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Review of Mulu Caves

Mulu Caves
Ranked #1 of 37 things to do in Miri
Attraction details
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I was in Mulu last year for a personal vacation trip as this is one of my state's highly regarded tourism destination. I was really amazed by the beauty of the limestones formation and exotic rainforest surrounding the park. Definitely a gem in Sarawak and wish that it can retain it's charm without overcrowding scene.

4  Thank alex y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"clearwater cave"
in 32 reviews
"bat exodus"
in 27 reviews
"lang cave"
in 19 reviews
"canopy walk"
in 14 reviews
"adventure caving"
in 11 reviews
"clear water"
in 9 reviews
"national park"
in 18 reviews
"night walk"
in 6 reviews
"underground river"
in 4 reviews
"picnic area"
in 5 reviews
"rest area"
in 2 reviews
"afternoon tour"
in 2 reviews
"spectacular sight"
in 2 reviews
"would strongly recommend this place"
in 2 reviews
"spent three days"
in 2 reviews
"no electricity"
in 2 reviews
"park cafe"
in 2 reviews

2 - 6 of 216 reviews

Reviewed 8 June 2018

I am writing this long review to – hopefully – inform others who are planning to visit this amazing area so that they be better-informed, as information on the Internet can be lacking in details sometimes. I am also not giving away too much detail of the walks, so there is no spoiler. Just want to premise this review by stating that in the days we were there, the weather was sunny with just a couple of hours of rain, none of which were during the times we went for our walks. It is also based on my experience, and I cannot be sure if the same is applicable to everyone on the same trips. Lastly, for reference, do note that my fitness level is below average to that of a typical Singaporean man my age, which is in the mid-40s. While I do have experience with hikes, I do not do them regularly.

Our planned itinerary:
Day 1: Mulu Heritage Centre (free); Botanical Trail (free); Night Walk (guided)
Day 2: Wind and Clearwater Caves (guided; a.m.); Lang & Deer Caves (guided; p.m.)
Day 3: Long Langsat River Walk (guided; a.m.); Canopy Walk (guided; p.m.)

Before the trip, I went online to do research on the area as well as the various tours offered. I decided to book the tours with the Park HQ. Hence, I emailed them with our details and the tours that I was interested in. I did this to ensure that the tours I wanted were not overbooked. I received a reply within the same day, confirming the bookings.

Day 1
We arrived at Mulu in the morning. After checking-in and taking a break, we took a hotel shuttle to Park HQ. There was quite a number of tourists at the Park HQ, but we were quickly served by an available staff. We settled the payment for the Park entry pass as well as the tours that we booked; efficiently well-served by the polite Park staff.

We then visited the Heritage Centre. Informative, pretty displays of the information about karst landscapes, rainforests, and Mulu in particular. Information that you would have known if you were into these things; but, otherwise, a good introduction if you are new to them.

Next door to it is the café; more on this later. Then there is the Mulu Gallery (i.e., gift shop). Some souvenirs and essentials can be found here. What is probably much needed are the rubber non-slip shoes that were selling for RM15. They are needed for the walks.

We then went on our own Botanical Walk. It is an easy walk on raised wooden platforms, with clear signs leading the way, near the Park HQ. It was good for an introduction around the area and the type of vegetation to expect as well as exposure to the heat and humidity. The walk took about 1.5 hours, leisurely paced.

In the evening, we went back to the Park HQ for the Night Walk. We met with a guide who brought us on the raised wooden platforms near the Park HQ, but on a different route. He showed us many insects, arachnids, and amphibians, raising our awareness to the different sounds of the forest. Although occurring in the dark, it was an easy walk. The guide did mention the possibility of seeing mammals like the civet cat or slow loris; however, we did not get to see any of those.

Day 2
This was the day of 4 cave visits. It began with a very pleasurable boat ride along the Sungei Melinau from the Park HQ to Batu Bangan, a Penan settlement. There were some handicrafts with pretty motifs on sale as well as a view (from the outside) of modern longhouses. There is no jetty to embark and disembark, requiring stepping into the river; hence, the rubber shoes bought at Day 1 comes into play.

Another short boat ride later, we arrived at a floating platform along the banks. This begins the climb up to Wind Cave. It is an easy ascent and a good introductory cave to look at the typical features of the cave, with an easy walk.

After the descent, we were given a choice to take a 2-minute boat ride to the next stop or a 10-minute walk along wooden platforms. I chose the former. Either choice leads us to a rest area: the Clearwater Cave Picnic Area. Other people on the tour who chose to walk seemed to arrive with ease and thus, I am guessing the walk was not too difficult. The rest area was a pleasant sheltered area with great views of the river and surrounding cliffs and vegetation.

The next cave was the Clearwater Cave. To access it, we needed to climb a relatively steep 200-step stairs. It took some effort for me but I did manage it in about 10 minutes. The walk inside this cave was longer, with more to see. The walk was easy for the most parts, with some steps to climb, but nothing as strenuous as when accessing the cave. We descended the same way we ascended.

