Yes, finally I made a trip to Mulu – the nearest UNESCO World Heritage site to home, the pride of Miri. I used to be one of the many Mirians who stay so close yet have never been there, but now I’m not! *beams* lool.
It started off with mere chat but soon, with interest from the KL-ians, things worked out into reality. The five of them – Yingying, Matu, Stuck, Justea and Tianji(you need a nickname) arrived in Miri in the morning on the 18th. We headed off for lunch and ended up wandering around in Parkson, grabbing some food from Giant and Sugarbun which they insist sounds like a bakery…sugar on a bun? :X Never occurred to me.
Our flight to Mulu was scheduled at 1.50pm but we waited quite a while before boarding started. This is the plane – slightly bigger than expected.
The flight was a bit shaky but somehow, the Milo packaged drink given made it all up. ;) And did I mention how short the flight was? Took off, look at scenery, ooohyay got milo(!), maswings survey, “we will be landing shortly”.
From the plane, Mulu looked more developed than I thought. A littleeeee disappointed lol! Would be more fun if the whole place was more ulu.
Coolest baggage collection area ever.
Outside, our tour guide (Syaz..sth? well he said just call him A) was waiting for us and other tourists staying at the same accommodation as us. He told us to get on the Hilux – there were 8 of us including him so yeah, get some fresh air at the back of the car with the luggage guys.
Mulu River Lodge is where we stayed – it’s supposed to be a dorm but there are 2 private rooms in the wooden house where the family stays so yay, those are ours!
Crossing the suspension bridge to the entrance of the National Park. Is this a trait of the national parks around here?? Lambir and Similajau are the same too if I remember correctly.
There are plenty of crawlies around which A spots much better than us. Look at this oh-so-fluffy caterpillar!!
The 3.8km walk took us to Deer Cave and Lang Cave. Lang Cave seems to serve as a get-to-know-caves cave, as you can see stalagmites, stalactites up-close and other cave structures and sights. Maybe because it was our first cave too.
Getting nearer to the caves!
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Deer Cave is more like a show cave, where we get to explore deeper into the cave and gawk at how big the cave is. It is also where Abraham Lincoln ‘resides’ hehe.
A says the cave exudes a “Jurassic Park” feel…I never watched it before but I could guess what Jurassic Park is like now. :P
The water surface was reflecting like a mirror so clearly that you’d think it’s a deep hole going down.
Seeing that time is approaching 6pm, we hurried out to the Bat Observatory area to catch the Bat Exodus. We were worried that the bats would not come out because of the rainy weather, though A pointed out that sometimes they don’t come out even if it is sunny. In the end……no bats. :C
Night was closing in fast as we walked back to the HQ. The rainfall got heavier gradually and we finally started scrambling for our ponchos and increased our walking pace.
Mee mamak for dinner.
After dinner at the HQ Cafe, we went back to the lodge and the fight for the one and only bathroom begins. The cold water was uber refreshing, making us all wide awake after shower except for Justea who drifted off pretty soon. Electricity there was to be switched off at 12 midnight though, so we went to bed at 11pm to avoid being awake in no-fan condition.
It must have been foggy the next morning because A did not come wake us up at 6am to bring us for sunrise view, which he said he would if the weather is good. I guess I was the only one waiting happily from 5.50am with the excitement dying away after 6am when I realize we probably won’t be going cause the house was dark, empty and quiet, main doors locked. Another surprise for me – since I assumed people living in rural areas wake up early at dawn. Lol.
After breakfast we departed for Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave via a boat ride along Melinau River. The long boat was a bit wobbly but the ride was fun with the breeze blowing and nature on display all around us by the riverbanks and far ahead.
The boat stopped halfway for us to visit a Penan village situated just next to the river. Penans are one of the indigenous tribes from Sarawak and are known to be nomadic, but obviously those staying in the village have settled down and are mostly working in the national park. They are also great hunters who know the jungles and animals extremely well.
Peaceful village setting.
Wooden darts for blowpipes. In real life hunting, poison darts made from the latex of a certain tree is used.
