Gunung Mulu National Park is a UNESCO-listed Malaysian national park on the island of Borneo. This incredible place includes caves, equatorial rainforests, and karst formations. It is particularly famous for its caves and the (cheap) expeditions to explore them. The cave systems are some of the largest in the world.
One can explore the caves by both foot and boat and watching the incredible bat exodus from the caves is a must. Over in the United States, if one is passing through Colorado, then visiting the incredible Cave of Winds Mountain Park is also a must.
About Gunung Mulu National Park
The only ways to get into this national park are by wings, water, or walking! If one chooses to fly in, one will get a unique bird's eye view of the vast tropical river systems that weave their way through the landscapes.
On visiting the Gunung Mulu National Park, one will be taken back by the massive limestone formations that formed deep under the sea some 60 million years ago. These formations were uplifted to form the landscapes of the national park that people come from far and wide to see today.
As these landscapes are made of limestone, and as limestone dissolves in water (and of course, there is no shortage of water in the rainforest), they have given birth to some of the largest caves in the world.
- Largest Caves: The National Park has Some of The Largest Cave Systems In The World
- Oldest Rainforests: Some Of the Oldest At Around 140 Million Years
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The rainforests of Borneo boast some of the oldest rainforests on earth and are believed to date back as much as 140 million years. Here one will get to understand the meaning of being pristine. There are (almost) no roads so one will need to get around one will need to either go by longboats or go on one's own feet.
- Transportation: Mostly By Foot or By Long Boat
There is a range of accommodation options within the park including air-conditioned bungalows through to shared hostel facilities.
One of the great attractions here is the caves. Two of the show caves that are open to the public are Deer Cave and Clearwater Cave.
Deer Cave Tour
When coming on this cave tour of Deer Cave, one is advised to bring a raincoat, a flashlight, non-slip shoes, cash, and insect repellent.
The caves one finds here are among the largest in the world. One will see one of the world's largest cave passages that are also home to over 3 million Wrinkle-Lipped Bats. Many swiftlets also roost in Deer Cave and the cave ceilings provide a safe haven.
- Wrinkle Lipped Bats: Over 3 Millon
- Cave Ceiling: Over 100 Meters or 300 Feet High In Some Places
One will be dazzled by the sheer size of this limestone passage and its ancient riverbed. One will see unique showerhead formations spouting columns of water 30 meters (90 feet) into the riverbed below.
Returning back through the cave the same way one will also visit Lang Cave. It is full of wonderful limestone shawls, stalactites, and stalagmites and as the cave is smaller it will be much easier to see the many bats as well as the shimmering webs of threadworm larvae that call the cavern home.
The tour is time to coincide with the bat exodus that starts any time after 5.00 pm.
- Admission: MYR 35.00 ($8.50) (Included guide Fee)
- Duration: 3 Hours Plus Bat Exodus
- Start Times: 2 pm / 2.30 pm Daily Tours
- Total Distance: 9 Km or 5.5 Miles
Explore Clearwater Cave
Another of the national park's show caves is Clearwater Cave. Come here in the morning for a boat ride into the bowels of the earth.
The boat ride begins outside of the cave. Hop on the longboat and cruise up the Melinau river and visit a Penan longhouse and market for the first stop.
The second stop will be at the Cave of the Winds. Here one will need to negotiate a long ramp and a few stairs.
The third stop is at Clearwater, is where the subterranean river emerges from the cliff face. Walk the 200 stairs and enter the cave and marvel at the sights within - like the Monophila Pendula that is endemic to Mulu.
One will see just how large cave systems can get. Clearwater is one of the largest cave systems in the world and measures over 220 km or 136 miles in length.
While one is not permitted to swim in the cave, one can cool down in the natural crystal-clear waters by the picnic deck. One should plan for this trip, there is no food or beverages for sale, so one is recommended to bring one's own.
- Admission: MYR 67.00 ($16.00) (Includes Guide and Longboat Fees)
- Duration: 4 Hours - Daily Tours
- Start Times: 8.45 am / 9:15 am
If one falls in love with caves that much, then consider a luxury overnight stay in an Ozark cave in Arkansas.