Gua Payau

Deer Cave

Useful Information

Location: Gunung Mulu National Park, island of Borneo, Sarawak. 3km walk from the National Park office. (3°57' N, 114°47' E)
Open: A Park guide or a registered tour guide provided by a travel agency is required for all caves in the National Park.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=1,931m. H=120m, W=152m.
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: Hans P Hazebroek, Abang Kashim bin Abang Morshidi (2002): A Guide to the Gunung Mulu National Park, A world heritage site in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. with a foreword by Dato Sri Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, Minister of Tourism 2002. 91 pp numerous colour photos. SB
L.S. Hall (1996): Observations on bats in Gua Payau (Deer Cave), Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak., Sarawak Mus. J. No. 71. 111-124
Address: The Director of Forest, Ibu Pejabat Jabatan Perhutanan, Bangunan Wisma Sumber Alam, Jalan Stadium, Petra Jaya, 93660 Kuchung, Sarawak, Malaysia, Tel: +60-82-442180 Fax: +60-82-441377.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Deer Cave is said to have the highest cave entrance in the world, 100m wide and 120m high. It is often compared with St. Paul's Cathedral, we have no idea why, which fits in 5 times over. The cave behind the entrance is a huge passage, nearly the same size, dimly lit by the daylight from the entrance. Deer Cave is a through cave, with two huge entrances. The rock formation at one opening resembles the profile of Abraham Lincoln. The other opening is known as the Garden of Eden because it is surrounded by lush jungle.

Actually the cave was for a long time the largest cave passage of the world, but only the second largest cave entrance in the world. In 2009 a British team of cavers explored a cave in Vietnam, which is now the largest known cave passage and so Deer Cave is number two in both respects.

Numerous bats live in the cave, at some parts of the cave floor is covered with enormous amounts of bat guano. It is estimated that the cave contains up to 5 million Wrinkle-lipped Bats (Tadariida plicata). In the evening the bats leave the cave in large groups. On a good night the bats in Deer Cave eat nine tons of insects. Like in other bat caves the evenings are a special attraction of this cave. It is said to be the world's largest bat colony.

The cave has no electric light but it is lighted by daylight from the entrances, and it has well developed paths.