Further upstream, we reached the jetty for Wind Cave. A winding path by the rocks took us up to the entrance of Wind Cave. Yc claimed that it was windy when she came years ago but unfortunately I rate an air movement level of 0 when we went. (In contradiction, Deer Cave was rather cooling in some parts of the cave.) A highlight in Wind’s Cave would be the King’s Chamber. I have to say my picture does not do it justice – it looks much more magnificent when you stand right there and look up.
On the way to Wind Cave.
Weaving in between the rocks.
Stalagmites and stalactites joined together – must have taken ages for this formation!
Back to the jetty, we had a choice of going to Clearwater Cave on foot or by boat……A took the boat alone. The walk was quite short, but not short enough for us to miss this! Mating centipedes, eww.
Wonder what happens if someone just accidentally put a hand on the rail and touched them, ewww!
School of fish fighting for biscuit crumbs.
We had refreshments at the resting area, chatting a little with A and the Dutch couples we came with together. So they learned about the fact that non-Malays Malaysians speak English better than our national language Malay. X)
Then it was time for the climb! Claimed to have 200 steps up to the entrance of Clearwater Cave. I put myself on a mission to count the steps, thanks to either the distraction those in front and behind me were giving (or bad maths D: D: ), I counted 186 on ascent and 203 on descent. Epic fail.
Clearwater Cave turns out to be my favourite cave because it is just so pretty! For your information, Clearwater Cave system is one of the longest in the world, connecting with many other caves. What we managed to see is probably just the tip of the iceberg! I like the way the path snakes through the cave, bringing us up and down on steep stairs but having stopovers along the way for us to look around and enjoy the views.
Towards the end, we finally reach the river where you can stick a hand or foot in to feel the icy cold cave water. Didn’t bother to take pictures here because it seemed too dark anyway lol. Adventure caving is apparently doable from there, and for a split second I thought A was kidding when he said you have to climb the rocks at the side on your four limbs. It is too dangerous to swim instead since you might just bang into a rock lingering underneath the surface.
Lunch was chicken curry, aubergine and vegetables with rice. Funny how A told us we can have lunch already just after the guys hopped in the river for a cold swim.
The boat took us right to the back of our lodge, where we sat on the floor in the room again like how we wait for our turn to shower since we were dirty. We were free for the afternoon and were wondering what to do. Paku Waterfall is not appealing (A said it’s the worst he’s seen), neither is its muddy trail. The rain came and go as we ate snacks and lazed around. Only at 3 something did we get on our foot and head towards the park for the botanical trail. My absent-mindedness struck as I left my camera in my luggage and then later on left my cap at the cafe. :P The botanical trail was quite fun despite the downpour which soaked our shoes and socks. It took much longer than we thought and by the time we came out, we decided to go have dinner straightaway at the cafe just outside the park entrance. Lord of the Rings was ‘on-screen’ as the cafe had Astro on the wall with the help of a projector. But whilst we were placing our orders the channel was switched lol. Ended up watching ‘Pawn Shop’ as we ate.
Back at the lodge, we got lazy and decided to skip the Night Walk since it was raining anyway.
Hit by disappointment once more the next morning as 6am passed without no wake-up call lols. The rest, happy again. We packed up our stuff beforehand and set off for Tree Top Tower, depositing RM50 at the HQ to get the key. It is the nearest we can get in substitution of the Canopy Skywalk which was fully booked already.
My favourite picture! So crisp and vivid. Chameleon blending in well with the grass. Might not have seen it if 2 foreigners were squatting trying to capture it on camera. (I got excited and forgot that there are 3 huge chameleons next door reared by my neighbour haha).
All hot and sweaty on top of the tower, we had a test of patience waiting and trying to look for birds or other creatures in the surrounding but to no avail.
Traffic jam on our way down lol.
The beauty of leaf and sunlight combined.
Empty shell left after metamorphosis.
Almost forgot about this – it can be found literally all over the rainforest. Trap for insects perhaps.
At 11.40am, we were back on the Hilux heading to the airport. This time the girls took the fresh-air seats at the back! Nice way to bid goodbye to Mulu…