Myanmar Cave Documentation Project


Overview of Expeditions


Project members: 59 cavers from Australia, Austria, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Myanmar, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom & United States


Hpa-An 2020

Participants: P Dummer (coordinator), T Dummer, M Ellis, S Subrahmanya, P Lenahan, I Hollis, Yupin, Aye, Naw Yuzana Win,Saw Kyaw Tun

The SMCC team returned to Hpa-An with local cavers joining the expedition. The main objecitve was the active Naung Kha Laing Cave which was found during the last day of the expedition in 2019. The cave sumps after 590 m. It is reported falling dry in May and can be exited at another entrance. The team surveyed about 1 km passage in 10 caves.


Eastern Shan 2020

Participants: P Talling (coordinator), F Loveridge, M Futrell, A Futrell, D Froehlich and Nyi Nyi Aung

This was the first expedition to the eastern part of the Shan plateau between Kentung and Tachileik. The expedition visited a couple of small caves very close to the city of Tachileik, before staying in Monghpyak and mapping the extensive Som Hein. The current mapped length of this system is around 11.6km, with many passages still to be completed, making it the new longest cave in Myanmar.


Hopon/Kayah/Myeik 2019

Participants: J Dreybrodt (main coordinator), U Etter (co-leader), F Hof, M Foakes, J Grego, M Olsavsky, J Spies, Nyi Nyi Aung  (co-coordinator), Aung Khaing Myint, Tamk Aungkohtwe, Zay Yar Min

The expedition continues exploring the newly found caves in Hopon and Kayah.The last week a smaller team head south continuing the cave fauna survey in the northern part of the Myeik archipelago.


Hpa-An 2019

Participants: P Dummer (coordinator), T Dummer, J Campbell, A Goddard, M Butcher, I Hollis, Aye

The team of the Shepton Mallet Caving Club (SMCC) from the UK newly joined the Myanmar Cave Documentation Project. It focuses on the limestone towers and karst around Hpa-An towards the Thai border. In total 4.2 km of passages in 15 caves were mapped.


Mandalay/Hopon/Kayah/Hpa-An 2018

Participants: J Dreybrodt (coordinator), U Etter, F Hof, D Sanz, M Foakes, A Laborde, Aung Khaing Myint, Nyi Nyi Aung, Kyaw Ye, Sandar Nyunt Mai, Tamk Aungkohtwe, Thet Painghtun, Ye Htut, Zay Yar Min

The expedition explores the areas of Mandalay together with the Mandalay Cave Group. It continues to Hopon for assessing the potential of caves for ecotourism on invitation of an village east of Hopon. Afterwards river caves in Kayah are further explored and new areas are targeted in order to complete the hydrogeolocical picture of this most southern state of the plateau. The last week is planed in Hpa-An together with cavers from Yangon.


Kayah/Pinlaung/Myeik 2017

Participants: J Dreybrodt (coordinator), U Etter, R Hapka, M Boreau, C Densham

The Phruno River cave near Hpruso in Kayah is extended to 4500 m length until it sumps (not final, minor leads left). Several other caves near Loikaw have been found with one large draining karst spring. A surprise is Nang Toke Hwtut Gu near Pekon with a large river from a 20 m wide passage that floods 10 m high in rainy season. In Pinlaung the Hti Ngut Shaft was descended to final 160 m depth. The crossing of the entire Myeik archipelago in the South was successful. Two clusters of island are limestone with large halls of 150 m length and up to 100 m height. Most of the archipelago is granite with caves oriented along the fault lines (up to 300 m long). Two caves at Lampi host very large bat colonies of several 1000 bats. Total 7.5 km of passage was surveyed in 41 caves.


Ywangan 2017

Participants: P Talling (coordinator), F Loveridge, M Futrell, A Futrell, A Atinkson, B Wright

The expedition focused on new areas in Ywangan near Pindaya in cooperation with the Danu tribe of the Pa-O. The most significant caves were Taung Myint Gyi Gu (839m long) and Taung Chaung Ye Gu (765m long and 190m deep). Passages of 4.5 km in 19 objects were surveyed.    


Myeik Archipelago 2016

Participants: J Dreybrodt, R Hapka, M Boreau

A reece trip was done in the southern part of the archipelago near the island Lampi. Limestone with caves is found only on few islands, but surprisingly the non-karstic islands revealed up to 200 m long caves with large colonies of bats.


Kayah 2016

Participants: J Dreybrodt (co-ordinator), U Etter, R Hapka, M Boreau, J Lundberg, P Bence, M Scheuerer

The Hpruso-Demeso area west of Loikaw revealed an extremely scenic karst landscape. Highlights are the Phruno Cave with a river cascading in waterfalls into a 50 m high cave portal. The consistent large passage of 10 m widht and 20 m height was surveyed for 2.5 km with many photos taken. It resurges in Kwaing Ngant Cave in 9 km distance with a potential to be one of the longest caves in Southeast Asia. Another cave containing coffins were found to the north and is the most western location known for such caves. The Red river cave discovered in 2015 is documented to a final lenght of 4.1 km making it the 2nd longest cave of Myanmar. A guided tour to seven officials of the Bawlakhe government was given in order to promote the protection of this cave with large sinter curtains and a major underground river.


