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Gunung Mulu National Park

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

Understand

History

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

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

Climate

Get in

By plane

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

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

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

To get into the park you must register at the Park HQ office and pay a daily fee of RM10 per person per day. To enter any caves you must have a Licensed Park Guide.

Get around

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

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

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

Trekking

  • 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

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

Canopy Skywalk

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

Do

  • 'Walk from Clearwater Cave to Park HQ via Moonmilk trail
  • Trekking to the Pinnacles
  • Trekking the Headhunters' Trail
  • Trekking the Summit

Buy

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

Eat

  • Cafe Mulu, Park HQ. Basic but a little pricy local eats.

Stay

Lodging

At the Park HQ [3] 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, RM40 per night.


A short distance downstream of Park HQ there is:

  • Royal Mulu Resort, [4] offers upclass lodging for visitors with many of the basic ammenities one would need.

Opposite Royal Mulu Resort across the river is Benarat Lodge, it has rooms with air-cond or ceiling fan or even dormitory with beds. The place comes with daily breakfasts. Each room ( single,twin or double beds) costs between rm120 to rm150 depending on season. Individual beds cost rm60 per person that comes with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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

Stay safe

Get out

See Get in.

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