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Sarawak : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
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  Gunung Mulu National Park
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MIRI : TOURIST ATTRACTION - Gunung Mulu National Park




Given the spectacular nature of the park and its biological significance, it?s not surprising that Mulu was successfully listed as Malaysia?s second UNESCO World Heritage Site in November 2000 after Kinabalu National Park in Sabah.


Located 100km east of Miri city, the 52,865ha Gunung Mulu National Park is the largest national park in Sarawak. Encompassing incredible caves and Karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting, Mulu has an exceptional level of biological diversity. At last count, over 3,500 species of plants have been recorded, supporting a large diversity of fauna species that include deer, monkeys, giant porcupines, civets and all of Borneo?s hornbills. The source of Mulu?s great biological diversity lies in its varied topography from just 50 m above sea level near Park Headquarters to the peaks of Gunung Mulu at 2,377m and Gunung Api at 1,710m. The geology, which consists of a combination of alluvial clays, sandstone and limestone formations, further adds to the variety and specialisation of the park?s biology.


Intense rainfall, one of the heaviest in Borneo ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 mm annually, also contributes to the thriving vegetation. Staggering numbers aside, what elevates Mulu above the other garden-variety national parks, is its exceptionally well-equipped and rigorously maintained facilities. Mulu has 16 in-house park guides, well-lit timber boardwalks and painstakingly detailed signage to highlight key attractions, so that the visitors do not have to trudge anxiously through the forest?s steamy bracken with a machete to fully enjoy its stunning beauty.


Like all national parks, Mulu was established for two main purposes. One, to protect its significant natural features like the caves, the forest and the wildlife, and two, to provide an opportunity for visitors to enjoy and understand its significance. Park activities range from the more intensive adventure caving and ascent of the Pinnacles, to family-oriented activities like visiting the show caves, jungle trekking, rainforest exploration and river rafting as well as tubing.


To many in the caving community, Mulu is a holy grail. The park has been the site of numerous international caving expeditions, resulting in the mapping of over 300km of cave even this vast number is passages, but thought to be less than half of the actual thoroughfares in existence. There are four caves open to the in Gunung Mulu, each general public with its own unique characteristics. The four are Lang?s Cave, which is know for its limestone formations; the gigantic Deer Cave, said to be home to an estimated five million bats; Clearwater Cave, said to be the longest cave in Asia; and Wind Cave, famed for its unusual calcite formations.



Caves aside, one of the best ways to appreciate Mulu?s diversity is by attempting the Canopy Walk. It is said to be the longest tree-to-tree skywalk in the world. Linking 1 5 trees together via pillared platforms, and suspended 304-rn above the forest floor, the 480 - metres skywalk promises a breathtaking view of the world?s oldest rainforests and its inhabitants.



The topography from only 50m above sea level near the park headquarters to the peaks of Gunung Api (1,628m) and Gunung Mulu coupled with the wide range of soil types provide for the diverse vegetation formations. Some 17 zones have been identified with over 3,500 species of which 2,000 are flowering plants. Mixed lowland dipterocarp fores t occurs up to about 800m with 284 tree species being recorded in a 1.2ha area. Dominant at this level are the Shorea and Dryobalanops. The lower montane forests range from 800m to 1,200m. Here the dipterocarps give way to oaks and myrtles with ground herbs increasing in number. In the upper montane forests above 1,200m, oaks and chestnuts predominate with montane flowering plant families, pitcher plants, nepenthaceae, mosses and lichens at the upper levels.



The variety of fauna is no less impressive. So far 67 mammalian species have been identified along with over 260 species of bird. More than 20,000 species of invertebrates have been documented as well as 25 snake species, 75 amphibian species, 23 lizard species and over 320 fish species. This, however, is still the tip of the iceberg of the total number of estimated species.


It is thought that the Sumatran rhinoceros, the orang-utan and the native wild cattle banteng have ceased to exist within the park but four species of monkeys, tarsiers, slow loris, wild deer (three species), the bearded pig and the Malayan honey bear are still found within the park?s boundaries. Other important species include the pangolin ? Manis javanica, squirrels and the pygmy shrew, the world?s smallest mammal weighing only 2g. Bats, of course, inhabit the caves and 201 species have been named so far.


A staggering number of insect species is found in the park. So far, 458 species of ant have been identified. A large number of insects with camouflage, such as stick insects and leaf insects, are easily spotted if one looks very carefully. There are also many species of stag and rhinoceros beetles as well as cicada.