After descent, we were given the choice of swimming at the waters at the Picnic Area or to catch the boat ride back to the Park HQ. We went back to the Park HQ and had lunch at the Park Café, while waiting for the noon walks to begin. Food portions were huge and made for a satisfactory meal.

The afternoon walks began at the Park HQ. We then followed the wooden platforms to take a longish walk to Lang Cave. We began covering the same areas walked on earlier trips but also got to areas not covered before, being further along the way. The walk, while long, was easy and we got to Lang Cave. An easy walk was had through Lang Cave, with interesting limestone features.

From Lang Cave, it was a short walk to Deer Cave. At the entrance of Deer Cave is a postbox; so if it so interests you, come with a postcard (with stamp affixed) to drop off here! Deer Cave is huge (to put it mildly) and hence, a much longer walk. While the walk is easy, the pong from the guano can be a tad overpowering. Yet, this was totally worth it as some of the most iconic features in Mulu are found here.

At the end of this trip, we sat at a nicely set-up rest area and watch the bat exodus - an amazingly stunning and humbling view.

Four caves so far within a day, and all is good. Each cave was sufficiently distinct that I enjoyed each for their own beauty, without being repetitive.

Day 3
The day began at the Park HQ. We were told that we might not be able to go on the Long Langsat River Walk that we wanted to, due to a fallen tree. Instead, the staff suggested an alternative. Thinking that it would be the same, we agreed.

We were put on a boat, but this time, we sailed down Sungei Melinau and into the bigger – and a bit rougher – Sungei Tutoh. A pleasant hour-long boat ride and we were brought to Long Iman, another Penan settlement. Pretty similar to the one we visited yesterday, but relatively bigger. We were told the same about the river walk and that, instead, we will take a walk to a waterfall. Our guide came for us a while later; he spoke no English and I almost no Malay.

He began the walk by offering us walking poles, which he cut from the trees on the spot. That should have been a clue to what we were getting ourselves into. This became, by far, the most difficult, strenuous, tiring, and trying walk we undertook on this trip. While there was a path, it was a jungle track on hilly, uneven terrain, with overgrown thorny vegetation along it, crossing slippery logs and into muddy calf-high streams, under the blazing sun and accompanied by numerous insects. The Park HQ staff said it would take an hour; the local guide said 40 minutes; given how unfit I am, it took nearly 90 minutes.

We ended at a waterfall, the Ba’Desai waterfall. While it was not terribly impressive, it was a pretty sight, and relatively untouched, rarely visited, and very serene. After splashing in there for about 15 minutes, it was time for the same arduous walk back along the same way, except that now, closer to noon, it was hotter than before.

This hike will be good if you are into challenging walks. I was not; I wanted a walk in a park to the waterfall … I ended up mud-encrusted, sunburnt, scratched, bitten, and totally exhausted. I was proud that we did it, but it was not something I had planned for or expected. We were so exhausted from this walk that we gave up on our planned afternoon walk, and slept it off in the resort instead.

In all, we had a lot of fun in all the walks that we did while there. While the waterfall walk was not what I expected, it was part of the adventures that come from doing fun things while traveling. I would strongly recommend this place and the tours with the Park HQ, with their pleasant staff; but be aware of what the different routes entail.

18  Thank Asperger_Singapore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2018

Firstly, the people in Miri, Mulu and Niah are the most friendly and sincere people we have met. They were very helpful and are happy to tell you anything you want to know about their culture, their foods, etc. It was our 1st visit to Miri with our kids. We all loved the whole trip and wished we could stay longer. We arranged a guided tour with Borneo Adventure. Stephanie was helpful and efficient. Everything went smoothly from day 1 to end. Our guide was Duncan. This young man was charming and made sure everyone in his group was safe, comfortable and he really took care of us all very well.
Mulu Cave is indeed a place to visit at least once a lifetime. We will go back again one day. Until then, we only have lovely memories and photos to contend with.

4  Thank travelreviewsYY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2018 via mobile

Went to Mulu National Park with my friend last week.

Managed to visit Deer Cave and Lang Cave on the first day during the arrival.
We were guided by Undi. He was so passionate with the explanation, unknowingly I was drawn by his explanations.

The next day we went to Clearwater Cave and Winds Cave, guided by Nimrod. It was interesting to see such a majestic cave formation. I was impressed, albeit it does cost me huff and puff to go up those steps.

I was pleasantly surprised by how both guides are so passionate and committed with their work there. I enjoyed my experiences there.

3  Thank Pamilo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 May 2018

We spent three days here, and it simply wasn't enough. The garden of eden walk was spectacular and the canopy walk was beautiful. To top it all off, the mass bat exodus is just unbelievable. We couldn't believe how many of them there were - has to be seen to be believed!

1  Thank James Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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