Myanmar Cave Documentation Project


Welcome to the Myanmar Cave Documentation Project

About us

The Myanmar Cave Documentation Project is a group of experienced cavers organized within the Swiss Caving Society and the British Cave Research Association. We possess a large speleological expertise which is enlarged by cavers joining from our international partner network. We collaborate with government authorities, NGOs and research institutions.


Our Mission

We actively engage for karst conservation, ecotourism and biodiversity research towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Basis is our solid speleological expertise and local know-how about Karst & Caves in Myanmar. All results are published in books or articles, presented at international conferences and made available for karst education and subsequent research.



8th August


The Project attends the Transkarst 2019 Conference in Bohol.


16th June


The Expedition Report 2019 is available!

The report covers the areas Shan, Kayah and Myeik. It has major maps and many pictures. Enjoy reading it here: Expedition Report 2019


23rd Feb.


Event: "Meet the Myanmar Cave Explorers" - Yangon

The event Meet Myanmar Cave Explorers was a huge success with a full house with many visitors not only from Yangon and but also all the way from Loikaw, Hpruso (Kayah), Hpa-An (Kayin) and Taunggyi (Shan). Thanks a lot for the curiosity on caves & karst. We hope to see you more!

ယေန႔ MeetUp ကိုအနယ္နယ္အရပ္ရပ္က တက္ေရာက္ေလ့လာၾကတဲ့ ေမးခြန္းေတြေမးျမန္းၾက လာေရာက္နားေထာင္ၾကတဲ့ မိတ္ေဆြတစ္ေယာက္ခ်င္းစီတိုင္းကိူေက်းဇူးအထူးတင္ရွိပါတယ္ခင္ဗ်ာ။
((ေနရာထိုင္ခင္း က်ဥ္းတဲ့အတြက္ ထိုင္စရာေနရာနဲ႔ အစားအေသာက္တည္ခင္းရာမွာအားနည္းခ်က္မ်ားရွိခဲ့ရင္ခြင့္လႊတ္ေပးေစလိုပါေၾကာင္း)

2nd Transkarst Group Picture


15th Feb.


Presentation of our project to the Kayah State Government in Loikaw

The Chief minister of Kayah state, L Paung Sho, invited us for a presentation to his cabinet. In 45 minutes we showed the results of our five years work in Kayah and suggested subsequent research projects on hydrogeology and implementation of a karst conservation scheme. The map of Phruno Cave was afterwards used for interactive discussion with the ministers. 2nd Transkarst Group Picture




Expedition 2019 leaves for Myanmar

The Myanmar and International participants are getting ready for the upcoming expedition in February. The documentation will continue documenting the in 2018 found caves in Hopon and Kayah State. After the successful cooperation with OIKOS and Lampi Nationalpark finding new bat records, further cave fauna documentation is focusing on the northern part of the Myeik archipelago.




Irrawaddy Article "Caves Are More than Sites for Buddhist Shrines"   

The online news Magazine "The Irrawaddy" published an interview with Ko Nyi Ny Aung from the Yangon Cavers about cave conservation. Please learn more about this at Irrawaddy 2018 .   




EuroSpeleo Forum 2018 in Austria   

The Karst of Myeik was presented at the 12th EuroSpeleo Forum in Ebensee/Austria. Close to 700 participants of 40 nations shared in 122 talks the recent developments in karst and cave science.   




Expedition Report 2018 is published   

The expedition report contains a summary of surveyed caves in Mandalay, Shan, Kayah and Hpa-An with first maps and many pictures: Expedition Report 2018   




Fifteen new cave gecko species discovered

A team of scientists has found an astonishing fifteen new gecko species within Myanmar’s karst landscapes based on our book publications. Dr Grismer notes the sad irony that Myanmar has some of the most extensive areas of karst in all of Southeast Asia, yet it is the least protected. “Hundreds of new species could face extinction without proper management,” he says. More here   




Frontier Magazin Article "Exploring Myanmar’s vast network of limestone caves"   

The leading English Magazine of Myanmar, Frontier, published an article about the projects recent expedition, history and future vision. Please enjoy reading it at Frontier 2018 .   




