Gunung Mulu National Park is one of Nature’s most spectacular achievements and the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Sarawak’s expanding network of national parks. It is also the largest national park, covering 52,865 hectares of primary rainforest, which is criss-crossed by fast flowing rivers and clear jungle streams. Mulu is dominated by three mountains – Gunung Mulu (2,376 m), Gunung Api (1,750 m) and Gunung Benarat (1,585 m).
Yet many of Mulu’s greatest attractions lie deep below the surface. Hidden underneath the forested slopes of these mountains is one of the largest limestone cave systems in the world.
Mulu’s four Show Caves were selected for their uniqueness or sheer beauty. Besides the popularly visited Deer Caves, Lang Caves, Clearwater Caves and Lady’s Caves, a more strenuous trek leads to a weird landscape of razor-sharp rock pinnacles.
They can all be visited as day trips from the park HQ and are accessible by plankwalks and well-lit concrete paths. Strategically positioned spotlights highlight the unique features of the individual caves. A plank walk leads through the forest to Deer and Lang’s Cave whilst Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave are reached by taking a longboat up the Melinau River, or by following a 4 km nature trail. The more adventurous can do Adventure Caving.
Permits and a park guide are usually organized by tour operators. Access to Mulu was traditionally by boat, but Fockker Friendship and Twin Otter workhorse flights from Malaysia Airlines rural services are available and shorten daylong trips to 25 minutes and 40 minutes flights respectively.
The Canopy Skywalk, the world’s longest tree-based structure, in Mulu National Park allow visitors a glimpse of life in the treetops of the rainforest. 480 meters of walkway hang 20 meters above the forest floor, forming a circular route suspended between 15 trees with a separate exit tower. To keep human incursions at a sustainable level, visitor numbers to the Canopy Skywalk are carefully monitored. Tour operators need to book canopy walks well in advance, and stay within the stated hours. Up to ten hours per day is available.
At dusk, millions of bats will fly out of the caverns, a very spectacular sight.