to walk. If you’re up for that, this is the cheapest option. However, we preferred to have the motorbike to reach the cave entrances.
What to Wear & Pack when Visiting Fairy Cave
Close-toed Shoes: A MUST when visiting the caves. And no, this isn’t just our recommendation. You will not be allowed to enter the cave without these. However, if you’re like Sam and accidentally wear hiking sandals, they do have shoes available to rent. Sam was required to rent these rubber walking shoes, which cost 3 MYR. They were clean and offered plenty of sizes to get the right fit.
Headlamp or Flashlight/Torch: Don’t forget this important tool for visiting the caves. The Dark Trail, one of the two walkable trails in Fairy Cave, requires some sort of light. We saw some visitors using their phone lights, but they did say they wished they had flashlights like us.
Didn’t pack a flashlight in your suitcase? Don’t worry! We bought our headlamps for roughly 1 USD from Mr. DIY in Kuching, and they worked great. You can also rent a flashlight at the Fairy Cave Entrance for a small fee.
Water: Even though the caves are cooler than the outside, it is still HOT and HUMID inside. Make sure to bring plenty of drinking water for your adventure in the caves. There are lots of stairs so you will want to stay hydrated.
Cash: Remember to have cash on hand to pay the entrance fee, rent shoes or a flashlight if needed, and pay for a refreshing coconut shake or meal in town!
Things to Remember When Visiting the Caves
Although we didn’t get a chance to visit Wind Cave, if it’s open during your visit, you most likely will be making the trip. It’s important to follow these rules and guidelines for your safety and to protect the cave environment. In general, following Leave No Trace Principles is always a good idea when in nature. It’s our responsibility to keep nature wild for the wildlife and to ensure it’s there for future generations!
When visiting Fairy Cave or Wind Cave Nature Reserve, make sure to follow these rules and guidelines:
- Don’t touch the cave walls or wildlife that lives there. This can damage the sensitive cave environment
- Take your trash with you, and don’t litter. As mentioned above, the cave environment is sensitive. Pack it in, pack it out!
- Stay on the paths, do not wander off the trails and into other parts of the cave.
- Ensure your flashlight/headlamp has fresh batteries, so you are not left in the dark.
- Only visit during opening hours: 9 am-4 pm
What to See Nearby Fairy Cave
Interested in making some more stops on this day trip from Kuching? Here are some other great places to visit near Fairy Cave Nature Reserve:
- Wind Cave – an obvious one but an important one. Wind Cave is located 7-8 km from Fairy Cave and is the closer cave (of the two) to the town of Bau. This cave nature reserve is another stunning natural wonder managed by the Sarawak Forestry Department.
- Bau – This small town near Fairy Cave is the perfect place to get breakfast or lunch when visiting the caves. There are a couple of food courts, including the Ming Ming Food Court, that offer a variety of options.
- Buddha Cave (pictured below) – We aren’t sure of the name of this place since the location on google maps lists an ice cream vendor that no longer exists. However, you will most likely see signs for this cave or see it yourself when driving to Fairy Cave. It is a small cave that holds a variety of different buddha statues sitting behind a fish-filled pond. It seems that some days there is a person selling fish food there because there was a box of food and a box for money on the steps up to the cave. Enjoy the peace this place offers by stopping on your way to or from Fairy Cave.
- Tasik Biru – Also known as Blue Lake. This lake near Bau seems to be popular with Malaysians. You can take a boat ride and walk across the floating bridges.
Visiting Fairy Caves
Visiting the stunning limestone formations outside of Bau is a must when visiting Sarawak. We hope you have a great adventure in the caves!