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Mulu National Park

Mulu Travel Blog

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The Mulu National Park was amazing. Truly amazing. And *ing hot (I don't use the asterix lightly, I have never been so hot and sweaty in my entire life, and I hope very much never again to be).

We were met at the Mulu airport by our tour guide for the three days, Anwar. (the airport was so small it made Hobart airport look amazing, big, interesting and new. Yes, it was that... rustic.) Anwar was a very good guide, interesting with slots of knowledge, but also enough smarts to know what is too much talking, which was appreciated. He took us to our accomodation, Benarat Lodge. Lodge is a bit of an exageration. The van (which was so old it was mostly held together with love) stopped on the edge of the property, and A and I navigated out way through very muddy grass, past a house and to where we were stasying. The room was very basic, but clean. I've never seen a bathroom quite like this one... the shower was basically a shower head on the wall, that's it. No shower base, curtain, anything. The bathroom was the shower, which meant not keeping the loo paper in the bathroom because the whole room got wet. Electricity only ran between 6pm and 12am, so there was no way of getting air flow during the day (the window was too small), so it was about a million degrees (or probably more like 38) inside. The ceiling fan made it okay at night, as long as we were alseep before 12 (I only got about four hours sleep the first night... I still can't get used to the hot nights... 30 is just too hot to sleep with no air flow.

Anyway, on the first day we set off in the hot, hot miday sun to see the first two caves Lang cave and Deer cave. The deer cave is the largest cave passage in the world, and probably also the stinkiest, due to the 3 million bats that live (and poo) in the cave. The caves were just beautiful, and (somewhat suprisingly) very interesting. Once I've gone through the 600 photos I'll put a few up, but it might not be for a little while yet :)

The walk to get to the caves was about 3.5km, all on boardwalk through the forest. Anwar (and his German girlfriend, who was sort of visiting him, it's a bit complicated) walked with A and I, telling us all about the different plants and insects along the way. Was very interesting and learnt a lot. It was very hot walking along, I have never sweated so much in my life. Every single body part was sweating. Sounds gross, I know, but it was far worse at the time :) Still, even with sweat pouring off my body, it was a throughly enjoyable walk.

Oncve we had seen both the caves, we waited to see the bats exit the cave for hunting. They leave in huge groups of thousands, they looked quite a lot like whisps of smoke exiting the cave. Was quite something.

The second day we wetn by boat to visit one of the two resettlements of the indigenous people, the Penan. Apparently when the area was declared a world heritage area, the Penan people who traditioanlly live in the rainforest had to be relocated to outside the park boundaries. I have no idea about the politics of it all, but I'm quite sure that there is far more to this particular aspect of Malaysian history than our guide was letting on. At any rate, it was interesting to see, we visited the women's craft stalls which were quite something. The work was so intricate and delicate. Most of it used wood and naturual materials (which aren't so good for bringing back home, good old customs) but there was quite a lot of beaded things too.

We continuted up river to see the next to caves, Wind cave and Clearwater cave. The king chamber in the Wind cave was petty amazing, full of stalectites and mites in all varying shapes and sizes, A and I had fun trying to make shapes out of them :) At the Clearwater cave we spalshed our facces with the cave river, whicg, according to Anwar, will make us eternally youthful. I suppose we'll see about that ;)

The only downside about the river journey was A and I were sharing a boar with a group of possibly the most annoying group of tourists I have ever come accross. There were about 15 of them, ranging in ages from abour 14 to 40, from Taiwan A said. They were a bible study group, and were noisy, rude, pushy and kept singing puke-worthy Christian songs the whole time. We ate at the same time as them twice... well, when I say ate at the same time, our food was served at the same time, but A and I have literally almost finished eating before they had stopped their strange grace (which was really just chanting of 'amen' for half an hour). Which would have been okay if they weren't rude. Oh well. Takes all types I suppose.
(After years of walking on rope bridges that 12 year olds have built, I was pretty happy with this one :)

So, that was our Mulu trip. Since then, A has had a wisdom tooth removed (benefits of your dad being a dentist) and I've had my nails done :p Tomorrow C, A and I are going to Brunei, will be staying with C's cousin, which will be nice.

The next morning we went on the world's longest canopy skywalk. It was about 20-30m above ground, and the view was amazing, so very different from the forest floor. I had a great time taking photos, but I don't think A enjoyed it as much... It didn't look stable enough for him. Anyway, time to dash. A's family are just about to come back from church, and we're going to have lunch with his Grandma.
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photo by: jose28