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Gunung Mulu National Park

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Southeast Asia : Malaysia : Sarawak : Gunung Mulu National Park
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Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park Banner.jpg

Gunung Mulu National Park (Taman Negara Gunung Mulu, [1]) is in Sarawak on the island Borneo, near the border with Brunei.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Archaeological evidence from excavations in Cave of the Winds indicate that the cave was used for burial between 1500 and 3000 years ago. In 1977-78 the Royal Geographical Society/Sarawak Government organized a major expedition and survey of the area. An account of the expedition results, environment and biota was published in July 1982 in The Sarawak Museum Journal (Vol.XXX No 51, Special Issue No.2). In 2000 UNESCO inscribed Gunung Mulu National Park on the World Heritage List. Today it is one of Sarawak's most popular travel destinations.

Landscape[edit]

Named after the 2,377m Mount Mulu (Gunung Mulu), the park is famed for its limestone karst formations both above ground and underground. The massive cave systems, which contain the 12 million cubic meter Sarawak Chamber (the world's largest), are still in the process of being mapped. Clearwater Cave at 151 km (Feb 2007) is the 10th longest cave in the world.
The pinnacles of Mulu

The limestones belong to the Melinau Limestone Formation and are estimated to be 4000 to 5000m thick. In the south-east of Mulu Park sandstones are dominant. The hightest relief in the region (Gunung Mulu) is located in these sandstones. Mulu's landforms are outstanding examples of erosional processes on both of these rock types (limestones and sandstones). Among the most remarkable karst features are the world's finest example of a karst collapse (The Garden of Eden) and the sharp pointed bladed limestone Pinnacles, some of which are 45m high on the northern end of Gunung Api. There are also numerous examples of cone karst and tower karst. Another interesting feature of the landscape is the drainage through deeply incised gorges (Sungai Melinau at Melinau Gorge and Sungai Medalam to the north) in the limestones.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Climate[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

If you are staying at any homestays or within the park... Do not take the 5RM taxi ride, it is under one kilometer away. You can walk to the park junction road in 5 minutes and then it is another 500M to the park entrance. Only take the ride if you are staying at Mulu Resort as it is another 1.5KM down the road.


Gunung Mulu National Park has a small airport (code: MZV) which actually lies just outside the national park boundary. Most tour operators pick up passengers from the airport and bring them to their respective accommodations. Independent travellers can either thumb a lift from these operators or take a boat ride to Park Headquarters.

MASWings [2], took over the rural air services links, which includes flights in and out of Mulu from Fly Asian Xpress (FAX)], on October 1, 2007.

  • To/from Miri: Twice daily flights, leaving Miri at 09:20 and 14:35 and leaving Mulu at 10:10 and 15:25. Flights cost RM84 one way before taxes and surcharges and journey time is about 30 minutes. No advance purchase discount. There are also two Twin Otter flights per week between Miri and Mulu, leaving on Wednesdays and Sundays. Fare is RM69 one way before taxes and surcharges and journey time is 35 minutes.
  • To/from Kota Kinabalu: MASWings runs one flight daily between Kota Kinabalu and Mulu via Miri and direct.

Note that flights in and out of Mulu are often delayed or cancelled because visibility is often affected by the weather. Plan connections to and from Mulu accordingly.

From Airport to Mulu Park HQ, either take minivan (cost RM 5-6 per person each way) or walk for 1.5km. Directions are signposted.

By land[edit]

This option is certainly for the more adventurous. In fact, by land is a bit of a misnomer because this option usually requires a combination of going by road, boats and maybe even some hiking.

  • To/From Miri: You need to go by road to Kuala Baram along the Miri-Brunei border road (see Miri page for bus connections), then taking a boat up the Baram River to Marudi. Here, you have to take a series of boats up the Tutoh River to reach Gunung Mulu National Park. The Miri-Marudi leg can also be cover by plane. See Miri page for flight details.
  • To/From Limbang: This option basically requires you to hike the Headhunter's Trail. See details of the trek under the "Do" section below. There are no longer flights between Mulu and Limbang.

By river[edit]

It is possible to reach Mulu by river. From Miri travel by road to Kuala Baram. From there take scheduled river ferry to Marudi. From Marudi take river ferry to Long Terawan (does not operate daily). From Long Terawan charter a long boat to travel up the Tutoh river to Mulu. The whole journey can take from one to several days depending on the connections.

Fees/Permits[edit]

To get into the park you must register at the Park HQ office and buy the five-day-pass for 30 RM per person. To enter any caves you must have a Licensed Park Guide or join a guided group (fees starting from 20RM p.P.).

Get around[edit]

There is only one road in Mulu. It runs from Royal Mulu Resort to the settlement of Batu Bungan, passing Mulu airport (approx 5km). There are very few vehicles. To get around you can travel by longboat on the Melinau river which runs along the northern boundary of the park, and on the Tutoh river into which the Melinau flows. The park maintains a network of trails to the key sites. The most frequently used trails are plankwalks. Other trails are cemented, or improved with gravels. Some trails (Mulu summit trail) are wild and a guide is needed just to find them.

It is common to hire a guide during your stay in the park. Guides will take care of transportation, accommodation, food and guide you through the jungle. It's strongly recommended to use only Licensed Park Guides. It's for your safety and security. Upon payment you shall receive invoice from the guide all included listing the services.

See[edit]

Most visitors come to Mulu for the caves, but there are also good jungle and mountain trekking options in the area. Guides are obligatory for all cave visits and most treks.

Caves[edit]

  • Clearwater and Wind Caves
  • Turtle Cave
  • Deer and Langs Caves
  • The Garden of Eden

Trekking[edit]

  • Paku Waterfall
  • Camp 5 and The Pinnacles
  • The Summit. A challenging 4-day, 3-night climb to the top of Mt. Mulu itself.

