Monday, 8 July 2013

Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak

After rotting at home for the first few days of the holidays, I decided to go somewhere and make the best of my short holidays.

Out of all the various destinations, I had to pick one that was adventurous and interesting, not only for me but also for my sister and parents. So that canceled any outdoor adventures leaving only those family vacation suitable places like maybe the zoo or Disneyland.     

Then out of the blue, my mum suggested that we go to Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak. That got my curiosity and after a quick search online, Gunung Mulu National Park had my attention. Gunung Mulu National park offers a wide range of activities ranging from adventure caving to conquering the pinnacles. So Gunung Mulu National Park it is!




This decision was made on Tuesday night and we planned to leave on Thursday morning. Very little time and so much to do. A rough itinerary was quickly planned and the flight tickets and lodging were secured that night itself. 

I'm not going to bore you to death with every detail of this trip. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll list the highlights of this trip starting from the most exciting. Then just before I end, I'll tell you where to stay and how to get to Mulu National park if you are planning a trip. Just read on if you intend to see those details.

So at the top of my list would be adventure caving. There are 3 levels of adventure caving: Beginner, Intermediate and Advance. I wanted to do the Advance but one of the requirements was that we'll have to complete at least one Intermediate Adventure Caving session. So we did the Racer Cave Adventure Caving which was at Intermediate level. The "we" includes my sister and me. 
  



She was going: "Why couldn't we choose the beginner one, this is my first time!" But in the end, she proved to be an exceptionally good climber, overcoming all the obstacles thrown at her. 



 I will show you how Racer Cave looks like: just close your eyes really tightly and now look around you with your eyes still closed. That was more or less what I saw....


Nah I'm joking, the interior of the cave was beautifully dark but no good photos as it was really, really dark.

We had to climb and crawl and squeeze to get to the end and back. Challenging and fun.










The wildlife in the cave is pretty interesting too. I saw one racer snake. The cave is called Racer Cave because of the abundant presence of racer snakes.



Many spiders.



And bats. What cave would be complete without bats?





Next on my list would be the Bat Exodus.

 The flight of 3 million bats out from their cave at dusk in search of food. The way they fly out is very unique. First they'll circle at the mouth of the cave electing their leader.

Not sure how their election happens but I'm sure magic blackouts have no effect here as they are continuously enveloped in darkness.

Once the leader is chosen, the leader will then lead a wave/pack of bats out into the night. Flying over 100km and eating as much as 15 tons of bugs.




It is a sight to behold. A trip to Gunung Mulu National Park isn't complete without seeing the Bat Exodus.



And the last but definitely not the least on my list, the tours to the caves: Deer Cave, Lang Cave, Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave. 


Clearwater cave

I witnessed the majesty of the caves and learned a lot about the many formations in the caves. Pretty interesting I would say.

Out of all the photos taken on this trip, I find this photo the most special:



A photo of a Penan native woman. Her face filled with a maze of wrinkles accumulated after years and years of hardship in the jungle. Her eyes sad and forlorn starring into your very soul. I wonder what her life story is?


Another nice photo is a photo of a caged wild pig in the native village. It seemed resigned, accepting its fate to be food for men. With sad eyes and a turned-up nose posing for a last photo before sacrificing itself to satisfy the tummies of a lucky family.






Ooops! Wrong picture (there are similarities though :P). Here is the sad wild boar. 






Well, I end my story of Gunung Mulu National Park here. 

Read on if you want to know the more technical details of this trip like where to stay and how to get there.





If you are planning to go to Mulu National Park but don't know how to get there and where to stay, allow me the pleasure of enlightening you. The fastest way to get there is obviously by flight. From Kuala Lumpur you would have to get to Miri, Sarawak then from there you get another flight to Mulu, Sarawak.  




I would recommend Malindo Airlines to get to Miri from Kuala Lumpur. Super cheap even though I booked the tickets last minute. It cost us RM109 including baggage allowance, a meal and tax. It even had in-flight entertainment and more spacious seats.

Only one airline flies from Miri to Mulu, MASwings. This half an hour journey cost THE MOST! The flight ticket itself was cheap but the tax.... Bloody corrup-taib-tion. It cost us around RM400 per person for this half an hour flight from Miri to Mulu.

The airplane they used was interesting though. Haven't seen an air plane with its propellers outside.








The basic layout of the whole Mulu is something like this:



Upon arriving at the airport, you can walk from the airport to the park. Not too far a distance. Transport is provided for RM 5 per person though.

I would recommend staying in either the Mulu National Park itself or at River lodge since it is just next to the park, making things very easy.

 The river lodge is dormitory style: one big room with 30 beds. 



For RM 35 a night, I'd say it is not too bad, with clean toilets and beds. They provide meals too. There is a restaurant right next to River Lodge if you don't feel like eating at the lodge.

There are two choices when staying at Mulu National park: dormitory or bungalow. Did not stay there so I can't say much but it looks clean and provides the basic necessities.

No tour agency is needed. You can just go to the Mulu National Park, get your park ticket then choose what activities you wanna do. The guides are really friendly and will be more than willing to help plan your itinerary for your stay.

I hope this information helps a little. 

4 comments:

  1. You make me wanna visit this place very much. Thanks for the info and sharing ^^

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  3. HI CAN YOU LET ME KNOW THE CONTACT OF THE MULU CAVE ACCOMMODATION YOU WERE STAYING? i AM GOING THERE ON 7TH FEB WITH MY FAMILY 4 OF US. THANK YOU LIZA 0123350079

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