Sarawak’s largest national park is dominated by three mountains - Mulu, Api and Benarat - and surrounded by rainforest. However its major claim to fame is one of the world’s largest limestone cave systems - at dusk over three million bats pour out of Deer Cave - it is one of the world’s great natural spectacles.
Pitcher plants, palms, gingers and an unusual ’one leaf’ plant, are also found at the entrance of certain caves. Fauna is diverse too, including deer, monkeys, giant porcupine, civets and all of Borneo’s hornbills, but visitors are sometimes surprised at the limited sightings, due to the nature of the animals and the habitat in which they are found.
Many animal species are shy or nocturnal, have excellent camouflage abilities or live high in the rainforest canopy, which is why the park has devised two excellent short walks – a night walk trail and a canopy sky walk. One of the charms of Mulu is the fact that you can study the rainforest on well-marked self-guided trails. At your own pace you can admire the trees, draped with gorgeous orchids, ferns and creepers and with insects, lizards and squirrels dashing up and down the trunks, and butterflies and dragonflies gliding by in a burst of colour. On the night walks knowledgeable guides can explain the special features of fire-flies, fluorescent fungi or show you wild animal tracks. For orchid lovers a special gazebo enables you to see a whole range of orchids at close range.
Adventure activities include caving, rafting and jungle treks. These vary from short self-guided pathways, to longer guided overnight hikes, staying in real expedition camps. To many in the caving community Mulu is a holy grail, possessing some of the largest and most spectacular caves in the world. For non-cavers, daily tours with the park guides are available to all the show caves. Visitors are not permitted to enter any of the caves without a guide. The thick rainforest means that the rivers here form the primary means of transportation and trekking routes, and you should be aware that even by equatorial standards, Mulu has a high annual rainfall with an average of five to six metres. Fortunately weather patterns in the park are reasonably consistent with mostly clear mornings and showers in the late afternoon or evening.
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