The World Heritage Area of Gunung Mulu in Malaysian Borneo is a rich rain forest that is short in comfort – save for the Royal Mulu Resort – but big on creatures and caves.
The caves at Mulu National Park bring travellers from around the world, most notably for the famous bat exodus from Deer Cave.
When I was spending time in Mulu I had the pleasure of checking out Deer Dave, along with Langs, Clearwater and Cave of the Winds caves. Each one had it’s own appeal and unique characteristics. But first, my favourite…as with most people who visit, was Deer Cave.
This is a massive cave that boasts the largest cave entrance in the world! The walk into the cave is along a mountainside pathway, and you sort of come around a corner to the cave entrance, not getting to appreciate it’s full size until you’re inside it, looking back out. Cavernous is an appropriate word for Deer Cave.
The trail here is fun to walk along and spot odd formations from the carved out limestone cave, which once had a powerful river running through it. Your walk will take you to some cool spots in the cave like the Garden of Eden Pools.
It is also home to millions of bats that live high up above in the interior ceiling of the cave. There are also a ton of ugly critter like beetles and spiders, but you don’t really see them unless you shine your light into the darkness away from the footpaths. There is a viewing platform area way back down below that provides a panoramic view of the limestone mountain and cave entrance. People gather there around dusk to watch the millions of bats fly out of the cave.
A much smaller cave, Langs Cave has the most impressive entrance way. It’s like a huge mouth opened up and put this cave on display As with Deer Cave and any other caves you visit in Mulu, don’t forget to bring a headlamp / torch with you as it can get dark in some areas inside the cave.
Lots of stalactites and stalagmites are found in this cave, which isn’t far from the larger Deer Cave. As with all of the caves you’re allowed to explore, there is a smooth pathway of boardwalks, staircases and platforms built inside the cave to keep you from touching (destroying) the sometimes fragile environment.
Cave of the Winds
Located in a different, further away part of the park, getting to Cave of the Winds and Clearwater Cave is a fun hike. It’s not very strenuous, and you might spot butterflies, squirrels and other creatures along the 3.8km trail. Alternatively, you can take a longboat from the park headquarters early in the morning…but I’d suggest taking the hike at your own pace.
At Cave of the Winds, you experience just that – a cool, windy cave. But also there are skylights high above the cave floor, allowing light to pierce through in sort of artistic fashion. When you’re not staring up in this cave, being impressed by it’s size, there are huge columns of calcite around in an area known as the King’s Chamber. Pretty cool stuff when you realize just how long it takes to create these structures!
With plenty of stalactites ‘dripping’ down from the edge of the mountain along the entrance of this cave, you can get some photos in better light here. I made the mistake of forgetting my tripod when exploring the caves, so almost all of my interior photos turned out blurry and unusable!
Clearwater Cave is your place to relax, after exploring it’s network of paths. There is a river here that goes on for more than 170km underneath these mountains winding through various caves! It exists the cave nearby and you can go for a picnic and swim here – something you’ll cherish after spending a few hours in the sweltering heat and humidity of Borneo!
Each cave at Mulu showcases different types of structures or features so it really is worth spending a whole day exploring them. If you have extra time you can delve even deeper into the caves by doing some adventure caving at Turtle Cave or Lagang Cave.