  • Gunung Mulu : World Heritage Site and sandstone outcrop

  • Gunung Api : limestone outcrop and Pinnacles Trail

  • Deer Cave

  • Clearwater Cave

  • Jungle trekking and night walks

  • Mulu canopy skywalk

  • Cave life : bats and swiftlets


  • Visit the four show caves ? Deer, Lang, Clearwater and Wind Cave

  • Watch millions of bats from the Bat Observatory

  • Make your way to the Pinnacles Summit

  • Trek along the Headhunters Trail to Limbang

  • Go up the 480m Mulu Canopy Skywalk

  • Explore the Medicine Plants Trail


Plan for a minimum of two to four days stay at the park in order to fully appreciate all that it has to offer.


Day Trips To The Show Caves

These caves have been illuminated to focus on certain special features within its dim interior.  Special paths enable visitors to move around easily and also protect the delicate geological structures from accidental damage.  They are accessible from Park Headquarters via a 3km walk through the jungle on specially constructed plank walks.


Lang's Cave

Named after the man who first introduced speleologists to the cave in 1978, it features a variety of intricately sculptured stalactites and stalagmites, delicate and transparent helictites and spectacular rock curtains.  Footprints embedded in the rocks at the entrance to the caves indicate that it was once inhabited by wild boars.


Deer Cave

As its name suggests, these cave was in days long gone, a shelter for hordes of deer.  It also served as a human burial ground.  However, it has now been taken over by millions of bats which can be seen flying out in formation in search for food. as night approaches.  You might get to witness this magnificent display of mass exodus on fine evenings.


Other inhabitants include swiftlets usually seen circling the entrance; and the earwigs, centipedes and cicadas.  Its 160m wide mouth resembles a 'colossal stone jaw' earning it the distinction of having the largest cave entrance.  Another unique feature is the 'Adam & Eve's shower', a cascade of water falling down 120m from the cave roof.


Wind Cave

Approached by way of the Melinau river, steps lead from the river bank up to the cave entrance.  A refreshing breeze greets you as you approach the cave which perhaps explains the origin of its name.  Within is the King's Chamber with its magnificent display of stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and sizes.  The Chamber is said to be haunted!


Clearwater Cave

Measuring over 100km, this acknowledged to be the longest cave in South East Asia and the 7th longest in the world.  Moss covered stalactites greet you as you approach the entrance.  Venture inside into Lady's Cave with the

stalactite resembling the Virgin Mary.  50 step lead down to underground rivers in a labyrinth of caverns and passages formed millions of years ago.  The crystal clear water is said to posses mysterious powers to restore youth!


Adventure Caving

For something more challenging than admiring the evidence of nature's intricate craftsmanship in the show caves, don protective helmets and miner's lamps and follow a trail, away from the cement paths and electric lights, down into the depths of Clearwater and Wind caves, under Gunung Api!  Crawl with the centipedes and earwigs and be prepared to come face to face to with other inhabitants of the cave floor!


The Pinnacles Of Gunung Api

Take up the challenge to view the pinnacles, located in a shallow valley 1,200m above sea level.  The adventure begins with an exciting 2 hour boat trip over rapids.  On days when water level get low, be prepared to help shove the boats over the rock strewn rapids.  A 3 - 4 hour trek through virgin forests brings you to a Park hut on the bank of the Melinau river where you stop for the night.  The next morning begins with a 4 hour climb, up 1000m via a steep path to a viewing point overlooking the pinnacles. The smooth razor edged pinnacles measure 20m wide at the base and 45m in height.  Separated by deep fissures and low bushy mountain forest, they present a spectacular sight when viewed from above.


On The Trail Of The Headhunters

The trail once taken by the legendary warriors on their head-hunting spree in days long gone, goes through the lowland forests and down mighty fast flowing rivers.  This is recommended for those with an unquenchable thirst for adventure and excitement.  Follow the headhunters trail and live out your fantasies in the rugged terrain of the Sarawak wilderness.


The Mulu Challenge

If that is still not enough, there's still the challenge of doing the Mulu summit.  Take on the mighty mountain and scale its rough sandstone and shale heights to reach the summit.  It may be lonely at the top but the view is fantastic!


Accommodation within the park is located on the edge of the rainforest by the Melinau River. The park headquarters can take in 80 people in a variety of accommodation. Rooms have facilities for making tea and coffee. The Longhouse Rooms with ensuite are suitable for two to four persons and are air-conditioned. Other rooms have ensuite and ceiling fans while the dormitory has 21 beds and shared bathing facilities.


These include mountain huts, public toilets and washrooms, a canteen, an information centre and video shows.  Applications for permits and reservation for accommodation can be made at the National Parks and Wildlife Office, Miri.


Mulu is accessible by air from Miri, Limbang or Marudi.  It is also accessible by river.  However, Visitors wishing to make the journey by river are advised to liaise with a tour agency as there is no regular boat service to Mulu.

National Parks in Malaysia - Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, East Malaysia or Borneo

MIRI : TOURIST ATTRACTION - Gunung Mulu National Park