MULU NATIONAL PARK
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Gazetted in 1974 as the largest Park in Sarawak, Mulu National Park together with Kinabalu Park were designated as Malaysia’s first World Heritage Sites in 2000.
At 4 degree North, it has plenty of rainfall (from 4.5m to 1600m per year) and sunshine (19 - 34 C). Its biodiversity includes 1,500 species of flowering plants, 1,700 mosses and liverworts, 450 ferns, 4,000 fungi, 80 species of mammals, 50 fish, 270 birds, 50 reptiles, 75 amphibians and an estimated 20,000 species of insects. (extract from Mulu World Heritage Area)
Mulu began millions of years ago under the sea where layers of sandstone, limestone and shale were formed and then lifted above the sea level, buckled and folded to form steep mountains of sandstone and limestone. Over time with heavy rain, river, changing level of underground water table and chemical reaction of mildly acidic water eroded them to form some of the most dramatic karst landscapes of pinnacles, caves, cracks, sink holes, joints, pendants, blades, passages, chambers while evaporation created stalactites, stalagmites and columns.
Among the caves dwellers are the bats and swiftlets above on the cave roof, cave racer snakes and crickets, gecko, spiders, scorpions, crabs, centipedes beetles and cochroches. Of course, among the most impressive are the 2-3 million bat exodus from Deer Caves at dusk depending on weather condition.
Outside the caves, time and patience and having a good guide will greatly increase the chance to see some of the exotic flora and fauna including single leaf plant, nepenthes, pygmy squirrel, hornbills among others.
A visit to Mulu is not complete without visiting the four show caves. A normal itinerary for a visitor on day of arrival by flight from Kuching, Miri or Kota Kinabalu is to walk the 3 km raised boardwalk and visit the Lang and Deer Caves (the largest cave passage in the world) and witnessing the bat exodus at the bat observatory at the cave entrance at sundown. On day 2, we take the 40 minutes ride by long boat to visit the 200 km long Clearwater system (the 8th longest in the world) and the charismatic Wind Caves. A short visit by boat is usually made at Batu Bungan, a Penan village and the small handicraft stalls before the caves followed by a picnic lunch and a dip in the cool refreshing water of Clearwater.
For a more intimate knowledge of Mulu National Park, it is worth staying another day. A visit to the Discovery Centre, the 1.5 km self-guided and very informative signages at the botanic trail, the treetop tower for birdwatching and the 2 hours guided night walk is a must. The more adventurous can explore Mulu Canopy Skywalk, the longest treetop canopy walkway in Malaysia, or do adventure caving at Racer Cave. Those who want more comfort at the end of each day can pamper yourself at the at the pool or spa at the 4 stars Marriot Mulu Resort & Spa while the budget conscious can choose the newly renovated chalets at Mulu Park or the backpackers hostel outside the park across the small river.