If you’re about to plan a Malaysian Holiday, keeping the Gunung Mulu National Park on your list is definitely recommended. The Park is home to the world’s longest network of caves as well as the world’s largest underground chamber.
The extraordinary caves and rich biodiversity make it a popular tourist destination, especially for the adventure seekers and nature lovers. While the biodiversity and picturesque sceneries are sure to leave you open-mouthed, the caving adventures will get you on an adrenaline rush!
Read on for a complete guide to plan your Gunung Mulu National Park adventure.
About Gunung National Park
The Park is located in Miri Division of Sarawak, Malaysia. Covering an area of 528 sq. km, it is operated by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation. Being a favorite with nature lovers, it is one of the most studied karst topography in the world.
The park is home to varying landforms and mountain ranges made of limestone and sandstone which attract tourists all year round. Mount Mulu standing at 7,795 ft is one of the major attractions for tourists.
Gunung Mulu National Park weather has variations depending on the location inside. While temperature ranges from 23⁰C to 26⁰C in lowlands, the summit area of Mount Mulu shows up 14⁰C to 18⁰C.
The moderate temperature ranges make it a perfect vacation spot all through the year. Any time in the year is hence a good time to visit the Gunung Mulu National Park. That said, you’re going to be in a tropical rainforest. Expect rains, irrespective of the time of the year you choose.
How to get to Gunung Mulu National Park- The choices available
A small airport is available right outside the national park boundary. Most tour operators offer pick and drop facilities for visitors from the airport to the accommodation point. Flights from and to Mulu are operated from different points like Miri, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching or Bandar Seri Begawan.
For the adventure seekers out there, options like hiking along the Headhunter’s Trail are also available.
Travelers also love to try out the river route to Mulu. This requires them to travel to Kuala Baram (from Miri) by road and take up a ferry to reach Tutoh river in Mulu.
Accommodation at Gunung Mulu National Park
The Park Headquarters is the first point that you’ll reach to start your adventure holiday. Single day passes are not provided. Five-day passes are available on per person basis. And believe us, that’s just the minimum number of days that you need to explore the natural wonders within the park! Guided tours, as well as the Canopy walk, have an additional cost.
A wide range of accommodation options is available on the park’s website. Additionally, a good number of homestays managed by the locals are a wonderful choice for budget travelers. Additionally, there are 5-star resort options like the Mulu Marriott Resort and Spa for the luxury seekers too!
Travelers looking for a booking may reach out at the Mulu National Park contact number available on the official website. Seeking an early reservation is advisable. After all, the place is highly sought out by travelers around the globe.
Things to do: Gunung Mulu National Park Tours
Since you’ll be getting a five-day pass, there are a good number of items to add to your “to do list”. The magical Mulu caves are the biggest reason for most travelers to plan the trip. However, there are other fun as well as adventure activities to try out during your stay.
With the limited availability of tour guides, it is advisable to book your plans well in advance. Especially so, if you’re planning to take up adventure caving.
Here’s a quick checklist if you’re wondering about the activities to cover during your stay.
The famous Mulu Caves:
Mulu National Park is globally popular for its network of underground caves. While some of these are easy to reach, others need serious caving experience. Amongst the former (also known as the show caves) are the following:
The Clearwater and Wind Caves:
The clear water cave is massive. The estimated length is somewhere around 220 km with a small part being open to the regular untrained visitors. The entrance is framed by spiky rocks coated with bright green plants. And, you know what? The plants, scientifically known as Monophilia Pendula are not found anywhere else in the world!
The sound of rushing water comes from the subterranean river that originally shaped the cave. The striated walls and the sound of water make it an almost surreal experience. The rock formations, also known as the stalagmites are a reminder of the river’s history.
The Wind Cave, as the name suggests gets a constant passage of wind all through the year. Definitely a relief for travelers facing the hot and humid conditions outside! Unique features like the Sky Garden and the King’s Chamber make it a completely mesmerizing. The King’s Chamber is a large area that’s surrounded by columns of stalactites and stalagmites.
The Deer and Langs Caves:
Deer cave ranks number two amongst the world’s largest cave passages with a total length of 174m. It is more of a spacious walkway than a cave. It’s just that massive. The cave is home to multiple species of bats. You’ll surely hear them squeaking all around. Sunlight streams in at certain points adding a whole new dimension to the massive built of the caves.
