Walking to Paku Falls
Today we had a full schedule ahead of us so there was no sleeping in! Our first stop was breakfast at Cafe Mulu, we had the Western Breakfast with cold baked beans! I took them back for them to reheat. The morning was free at leisure and we had already decided the day before we were going to check out Paku waterfall. Paku waterfall was one of the attractions that didn't need a guide. It was about a 2 kms walk, after signing the register to let the park guides know where we were going, we set off along the boardwalk. Malcolm seem to know where he was going, it wasn't marked and after 15 minutes we had to double back along another track, another 20 minutes and we had gone around in circles and ended up back at the park office! We looked at the park map and found that if we had kept going on the first track we would have eventually got to the junction! So off we went again and this time we found the waterfall, by the time we got there we were very much ready for a swim.
Malcolm has a hitcher
It was like a small gorge with the waterfall trickling down the cliff face, the water very cool and refreshing it was just lovely. We spent about 45 minutes or so here before we headed back along the dirt track then onto the boardwalk back towards the park office for lunch. Along the way I spotted rather a large stick insect hanging off the wooden rails, we were always on the lookout for wildlife. We had lunch at Cafe Mulu then met our guide at the park office for our tree top walk activity followed by a couple of the caves. We followed our guide along the boardwalk stopping now and then for him to explain a few things about the wildlife and different plants that the locals use for medicine. The guide himself was from one of the villages so had good knowledge of the rainforest and its people.
He showed us a thorny looking bamboo which was home to ants. He demonstrated running a stick along the thorns. The reaction was a shudder from the plant and emanated rather a strange sound. He explained that the shudder and echoing noise that came from the plant was actually the ants inside it, defending it as it was their home. Our guide also pointed to a leafy branch and asked us if we could spot two stick insects mating. I did spot them and after that anything else he asked us to spot Vaughan turned it into a competition to see if he could spot it first!
The start of the tree top walk was about 3 kms away and as we approached we could see and hear Macaques in the trees. The tree top walk was about 350 meters long and was a series of sections joined together at trees.
A rather large stick insect
Only two people could walk a bridge section at a time and once you got to the end of a section you stood on a platform that encircled a tree. Informative signage described the tree and what its wood was used for as well as information about the rainforest. The sections that made up the bridges were quite narrow and were made of rope and wood, it was like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, it was the best tree top walk we had ever done and it was nerve racking to walk it! As we climbed higher into the canopy and hit the sunlight it was really hot and all you saw was thick green all around you. Once we got our feet firmly back on the ground our guide walked us to the junction where we would meet our cave guide. Our cave guide led us down the boardwalk to what looked like an amphitheatre and large wooden deck area with information boards and a video screen as well as a small kiosk selling drinks etc.
How well set-up! We were never expecting such a professional set-up in Borneo
, it was like the parks back home! So far the signage, boardwalks, information boards were very well done we were impressed. We waited a while at the information area, there was plenty of information boards describing the life of the bat which lives in the caves, the screen was for the bat cam.
Soon we were ushered towards the giant mouth of Deer Cave, the entrance to the cave was like the lost world with giant fern trees, it was lovely. We followed the path into the cave which opened up into a massive cavern, it was huge. Deer Cave is the world's largest cave passage, over 2 kms long and 174 metres in height.
Swimming at Paku Falls
We were awestruck by it's immense size, you could here the bats and smell them too, there would have been millions in here! We obviously didn't walk the 2 kms! Our guide took us along the marked out path and explained the geology of the cave along the way and the life that lives in them, the path was dimly lit and information signs were posted here and there repeating what the guide had told us but in more detail. We had to use head torches because it was dimly lit. We spent about an hour exploring the cave before coming out the same entrance and moving on into Langs Cave. Langs Cave was more like you would expect in a cave with Stalactites and Stalagmites where Deer Cave would be described as a giant cavern. Langs Cave was pretty with its formations, bats didn't live in here because the roof was too low and a constant traffic of tourists scared them off.
After exploring Langs Cave we came out to sit in the Amphitheatre to hopefully witness the bats coming out at dusk to feed on insects. It was 5pm at this time and the bats can come out any time in the next 45 minutes, we waited patiently and watched the bat cam. We had a bit of a rain storm which lasted all but 10 minutes. By 5:30pm the first lot of bats emerged from Deer Cave, they came out in a stream and not flying in a straight line to confuse predators, we thought that was it but they emerged in batches for the next 15 minutes, they sure put on a show! As they swooped over you could here the funny noise their wings made. We were very happy they came out for us because they don't always come out especially if its raining! It was dark by the time we started walking back the 3 kms to the headquarters and it wasn't very well lit.
The jungle noises were loud and the fireflies were out and about lighting our path for us! Back at HQ we had a late dinner at Cafe Mulu and retreated back to our longhouse and sat on the deck for a while. We had local visitors, bats were swooping over our heads and snapping up the insects around our deck lights and two lizards, one rather large, were clinging to our Longhouse walls. I went for a short walk with my camera to see if I could get any good pics of the night wildlife, there was one funny looking insect which I manage to photograph without it flying off. I didn't stray too far, after our tree top guide told us stories of giant pythons!