Myanmar 2018 - The expedition finished after a new record of four weeks  

The areas of Mandalay, Hopong, Kayah and Hpa-An were explored from the North to the South. Caves near Pyin Oo Lwin were documented in cooperation with the nature conservation group Seinland. The Sam Phu village near Hopong hosted the expedition afterwards. The team enlarged to 11 with cavers from Yangon and Mandalay joining for Kayah. The surprise were wet bottomless shafts in Hrpuso. The Hpa-An tower karst was re-visited in the last week.
The very welcoming support of the villages and Myanmar Cavers from the training joining opens a new speleological perspective in this country with one of the least explored karst in Southeast-Asia!  




Video of the 1st Myanmar Cave Training

Please enjoy the impressions from the training and feel the enthusiasm and passion of Myanmar's upcoming young caver generation. Editing and idea by Win Pye.




1st Myanmar Cave Training at Hopon

Twenty-two ethusiastic trainees with background in mountaineering, tourism, university and fauna conservation participated in the 1st Myanmar Cave Training. They studied and practiced for seven days cave survey, mapping, vertical techniques, fauna identification and karst science. This intensifies the ongoing systematic documentation of Myanmars Karst & Caves for biodiversity research, conservation and ecotourism development. The training was organized in cooperation with Fauna & Flora International and support of GiZ, CEPF and Helmsley Cheritable Trust. The training report is here.




Dinner Reception as the Swiss ambassadors residence in Yangon

The Swiss ambassador H.E. Paul Seeger and his wife hosted a dinner reception for the Eurospeleo Team. The documentary "First Steps" was screened the first time in Myanmar to an audience of 40-50 participants.




The 2017 expedition teams return from Pindaya, Ywangan, Kayah and Myeik

The British-American team (left) surveys in cooperation with German Giz caves close to Pindaya. Further areas are explored near Ywangan. The Eurospeleo Team continues documentation in Kayah, Pinlaung and Myeik. Phruno cave is extented in a 12h trip to 4.5 km length. It is now the 2nd longest cave of Myanmar. The Myeik archipelago is entirely crossed. Clusters of limestone with caves located in scenic hongs are found. Both teams document 12 km passage in 60 caves!




TrailerKayah Documentary "First Steps"

The documentary (30 Min) is released. You can watch it at following events:
 - 5 November : Festival Montagne de ZAGHOUAN (Tunisie)
 - 16 November : Rencontres de Cinéma de GRENOBLE (au Palais des Sports)
 - 18 November : Rencontres de la Cinémathèque Montagne de GAP
 - 19 November : Festival Spélimages at AVIGNON





EurospeleoLectures at Eurospeleo Congress from 13-20 August in Yorkshire (UK)

The project will give three lectures at European Caving Congress "EuroSpeleo 2016":
1. Kayah- the new caving frontier in South-East Asia by Joerg Dreybrodt
2. Hundreds of tropical islands in Myeik Archipelago - which one has caves? by Joerg Dreybrodt
3. Myanmar 2010-2016 (Ywangan) by Peter Talling





TrailerKayah 2016 report is available

The cave maps of Red River Cave and Phruno Cave are published with impressive pictures. Please have a look on the complete report at: Report Kayah 2016. Here the translation of the summary in Burmese: 

၂၀၁၅ ခုႏွစ္ေနာက္ပိုင္းတြင္ ျမန္မာ့သဘာ၀လိုဏ္ဂူမ်ားကို မွတ္တမ္းယူျခင္းစီမံခ်က္ျဖင့္ ကယားျပည္နယ္သုိ့ ဒုတိယအႀကိမ္ သြားေရာက္္ခဲ့ရာတြင္ အံ့ႀသမင္သက္ဖြယ္ ရႈခင္းစံုလင္ေတြ ့ျမင္ခဲ့ရပါသည္။ မယ္စဲ့ မွတပါး အရပ္ေဒသအားလံုးတြင္  အလ်င္အျမန္တိုးတက္လာေသာ ကားလမ္းဆက္သြယ္မႈစနစ္မ်ားက လြမ္းျခံဳေနခဲ့ျပီျဖစ္သည္။ေဘာလခဲတြင္ မႏွစ္ကေတြ ့ရွိခဲ့ေသာျမစ္နီဂူသည္ ၄.၁ ကီလုိမီတာ ရွည္လ်ားျပီး ၊ ယခုအခါတြင္ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံတြင္ အရွည္ဆံုးဂူမ်ားထဲမွ ဒုတိယေျမာက္ဂူ ျဖစ္သည္။ ဒီေမာဆုိျမိဳ႕၏ အေရွ႕ဘက္တြင္တည္ရွိေသာ ခ်ိဳင့္၀ွမ္းမ်ားကုိ စူးစမ္းေလ့လာရာတြင္ ေခါင္းတလားမ်ားရွိသည့္  လုိဏ္ဂူသစ္တစ္ခုကိုအုပ္မိုးထားေသာသဘာ၀ထံုးေက်ာက္ေတာင္တစ္ခုကိုေတြ႔ျမင္ခဲ့ရသည္။