One of the most distinguishing parts of the deer cave is the “Garden of Eden”. The rich vegetation in the area is almost like a visual oasis as compared to the stark darkness of the other areas.
Lang Cave is the smallest in the Gunung Mulu National Park. It is famous for its ornate formations that are a result of water causing limestone erosion over the years. The walls host small cave worms which produce translucent threads that hang from the roofs.
The Bat Exodus:
The bat observatory is an amphitheater-like set up for people to observe the flying mammals. An estimate of 12 species live in the deer caves with a total population of around 4.5 million. Whooping!
Rainy days are however not the best time to plan for a bat exodus visit. Bats do not venture out when the heavens decide to open up. However, on a clear day, thousands of bats can be spotted spiraling the skies.
For travelers with prior caving experience, a whole new magical world of adventure caving is available for exploring. These include the Turtle Cave, the Lagang Cave, Racer Cave, Stone Horse Cave, and the Sarawak Chamber.
Trekking activities include night walks and other trail walks during the day. The night walk is more or less limited to a circular trail around the park. You can expect a wide variety of fauna ranging from frogs to insects, to greet you during your trek.
Other trekking trips include crossing the Eden River on foot and trekking all the way uphill. With picturesque waterfalls on the way, this is definitely going to be one of the most memorable parts of your journey.
If heights do not turn your belly, this one is definitely for you. The Mulu Skywalk is a perfect mix of fear, excitement, and adrenaline. Being one of the longest canopy walks on the planet, it is made of 16 hanging bridges. The height from the ground is 25 meters which makes up for the name “Skywalk”.
It is also a great spot for wildlife spotting. From monkeys to birds, snakes, and lizards, the forest has it all.
A short walk along the jungle boardwalk can get you to the canopy skywalk. Book this activity in advance and it could be your picture perfect moment amongst some of the most gigantic trees on the planet! Get on top and see the rainforest stretch for miles around you.
Mount Mulu Summit Trek
The Mount Mulu Summit Trek is not for everyone. Plan carefully. The trek involves a 4-day hike with overnight stoppages. As you climb higher, the path becomes almost vertical and the temperature shows a sudden drop. The uphill slog needs a high level of fitness but is absolutely rewarding for those who manage to take the challenge.
Batu Bungan Market
If you’re looking for a holiday memento to take back for your friends and family, the Batu Bungan Market is just the place for you. Traditional handicrafts like woven baskets, pieces of jewelry, etc are lovingly laid out by Penan people.
Climbing the Mulu Pinnacles is a top-level adventure. The giant rock formations are great for those experienced in mountain climbing. The steep structures have a 90 degree upward ascend which can be extremely dangerous.
Things you would need to bring to Mulu National Park
And finally coming down to the trip preparation part. In addition to your activity based stuff (like trekking equipment, etc), following is a quick checklist of some of the basic stuff that you’d need to pack:
- Lightweight cotton clothing- Since sudden downpours are common in this part of the world, look for something that’s quick to dry.
- Socks- You’re in the rainforest. Leeches are your co-travelers while you’re in there. Socks that can be pulled over your trousers are a great help here.
- Raincoat- Rain showers are a frequent occurrence all through the day. Carrying a raincoat is hence advisable.
- Torch: Nightwalks are an amazing experience when visiting the Gunung Mulu National Park. Make sure to pack torches or even better, a head torch to make through the forest when its dark. Torches are a must for those planning on adventure caving during their stay.
- Trekking shoes: The right kind of shoes can make all the difference when you’re on a trekking adventure.
- Insect repellent: A good application of insect repellent will definitely save you some mosquito bites.
- First Aid Kit- It doesn’t harm to stay protected. Keep a small first aid kit in your bag all the time.
- Water Bottle- Treks can be long without as many stops as you would perhaps like. Carrying your own reusable water bottle is a good idea. Additionally, it is also a great way to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Centre from the ill effects of plastic.
- Cash- Mulu does not have ATMs or Banks. Carrying sufficient cash everywhere you go is hence advisable.
Gunung Mulu National Park tour is your answer to a fun-filled adventure holiday in Malaysia. While the aforementioned information will help you plan your trip, the fun really starts when you get there! The experience is one of a kind. The absolutely exotic scenery along with the magnificent caving experiences are unlike any in the world. GET PACKING!