Madai Caves

Location: Sabah

Location Info

Address: Kampung Madai, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia
Information Centre: Kunak Regional Forestry office
P.O.Box No 2, 91207 Kunak, Sabah, Malaysia
Office Number: +608 985 1863
Fax Number: +608 985 1862
Opening Hours: Pre-arrange with the Kunak Regional Forestry office
Last Admission: MYR1.00 per pax

District » Lahad Datu


Madai Caves is located at Tawau Division of Sabah, in between Lahad Datu and Tawau on the East Coast of Sabah. The caves can be easily found and located as it is only about 1.5 kilometers from the main road.


Madai Caves is the habitat is a large number of swiftlets. Their nests are usually harvested twice a year for the renowned Chinese delicacy, the birds nest soup. For more than five centuries, the Ida'an people have been harvesting the nests as they own the harvesting rights in Madai Caves.

Madai is also one of the most important archaeological sites where traces of human existence and inhabitation can be traced from over 15,000 years ago. These traces of human were found preserved in layers and layers of bat droppings which are found in abundance inside the caves. There are village houses right outside the caves which offers place to stay especially during the harvest period when people throng to the caves for their share of the bird nests.

About 16 kilometers from Madai is Baturong. This is another huge limestone massif of archaeological importance. Baturong was once part of the Tingkayu Lake which was washed away a few thousands of years ago around 15,000 BC. The Baturong Caves were believed to be inhabited for over 5000 years until they were abandoned around 10,000 BC. However, they were again inhabited together with the Madai Caves till the end of the Paleolithic Age. Though Madai Caves can be easily accessed, the same cannot be said for Baturong. Baturong can only be reached by a one-hour drive and another hour of walking through the palm oil plantations. Sabah is a fantastic place to visit. The abundance of picturesque views and scenic landscapes will definitely make you want to stay here as long as you can. Accommodations in Sabah are plentiful so do not worry about not having a place to put up during your stay here.


The best way to get to Madai Caves is by car as one has to use the Lahad Datu-Tawau highway to get to the caves.