ဖရူဆိုးျမိဳ႕ အနီးတြင္မူ အျမင့္ ၅၀ မီတာရွိေသာ သဘာ၀လိုဏ္ဂူ ၀င္ေပါက္ ထဲသို ႕ စီးဆင္းေပ်ာက္ကြယ္သြားေသာ  စမး္ေခ်ာင္းငယ္ေလးတစ္ခုႏွင့္္အတူ ႀကီးမားလွသည့္ ျမစ္ဂူ တစ္ခု တို႔ကုိလည္း မွတ္တမ္းတင္ခဲ့ပါသည္။။ ထိုျမစ္ဂူသည္  စူးစမ္းေလ့လာမႈအဆံုးသတ္သည့္ေနရာထိ ၂.၆ ကီလိုမီတာ ရွည္လ်ားျပီး  ဂူ ၏အတြင္းလမ္းအျမင့္မွာ၂၀-၃၀ မီတာျဖစ္သည္။ ဂူ အျပင္သုိ ့ ျပန္ထြက္လာႏုိင္သည့္ ဂူေပါက္ကို ၁၀ ကီလိုမီတာ အကြာအေ၀းတြင္ ေတြ႔ရွိသျဖင္ ့အေရွ႕ေတာင္အာရွတြင္ အရွည္ဆံုးဂူမ်ားအနက္မွ တစ္ဂူ  ျဖစ္လာႏိုင္ပါသည္။ ကယားျပည္နယ္၏ ျမင့္မားလွေသာထံုးေက်ာက္ဂူသည္ သဘာ၀အေျခခံခရီးသြားလုပ္ငန္းႏွင့္ ဆက္ႏြယ္ေနေသာ ထံုးေက်ာက္ဂူေလ့လာႏိုင္သည့္ ေနရာသစ္တစ္ခုျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း အတည္ျပဳေနပါသည္။ (Thanks to Naw Yuzana Win for her efforts)



TrailerTrailer Video from Kayah

The 3 minutes trailer "First Steps" made by Phil Bence from the Kayah 2016 expedition can be viewed on Vimeo: First Steps. A documentary follows end of the year.





Group 2015Kayah 2016 team discovers several large river caves

The Hpruso-Demeso area west of Loikaw revealed an extremely scenic karst landscape. Highlights are the Phruno Cave with a large river passage of 10 m width and 20 m height was surveyed for 2.5 km with many photos taken. It was surveyed for 2.5 km and resurges likely in Kwaing Ngant Cave in 9 km distance. The cave has the potential to be one of the longest caves in Southeast Asia. The Red river cave discovered in 2015 is documented to a final length of 4.1 km making it the 2nd longest cave of Myanmar.


November 2015

Talk at 2nd Asian Transkarst Conference in Lichuan/China

The "Karst and Caves of the Shan plateau in Myanmar" were presented at the 2nd Asian Transkarst Conference from 6-8 November 2015 in Lichuan, China. Over 160 speleologists and geoscientists from more than 20 countries attended and presented the latest research and speleological explorations in Asia. A highlight was the inauguration of the Asian Union of Speleology (AUS). 2nd Transkarst Group Picture



September 2015

Presentation at German Annual Cavers Meeting in Berchtesgaden

A talk about the latest discoveries was given at the German Annual Caving Society Meeting VdHK eV. near Berchtesgarten on Friday, 4th of September.



August 2015

Myanmar Times Interview of Joerg Dreybrodt

An interview given to Wade Guyiit from the Myanmar Times about Subterranean Explorations for the August 28 weekend edition. The full article can be read here.



July 2015

New focus area "Biodiversity in Karst"

Biodiversity in karst is gaining attention due to the highly adapted species living in this special environment. Flora Fauna International (FFI) launched a 3 year karst conservation project inlcuding studies of biodiveristy in cave entrances. The project contributes by sharing its database of 600 karst object under a CC license.

More can be read at the 8 page brochure Karst Biodiversity.