The largest national park in Sarawak, the Gunung Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dominated by three mountains - Gunung Mulu, Gunung Api and Gunung Benarat. Spanning 52,865 hectares of primary rainforest, Mulu is dotted with swiftly flowing rivers, vertical cliffs and jungle streams.
Mulu’s greatest attractions – an approximate 300-kilometre stretch of snaking passages – lie buried underneath the forested mountains. They’re home to the largest cave chamber in the world, the Sarawak Chamber – which can house 40 Boeing 747s!
The surrounding area is a hotchpotch of above-ground attractions – the park is covered in rich primary rainforest and boasts excellent jungle treks and mountain hiking trails. One of the park’s top draws are the Pinnacles – 45 metre-high, razor sharp limestone spikes that jut out from the slopes of Gunung Api.
Gunung Mulu National Park Overview
Gunung Mulu National Park boasts one of the most impressive cave systems in the world. Calling Sarawak its home, the park is a well-preserved wilderness with an abundance of caves to explore, treks to traverse and wildlife to observe. Experienced enthusiasts can enjoy challenging caving expeditions while other visitors can simply enjoy the park’s exotic surrounding beauty. Between the sandstone peak of the 2377-metre Gunung Mulu and the 1750-metre limestone Gunung Api, are rocky mountains, deep gorges with swiftly-flowing rivers and an inimitable montage of wildlife habitats. Listed as a UNESCO site in November 2000 due to its dramatic landscape and its biological importance, the park is home to large caverns with alien insects and countless bats. The surrounding tropical rainforest has an exotic collection of over 20,000 animals and 3,500 plant species; the park boasts an array of accommodation options from camp grounds to the exotic Royal Mulu Resort.
Gunung Mulu National Park History
Dominated by three mountains – Gunung Mulu (2,376 m), Gunung Api (1,750 m) and Gunung Benarat – Gunung Mulu National Park is Sarawak largest national park, sprawled across 52,865 hectares of primary rainforest. Many of Mulu's best-known attractions lie underground where hidden deep below the surface of the wooded hills, are cave passages that twist and wind their way through the mountains. The world’s largest cave chamber, the Sarawak Cave Chamber, lies here and its immense size – nearly 16 football fields – is deeply impressive.
The park features steep inclines and perpendicular cliffs that snake to crests before unexpectedly dropping down to bottomless gorges and secreted valleys. It has earned Sarawak a must-visit spot on the world map due to its many claims to fame including its signature attraction, The Pinnacles – jagged bleach-white limestone crags with deadly-sharp peaks bunched together over the green jungle canopy.
Also boasting the world’s largest cave passage, Deer Cave, as well as the longest cave in Southeast Asia, Clearwater Cave, Mulu is relatively unexplored with only 30-40% of its underground passages having been surveyed. The park has an exotic collection of Borneo animals and plant species.
Highlights and Features
- Deer Cave: Once listed as the largest cave passage in the world, Deer Cave now holds the record as the largest traversable cave passage. The two-kilometre-long, 174-metre-high passage takes approximately an hour to navigate; the caves are home to countless bats that cling to the ceiling. The highlight of these caverns is the bat observatory – watch as an endless stream of bats exit the caves close to sundown to search for their nightly mealtime fix in the jungle. A unique feature of this cave is the formation at the mouth of the cave which resembles Abraham Lincoln’s profile.
- Cave of the Winds: Filled with hundreds of stalagmites and stalactites, the Cave of the Winds, has several chambers. Along the way you’ll pass the Batu Bungan settlement where you can purchase knick knacks under the shaded green canopy.
- Clearwater Cave: Most people enjoy a trip to Clearwater Cave because the longest cave in Southeast Asia has an inviting swimming hole just outside its entrance.
- Sarawak Chamber: It may be hard to traverse the distance necessary to get to this cave that, figuratively, seems to lie at the centre of the Earth, but the trip is well worth the effort. The yawning cavern is simply magnificent and the 12-hour long journey will simply be forgotten – at least until you’re making your way back. Accommodation available.
- Mulu Canopy Skywalk: This 480-metre long walkway may not sound like such an interesting attraction but the views from this bridge are unforgettable.
- The Headhunters’ Trail: Sarawak is well-known for its tales of the legendary headhunters; in Mulu make sure you take the winding journey through the park from Gunung Mulu to Limbang – the trail traverses an old tribal warpath.
- The Pinnacles: The deadly sharp crags may not sound like an interesting attraction yet the bleached-white tips are an incredible not-to-be-missed photo-stop opportunity.
Good to Know and What Not to Miss
- If you’re not an experienced spelunker, or if you simply dislike creepy crawlies and flocks of bats, then we recommend that you stick to the show caves for your adventure-fix. The last thing you need to do is to panic on your journey to the centre of the Earth; you can choose from introductory, intermediate or advanced tours depending on your experience level.
- Allocate at least several days for your trip here; accommodation options are plentiful and wide-ranging to suit a variety of budget options.
- Depending upon the trail that you wish to traverse and the sites you may want to explore, the fees you pay will be different. Park headquarters are the best place to map out your routes and determine your itinerary.
- Opening Hours: Gunung Mulu National Park Headquarters: 08:00 – 17:00 Daily
- Price Range:
- Gunung Mulu National Park – Entrance fee: RM10
- Touring any two caves – Entrance fee: RM10
- Lagang Cave – Entrance fee: RM55 (including boat ride fee)
- How to get there: There are no buses, highways and certainly no taxis to Mulu; the most practical way to reach Gunung Mulu is to take a direct flight from Miri to Mulu.