Gunung Mulu Park
Gunung Mulu Park Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
To get here, you have to fly. A quick hop from Miri on the coast, and we touched down in pristine jungle along a limestone ridge. This park, a world heritage site, is remote and absolutely stunning. It is primarily famous for its massive limestone cave systems, its pristine virgin rainforest, and its wildlife, especially bats. In only a day and a half, I was able to see several of its biggest caves (like deer cave and clearwater cave), see the butterfly with the largest wing span (the birdwing butterfly), do a jungle canopy walk, see millions of bats fly out of the caves at night, and hike several nearby trails. I could easily have stayed much longer.
Upon arrival at noon, I checked into the park lodge (a shared room, but one that I happened to have to myself) and went on the jungle canopy tour. Most of the sites of interest require a guided tour, but they are actually rather inexpensive (about $7 per person). Our group of about 6 walked from tree to tree on hanging ropeways over areas where the nightlife is well renowned. We saw fresh footprints in the mud from both a Silver Cat and a panther.
That evening, we walked down wooden trails to Deer Cave. On the way, the guide pointed out a stick insect hanging from a guard rail. The first one I've ever seen, I was amused by its uncanny resemblance too, well, a small stick! A few hundred feet later, he stopped and pointed to a mess of tangled green vines, sticks and leaves and asked if anybody could point out the stick insect.
We first visited the cave itself and then to a viewing platform outside the entrance to watch millions of bats do their apparently well-rehearsed exits from the cave in hundreds of individual ribbon-like streams, sometimes forming amazing patterns as they flew overhead. A stream of them would exit the cave, circle around and around in formation just outside the cave, and then fly overhead in a long wavy ribbon over the jungle.
The cave was amazing too. It boasts the single largest cave opening in the world and it courses under a mountain to emerge though a smaller cave opening on the other side.
The next day, I took a tour of some nearby caves that we could only access by taking a small longtail boat up a river for an hour. It too was enormous. On the way we stopped at a local village whose only visible source of income was from the trinkets sold to us tourists who cycled through each day. The cave tour was exhausing and long but included such oddities as milky white formations, wind channels, underground rivers, and the famous single-leaf plant. We ended it with a dip in a natural spring near a hidden entrance. After the tour, I had a few hours to kill, so I took one of the many trails into the jungle to photo butterflies and stickbugs before checking in for my flight home.