Our last trip in Malaysian Borneo! We were exited to go there because of it being famous from planet earth. We went to the airport of Kota Kinabalu and took a plane to Gunung Mulu national park. We stepped into the smallest plane we’ve been in so far and had to share it with only 5 other guests. The National Park is only reachable by plane or by boat. That made it even more exciting!
When we arrived, all the other guest stepped into this big open van to the beautiful Mulu Marriott Resort. We’ll tell more about this resort later… 😉 Ow yeah! We, on the other hand, walked in the burning sun to the entrance of the national park, searching for accommodation. We took a room in a very standard guesthouse from this old fella. We dropped our luggage and went in the park to check out what walks we would do and signed up for some guided hikes. We went back to our guesthouse, accompanied with a cool beer and sat on the porch enjoying the good life while watching the rain pooring down. It was cosy! The room wasn’t though… The lack of sleep and the smell of mold was just a little bit too much to be acceptable. The bathroom was crawling with huge ants and flying insects. But there was no time to think about the discomfort to much! We had a guided tour to Clearwater Cave and Cave of the winds waiting.
We took off in a longboat and stopped at the Penan longhouse village, next to the river. The Penan people sold some arts and crafts stuff but we were more interested in the information boards next to the market. There they explained how the Penan people, back in the days, had to leave ‘their’ forest, to make room for the official Gunung Mulu national park. They literally lived day and night in the forest and they know it by heart. It’s so hard to believe that they could survive in there. We wanted to knew a lot more about these Penan people and the reasons why they had to leave but nobody was able to explain us in English. This reminds me that I still have to google and get some more info on these Penan people.
Up to the cave of winds! After some stairs we arrived at the entrance of the cave. The cave itself was okay, not the best we’ve seen. The main chamber was impressive though and rightfully called ‘the kings chamber’. The name of the cave is depicted from the not so present natural breeze throughout the cave.
The second cave is called Clearwater cave and was more impressive. Some sunlight shone right into the cave which created a beam of light, nice! Combined with the tropical trees and dripping water this made for a picture perfect setting. In the middle of the tour you see a river with crystal-clear water, hence the name of the cave 🙂
Since the weather was perfect we decided to go to the viewing platform at deer cave. Why is there a viewing platform? Because millions of bats fly out of the cave every evening to hunt, this is the exact thing that was filmed by the BBC. So after some impersonations of sir David Attenborough and a well deserved drink (it was damn hot) we saw the first flock of bats swirl out, an absolutely stunning sight that we won’t forget anytime soon.
Anyway, these bats have to come from somewhere… And in this case they emerge from the largest single cave passage in the world, Deer cave. We visited this cave the day after and it is still hard to recall the size and vastness of this cave. Besides the enormous size of the cave the enormous mountains of bat guano (shit) was maybe even more impressive!
Next to deer cave is a much smaller but much prettier cave, Lang cave. Impressive formations and small passages made this our personal favorite of all the caves we’ve seen in the park.
Ok, done with the cave talk, Dirk’s B-day was coming up so we decided a special treat was appropriate 😉 So, since our homestay was one of the worst we had we decided to upgrade a little bit and spend a night in the Mulu Marriot Resort!! It was PERFECT! The resort was super nice, had a refreshing pool and our room was stunning. A perfect change and a already perfect birthday (but not finished yet)! We could only afford one night and we had a flight back to KK the day after so it didn’t last as long as we wanted, but we relaxed as long as we could! On the other hand we where looking forward to go back to Faloe hostel as well.
So, we flew, took an uber, arrived in the hostel and… They prepared a birthday party!! They were preparing dinner, bought beer, snacks,… Impossible to describe how it felt to be so welcome and again, THANK YOU Ryan and Sarah! The dinner was delicious, the beers cold and the people super nice. Even writing this, brings a smile upon my face. To top it all off we received an award for ‘the most returning guests’ 😀
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that besides the caves we also saw a lot of smaller animals, all absolutely impressive. A python, green lizard, spike headed lizard and a huge spider are just a selection of what we saw.
That was Mulu and KK, our final stage of Borneo. Next destination is Indonesia, a super diverse, big and sometimes challenging country.