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Legends and nature of Fairy Cave Bau

Fairy Caves is one of the main attractions in the Bau area located about 40km from Kuching city.

The cave was named after a stalagmite structure which is said to resemble a Chinese deity.

The site covers around 56 hectares and is popular among local climbers.

Overall, Fairy Cave has eight separate walls with over 80 climbs in different ranges of difficulties.

Of course, there are more beyond the walls of Fairy Cave – you’ll find legends and nature interlacing together making it popular among local and foreign visitors alike.

A man-made fountain called ‘Titisan Air Fairy’, which translates to ‘fairy water drops’ was erected in the cave. The fountain has long since dried up but the boy’s statue remains.

Legends of Bau’s Fairy Cave

According to historian Chang Pat Foh, the legends behind the stalactites and stalagmites lie in the story of a poor boy and his mother who lived at a big Bidayuh kampung known as Kampung Kapur located near Fairy Cave.

One day, a Gawai celebration was being held at one of the kampung houses.

Curious, the boy came and peeped in on their celebration, which made the homeowner unhappy.  Rather than simply chase the boy away, the mean-spirited homeowner collected some sugarcane waste and gave it to him, telling him there was pork inside.

Happily, the boy went home and presented what he thought was a gift to share with his mother. When his mother found nothing but sugarcane waste instead, she was humiliated and so began plotting her revenge on the proud village folk.

She took a cat, put it in a beautiful dress and threw the cat into the middle of her neighbour’s Gawai celebration to the surprise of its attendees.

They began to laugh at the sight of a cat in a dress. Their laughter brought on a storm, and the sky roared with thunder and lightning. When the storm eventually stopped, all the villagers had turned into stone.

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They are what make up the stalagmites and stalactites inside Fairy Cave.

Another version of the legend is that it was the boy who threw the cat in the middle of celebration and that the mother had instructed him to cover his head with a chicken basket so that the curse would not touch him.

Besides the Bidayuh community, the Chinese have also their own interest in the Fairy cave as the cave is believed to be home for Chinese gods and goddesses.

Some of the rock formations were even named after Chinese deities such as Kuan Yin, the goddess of Mercy.

Browse through this photo gallery of Fairy Cave by KajoMag:

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Apart from mystical legends, Fairy Cave is also believed to play a role in Sarawak history as members of Japanese forces used it for shelter during World War II.

Later, communist fighters used it for the same purpose in the ’60s.

Fairy Cave and its nature

Besides being rich in legends and tales, the cave is also rich in nature.

Fairy cave, along with Wind Cave is home to the slipper orchid Paphiopedilum stonei.

This species is one of the highly prized orchids according to Hans P Hazebroek and Abang Kashim Abang Morshidi in National Parks of Sarawak.

Sarawak government gazetted Wind Cave and Fairy Cave as a nature reserve to protect the caves and the biodiversity inside.

The reserve is home to palms such as Arenga pinnata and Arenga undulatifolia.

There are also up to 14 species of bats, 12 species of snails and black-nest swiftlets found in the reserve.

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A visit to Fairy Cave

A fantastic view from inside the cave.

There is a flight of  concrete steps leading up to the entrance located high in the limestone cliff, which makes this place not suitable for the elderly or small children to visit.

Next to the concrete steps, there is a narrow stone ladder covered in mold and in ruin. These were the old steps which led up to the cave entrance.

Once you get inside, there are plank walks for visitors to explore the cave.

Apart from that, Fairy cave makes a good site for a pleasant visit in the morning when the weather is a bit chilly.

If you are an avid photographer, the place offers a great location to explore outdoor photography.

The downside?

The disappointing part of Fairy cave is the rubbish. With only two dustbins on site, it’s time we start taking our litter home instead of leaving it behind at a nature reserve.

Bring back your own rubbish, and start using reusable bottles for your drinking water.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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