Saturday, 12 October 2013

Visiting the Gunung Mulu National Park, part 1, the caves

Wauw. I'm going to apologise in advance for all the superlatives I'm going to use for this post! We just spent the most amazing three days at the Gunung Mulu National Park. It's Unesco World Heritage Site and rightly so. The area is just full of caves. In the middle of the rain forest. Wauw. One beautiful cave after the other, all so pretty it's impossible to pick the best.

It's not often we treat ourselves to land excursions away from Sophia, mostly also because there hasn't been any marinas to leave her in until here in Malaysia. We have also spent half a month's budget in just three days, but it has definitely been worth it. Visiting Borneo is not complete without visiting the park and I'd recommend it to anyone. It's easy to get to the caves via broad walks and the tourist caves have stairs, walkways and lights and you must go with a guide. So in a way it's a bit commercial, but it's far from crowded, and coming from Western countries, it's a sweet deal and still a good adventure. It's also possible to do caving expeditions to caves without the lights and steps, but we didn't do that. I was perfectly happy just to see the show caves, and the light sure helps with that.

An extra bonus was the rain forest. Just walking along the broad walk on the way to caves, we'd see tons of animals, mostly insects, but they are cool and very exotic too! The animals we have seen include: stick insects in all forms, shapes and sizes, millipedes and the likes, a ton of spiders, frogs, heaps of geckos, millions (literally) of bats, birds, dwarf squirrels, two snakes, porcupine, cave critter, one cat (the name started with s) and many more.

I took so many photos and there are so many nice one to show, so therefore I'll split this post in two, this one about the caves, and another one about the animals and the rainforest. I will also post more photos on facebook as I couldn't quite limit myself to just the blog.
Lang's cave was the first cave we visited, one of the smaller ones, but it is really beautiful
Lang's Cave beautiful limestone formations
The top of the entrance to Deer cave is visible. Deer cave is one of the biggest caves in the world, over 2 km long and 174 m high. It is home to 2-3 million bats, 12 different species, and most of them come out at dusk, flying in a swirling pattern, see the photo in part 2 post
Deer Cave, see the broad walk at the bottom for size. The smooth 'dirt' at the bottom right is guano, bat droppings. The bats were hanging at large cluster in the ceiling
Looking back to the entrance of Deer Cave. There are people on the steps and broad walk
Truly massive Deer Cave
Wind Cave, another smaller cave, but also very pretty
At the entrance of Clearwater Cave
Beautiful erosion by the clearwater river
Clearwater Cave is also pretty huge
Yet we only saw a small part of the whole system (red circle), it's over 200 km long!
Lagang Cave was cool because we saw lots of cave critters and a racer snake plus it also had beautiful formations

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