Ywangan 2016

Participants: B Wright, P Talling, F Loveridge, C Hulse, B Wright, C Densham

The team spent three weeks exploring the potential for caves on the western edge of the Shan Plateau, near the town of Ywangan. Resurgences near the base of the escarpment were checked out and the 1.2km long Phoe Inn Gu surveyed. The search for shafts on the plateau yielded a new deepest cave of -300 m depth called Ju Gu. It has a series of shafts with a strong draft that mysteriously vanishes and is replaced by bad air. A further descend into open passage was therefore not possible.


Kayah 2015

Participants: J Dreybrodt (co-ordinator), U Etter, R Hapka, M Boreau, C Densham

The Kyet cave near Loikaw is mapped to a length of 2.2 km and is ther 3rd longest cave oy Myanmar. Five townships could be visited and the potential for larger river caves confirmed. The two larger caves "Red river" near Bawlake and "Kwaing" near Hpruso have impressive passages of 10 m with with large rivers appearing from mountainous areas with dolines. Reports mentioned larger resurgences deeper in the mountains. The access to the country side is limited but a good understanding of areas and access was achieved for further expeditions to this promising province. In total 5.2 km of passage in 9 caves was documented.


Pinlaung 2014

Participants: J Dreybrodt (co-ordinator), M Borruat, D Eskes, T Koster, C Densham, U del Vecchio, B Mancini, F Valentino

The Namun Spring Cave is mapped to a passage length of 2.6 km and is now the 2nd longest cave in Myanmar. Further through caves formed by a subsidary river cutting through isosated hills of several hundred meter length were surveyed when returning to Pinlaung. Further scouting on the plateau in various directions resulted only in minor caves. One had beautiful Buddha statue remains of former monasteries. The Hti Ngut shaft few km from Pinlaung has a depth of -157 m with an active stream continuing in open passage. In total 3 km of passages were maped in 13 caves.


Ywangan 2014

Participants: P Talling (co-ordinator), F Loveridge, L Hong, P Mackrill, B Wright

The expedition visited the two areas of Linwe and Kyauk Ngauk. The large depression of Linwe hosts with Dragon cave (1.6 km) and Stone Spring Cave (1.9 km) large systems increasing the number of caves over 1 km. Kyauk Khaung cave was further pushed with a closer base from Kyauk Ngauk village than to the previous years. It could be extened in depth. Dragon cave is less than 1 km in distance with the possibility of a future connection of both systems. In total 5 km passages in 8 caves were mapped.


Pinlaung/Taunggyi 2013

Participants: J Dreybrodt (co-ordinator), U Etter, H Steiner

The revisit of Pinlaung focused on the Paulaung river draining the water from the Shan plateau towards the plains. The resurgence cave Namun was surveyed to a length of 1.1 km with continuing open passages. In the 2nd part new areas east of the Inle lake were checked.


Ywangan 2013

Participants: P Talling (co-ordinator), T Guilford, L Hong, F Loveridge, L Maurice, B Wright

The expedition extended the currently longest cave of Myanmar Kyauk Khaung to 4.8 km length. The logistic efforts increases significantly in order to reach the survey end within one day.


Pinlaung/Kalaw 2012

Participants: J Dreybrodt (co-ordinator), U Etter, M Olliphant, N Pistole, A Romeo , H Steiner

The former expedition area of the Italian La Venta team from 2005 near Kalaw and Pinlaung was revisited. Open leads were pushed and new river caves surveyed. The surprise were large chambers with shafts aligned on a ridge east of Pinlaung resulting with Mai Lone Kho into the new deepest cave of Myanmar (-160 m).


Ywangan/Lashio 2012

Participants: P Talling (co-ordinator), C Densham, T Guilford, L Hong, F Loveridge, L Maurice

The karst area of Ywangan was visited which was discovered in 2011 on the way to Lashio. The potential for caves was confirmed by surveying Kyauk Khaung Cave (Stone cave) to 2.3 km being the new longest cave in Myanmar with ongoing passages. The access to the karst around Lashio was limited and few small caves in the South mapped.


Hopon/Lashio 2011

Participants: I Furlong (co-ordinator), C Densham, J Dreybrodt, F Loveridge, P Rowsell, P Talling

The promising area of Hopon was visited for the 2nd time. The locally well known Hopon Spring cave was surveyed to a final lenght of 1655 m and the river passage connected to a 40 m surface shaft. A first look was taken into the new area of Lashio towards the Chinese border.


Hopon 2010

Participants: I Furlong (co-ordinator), F Loveridge, P Rowsell, P Talling

The project became aware of this area by an article in a domestic in-flight magazine whith impressive pictures of large well decorated halls. The reason is a religious cave called Tham Sam that is transformed into a temple cave of the Pa-O tribe about 35 km east of Taunggyi near Hopon. The expedition surveyed the Htam Sam to a length of 584 m as well as many other mostly active river caves in the same valley and in the surrounding hill landscape.


Hpa-An 2009

Participants: J Dreybrodt (co-ordinator), H Steiner, L Prize

The reece focused on the Hpa-An and Mawlamyine (Moulmein) area in the Southern Kayin and Mon states. The area has an impressive ridge and tower karst with limestone hills doted in plains of rice fields. The visited caves were mostly temple caves which were known from colonial reports. The longest documented cave was Saddan cave in Hpa-An with 800 m length followed by several other caves of 400m length. Total 14 caves and 3.8 km of documented passages.