Mulu National Park- Sarawak’s Natural Gem

If one would ask me which would be my favourite National Park in Sarawak? My immediate answer would be Mulu National Park.  In my opinion, Mulu National Park’s presentation and its facilities is the best in Sarawak. All national parks in Sarawak should follow its successful model of private and government sector collaboration.

The year I first visited Mulu was also the year it got listed as a World Heritage site. This was in November 2000.

What does UNESCO World Heritage Site mean?

To qualify for world heritage status a park must meet one of the four following criteria:

1. Be an outstanding example of the world’s geological history.

2. Be an outstanding representative example of on-going evolutionary processes.

3. Be of exceptional natural beauty.

4. Contain significant natural habitat for in-situ conservation of biological diversity and the protection of threatened species.

Mulu meets all four of those criteria.
Lincoln profile seen from inside Deer Cave.

Magnificent Caves 

The magnificent caves are of course the main reason to visit Mulu National Park and there are four main show caves in Mulu.

Deer Cave and its huge cave entrance which also houses some three million bats and the famous Lincoln Profile.

Just next to Deer Cave is the beautiful Lang Cave with its lovely stalactites and stalagmites formation.

Wind Cave, so named because of the cool breezes which can be felt at the narrow parts of the cave. Wind Cave, which is part of the Clearwater system, has many impressive stalactites and stalagmites which are illuminated in the Kings Chamber 

Part of the King’s Chamber in Wind Cave 

Clearwater Cave system is Asia’s longest cave network at 222 kilometres (2017) and that is still not the final figure. Future expeditions by cave experts would probably push that number further. As for the total length, we would have to just wait and see.

Must enjoy at Clearwater Cave is a dip in its cool pool.

Boats waiting for their guests to finish their tour of Clearwater Cave

Since I first visited Mulu National Park in 2000 and about a dozen more visits after that, I still am at awe on the charm of the place.  I still remember being amazed by the sheer size of the cave opening of the  Great Cave in Niah National Park, but seeing Deer Cave entrance for the first time, I was silenced by it and was even more at awe. I came to realise how great mother nature can be and how small we are compared to this creation. 

Other Smaller Things

The spectacular caves make to be the highlight when visiting Mulu National Park. Many forget that Mulu is also rich in biodiversity.

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)

Pretty Caterpillar 

There are plenty of insects to spot in Mulu especially along the trail towards Deer Cave. Stick insects and butterflies are the ones that I love. 

This butterfly inspired my painting called Kesulai Ara.

Be sure to spot out the Rajah Brooke Birdwing,  a butterfly named by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1855, after James Brooke, the Rajah of Sarawak.
Rajah Brooke Birdwing

Be sure to also spot this lantern bug along the trail to Deer Cave.

Lovely People 

One of the many reasons why I keep coming back to Mulu is that the people are very friendly. They are mainly the Berawan and the semi nomadic Penan people. 

Batu Bungan, Penan settlement also has an active arts and crafts market.

The best way to experience their hospitality is by staying at the many home stays located outside the park headquarters.  The home stay operators are trained and licensed by the Ministry of Tourism. 

Wheel Chair Friendly 

It is possible for someone that needs to use a wheel chair to go and experience part the caves here in Mulu. The trails are paved cement walk ways and some are plank walks. 

Plank walks to Deer Cave

Must Visit 

To conclude, Mulu National Park would be the number one park one must visit in Sarawak and definitely the top three to visit in Malaysia. 

The presentation of the caves, the fun – reading- not- too- technical information boards along the trails tells the story of Mulu National Park. It is fun that even kids would understand the formation of the cave systems and the ecology that resides in the caves. 

So if you are heading north of Sarawak, be sure not to miss Mulu National Park. 

Thank you for reading and if you want extra details on the above, drop me a line and I’ll get back to you soon as possible. 

Till my next Bejalai, remember to be a responsible traveller. Respect nature and respect culture.. take care and don’t forget to comment.

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