Mt Kinabalu without cloud cover!
Up early for our waiting taxi to the airport. Our flight was at 8:15am and was a short 30 minute flight with Air Asia to Kota Kinabalu. At Kota Kinabalu we had about 4 hours before getting our flight with MAS Wings to Mulu via Miri in Sarawak, so today was mainly a travelling day. The flight was good and we got good views of Mt Kinabalu with no cloud covering it! One day we would come back to Sabah to climb it! We arrived at the domestic terminal only to find that our next flight would be leaving from the International terminal a few kms away.
A very large buterfly at Kota Kinabalu Airport
We had 4 hours to kill and we wanted to store our bags and go into KK. There was no shuttle between the two terminals so we had to get a taxi voucher which cost 20 ringgits which was a bit steep for 5 minute ride! They really need to provide a shuttle service between the two terminals. At the International terminal we stowed our bags for a small fee and got another taxi into Kota Kinabalu. Our first mission was breakfast! Malcolm and Julie were familiar with the city and lead us to the cafe hangout. We found a nice place called the Rain forest Cafe which served a delicious American breakfast as well pancakes and other tasty choices. We took our time and enjoyed breakfast, the Sabah capital didn't strike me as a top tourist attraction, just an average city. Malcolm said it was really just a base to get to other places there wasn't much to see here.
Waterfront at Kota Kinabalu
After breakfast we headed to the Internet Cafe to find out information on Mulu. We wasn't sure if it had credit card facilities or not, the website wasn't that helpful so we took out a heap of cash out the hole in the wall to be on the safe side. We strolled along the waterfront which didn't seem too bad, although there were no hotels or restaurants, they must of all been further along the coast. The last mission while we were in KK was to get stamps but the Post Office was shut and none of the news agent type shops seem to sell them. It was soon time to head back to the airport and get our next flight. Back at the airport we retrieved our bags and stood in line to check them in. While waiting the largest butterfly I had ever seen was on the ground it had been injured so I picked it up and held it in my hand and had to get a photo, it practically fit my whole hand! Our flight to Miri was pleasant, we were in a propeller plane and our window seat was level with the wheels and the propeller.
The views were nice as we flew over the remainder of Sabah then Brunei and along the coast of Sarawak. At Miri airport we had to get off the plane and get our passport stamped as we were in Sarawak now, Vaughan and I also had a swine flu check! Back on the plane and 5 mins later we were flying over vast rain forest and one very wide muddy looking river that snaked its way through the thick jungle.
It was only about a 20 minute flight, our approach to Mulu was lovely, it was thick rain forest covered mountains with some exposure of limestone rock. The airport was tiny and a few taxi drivers were waiting outside with their 4WDrive utes to take us to the park headquarters which was no more than a 5 minute drive and cost us about 5 ringgits! The entrance to Gunung Mulu was a rope bridge that crossed a small river, probably one of the offshoots off the larger river.
It was only a few minutes across the bridge but it was hot and sticky and inside the park office wasn't much better. They had my booking down twice so there was a little confusion at first then they sorted it all out by giving us one of the large Deluxe Longhouses which had two rooms. Then we spent the next 15 minutes going through an activity plan with the staff, something they insisted we do before we were allowed to go to our rooms! We couldn't wait to get to our longhouse as we were in need of a shower, a drink and something to eat. The longhouse was enormous, two large bedrooms with en suite. A kitchen that didn't have a stove or oven, a large dining and living room with double doors that opened up onto a large balcony. You could fitted a family of 10 in here! The aircon didn't work in the lounge but we really didn't need it as it was fairly cool at night.
Mas Wings propeller!
All around us was rain forest, it was lovely. After freshening up we headed down to the rain forest cafe for a feast. The cafe was nice, great menu, there was also a shop selling local wares and an excellent rain forest discovery centre. Also attached to the cafe was another longhouse which was the dorms and cheaper private rooms. It was getting late in the afternoon at this point, Malcolm and Julie decided to wonder back over the bridge and check out a shack looking bar that sold beer. Vaughan had a case of the Sandakan shits so wasn't feeling the best so I stayed back with him and just chilled on the veranda and listened to the fantastic evening jungle noises!