Adventure Caving[edit]

  • Racer Cave
  • Lagang Cave
  • Clearwater Connection
  • Stone Horse Cave
  • Sarawak Chamber

Canopy Skywalk[edit]

With its 480m of elevated walkway, Mulu's Canopy Skywalk is the world's longest tree based canopy walk.

Do[edit]

Most activities can be booked through Park HQ at a fraction of the cost; call ahead or email to ensure there is availability but you will love the quality of guide, as well as the price! We completed 6 days of activities for the same cost as a 4 day hike through other adventure companies.

  • Walk from Clearwater Cave to Park HQ via Moonmilk trail
  • Adventure caving

- You must qualify on an intermediate cave before you can do the advanced Clearwater connection (awesome activity, do it if you can). The best intermediate cave is Racer as it gives you an idea of the type of activity in Clearwater connection; a few squeezes, lots of mud and ropes to haul yourself up along the terrain.

  • Trekking to the Pinnacles

- This trek is incredible. You start on day 1 taking a boat up the river (if the river is low you will have to get out and push, wear sandals that can get wet but also stay on your feet- no flip flops) and then a 9 km walk (mostly flat) through the jungle to Camp 5. Be aware that after it rains there are tiny leeches on the leaves, wear long pants. day 2 is the full hike up the PIannacles, with a 80-90% incline; doable but challenging, bring lots of water with you. The hike down is more challenging than up but the ladders and ropes are all in great condition and the guide is well trained.

- Overnight in camp 5 is very rustic. The beds are just foam mattresses on a long wooden board, open to the air with partial walls (when they offer you a mosquito net, take it with you from park HQ) and with limited electricity (bring a headlamp). Quite relaxing to stay in and hear the jungle as you fall asleep.

- If you book through the Park HQ you will need to hike in your own food. Supplies are extremely limited in town and it is advisable to bring your own food from Kuching, Miri or KK (less expensive and more selection). The facilities are basic with hot water, kettles and burners; keep this in mind when choosing food.

  • Trekking the Headhunters' Trail
  • Trekking the Summit
  • Night Walk spotting Insects and other night creatures.

- limited creatures found with the exception of stick bugs... lots of those. A nice stroll along the boardwalks and cheap to do.

  • Watch the nightly bat exodus from Deer Cave.

Buy[edit]

The Penan community of Batu Bungan sell handicrafts (beads, rottan and basketware) some of which (but not all) they make themselves.

Eat[edit]

  • Cafe Mulu, Park HQ. Basic but a little pricy local eats.
  • D'Cave Homestay, halfway between airport and Park HQ. Offers lunch/dinner. There is no menu, just request what you like to eat and how you like it done. Remember that ingredients availability is limited. Price around RM 12 for rice, meat and vegetable. Bring a torchlight if going there at night. Homemade rice wine, tuak available at times.
  • There are a few basic pubs/restaurant outside the park across the bridge all in close proximity that open till late.

Stay[edit]

Lodging[edit]

It is SOOOO easy to stay outside the park at Mulu. All guesthouses and homestays are within 2km walking distance and offer camping from RM5 and dorms from RM15. This option is not advertised or promoted by the Park since the management of the Park and its accommodation is privately owned.

D'Cave Homestay ☎ +60128729752 (beckhamjunior40@yahoo.com). 10 min walk from HQ. . the husband is head of security for the park. House has very friendly cats. They also sell basic groceries at prices cheaper and offers cheap (by Mulu's standard) lunch/dinner as well (limited choice, based on ingredients available)! They have 10 dormitory beds for RM35 each and 1-2 private room for around RM70 each, all includes breakfast.There are 2 toilets and 2 shower room outside the compound.

Mulu Village ☎ +60136363851, +60177434763, muluvillage@gmail.com [3] Opposite Marriott Hotel. Bright and clean with toilet attached to each room. Cafeteria and mini market around the corner. 15 mins walk to hot spring and 10 mins climb to a nearby hill for an amazing view. A place full of histories and stories as this where Mulu begins. Prices is RM50 per person with breakfast for a private room with toilet.(no dormitory). Free use of bicycle for guest to explore Mulu outside the park. Super good deal as one can see places that is not written in the guide book.

Mulu River Lodge ☎ +60128504431. Dormitory bed for RM45 include breakfast. Just outside the Park across the bridge. 2 min walk to Park HQ. cater mostly to groups and expect to have crowds.

Mulu Homestay☎ +60128755371. RM15. Near Mulu River Lodge. 2 min walk to Park HQ. Do note that the water for shower comes from the river. Cheapest accommodation in Mulu.


At the Park HQ [4] there is lodging for visitors in several categories:

  • Longhouse Rooms, with air-conditioner and en-suite bathroom, from RM180 twin share.
  • Rainforest Rooms, with fans and en-suite bathroom, from RM110 twin share.
  • Dormitory, 21 beds with fan and shared bathroom, RM55 per night.


A short distance downstream of Park HQ there is:

  • Royal Mulu Resort, [5] offers upclass lodging for visitors with many of the basic ammenities one would need.

Opposite Royal Mulu Resort across the river is:

  • Benarat Lodge, [6] Stay at Benarat Lodge or Benarat Inn as the lodge provides you with full board and lodging for merely Rm150.00 per pax per night. This includes your meals at Sungai Pala Cafe or packed lunch according to your itinerary. Benarat Lodge/Benarat Inn :RM180 per night ( Room + breakfast for 2). You may inquire at: cutiborneo@yahoo.com

Just outside the Park, near the Park HQ, the third group of houses along the river has beds for only RM20 per night. Very basic but if you are on a tight budget it is much cheaper than the resort.

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

See Get in.

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