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If you’re looking for a reason to visit Borneo during your stay in Malaysia, Gunung Mulu National Park is at the top of that list. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated in Sarawak and is famous for its caves and expeditions.
We spent 4 days exploring Gunung Mulu National Park and it was worth it. This gave us a chance to do a couple of hikes, visit some of the caves, do the canopy walk, and learn more about the rainforest and its inhabitants.
Gunung Mulu National Park is a remote national park, so expect to be without Wi-Fi and electricity during some hours of the day (depending on your accommodation) and there are no stores. It really is all about wildlife and getting back to nature. With that said, let us tell you why this is a must-visit if you’re in Malaysia!
Things to keep in mind
There is limited accommodation available in and around Gunung Mulu National Park. Make sure to book your accommodation in time. We almost had to skip this national park because we couldn’t find a place to sleep.
Some accommodations don’t have power during the day and therefore no air conditioning or hot water. Make sure to check this while booking your accommodation. It gets hot during the day and if you come back from a hike in the park it’s nice to cool down.
Mulu has no stores, but there is a restaurant at the heart of the park (Park Cafe) where you’re able to get lunch or dinner. Most accommodations offer breakfast and sometimes dinner.
You won’t find any ATMs here, so make sure you bring plenty of cash for your stay. There are no ATMs anywhere in Mulu. While Park HQ accepts cards, the Park Cafe and most other places do not accept cards.
How to Get there
The easiest way to get to Gunung Mulu National Park is by airplane. MASwings flies in and out of Mulu from Miri, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching. We flew in from Miri which is about a 35-minute flight and out to Kota Kinabalu which is about a 45-minute flight.
Most accommodations offer pick-up and drop-off services to and from the airport, which is convenient. You could walk to the park as well, which is about a 1.5 km walk. Or take a minivan.
The other way to get to Gunung Mulu National Park is by river. This journey can take from one to several days depending on the connections. Or go for the adventurous option and depart from either Miri or Limbang. Some parts will be by car, some parts over the river, and some parts you have to hike.
Fees & Permits
You get a 5-day entry pass when you enter the park. If you want to stay longer you need to buy an additional entry pass. This pass only allows entry to the park. You get a bracelet that you have to wear during your stay.
At the headquarters, you can sign up for additional tours and activities. You have to pay an additional fee for these. Some of the hikes require you to add your details to a security list. Make sure to do this because there is almost no cell service in the park. If anything goes wrong they know you’re out there.
Deer & Lang Cave
In Gunung Mulu National Park there are several caves that you can visit under the guidance of a guide. We chose the Deer & Lang Caves, a trip of about 3 hours. At the end of this tour, you can observe the Bat Exodus (depending on the weather).
During your visit to the caves, you get to enjoy wonderful limestone shawls, stalactites, and stalagmites. There are a lot of bats in the caves that you hear all the time. This walk is pretty accessible because you walk on boardwalks a lot of the time. The total distance is about 9 km.
You can’t enter the caves by yourself, only with a guided tour. If you’re looking for a more adventurous cave adventure, check out the Clearwater & Winds tour.
If you want to watch the Bat Exodus you don’t have to participate in the Deer & Lang Cave Tour. The Bat Exodus is free for everyone to watch. Every day around 5 pm the bats leave the caves in search of food and it’s pretty spectacular!
Make sure to arrive on time because this is a popular activity. You might have to try a couple of nights in a row because the bats don’t fly out when the weather is bad. The first night we went to the Bat Exodus it started raining and we got soaked. But the second night we were lucky and saw the bats leave.
The Mulu canopy walk is a 420-meter walkway, suspended 25 meters above the forest floor, and is still, one of the longest tree-based canopy walk in the world. The total distance is about 6 km and will take two hours. If you go early in the day you might see some birds as well.
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At the bottom of the building, we got a ‘safety briefing’. Two people can walk on the bridges at the same time and a maximum of four people can stand on a platform. If you see someone else approaching, you have to keep going. The bridges are equipped with nets and ropes that you can hold on to.
It is really cool to walk through the rainforest this way, you get a completely different perspective. The platforms are a nice resting point to view the area at your leisure and to search for any animals. This was one of the best things we did in Gunung Mulu National Park.
Creepy Crawler Night Walk
There are a lot of nocturnal insects and animals in Gunung Mulu National Park and the best way to see them is during the daily Night Walk tour. It’s a 1.5 km tour and takes about 1-2 hours, depending on what the guide spots.
We were lucky and saw a lot of insects and animals and it stayed dry. It’s a bit creepy to walk in the rainforest at night with no light except for a few flashlights. But it’s interesting to learn more about what goes on at night.
Looking for more adventure?
There are 2 multiple days trekkings in Gunung Mulu National Park. The first is a 3 Days/2 Nights to the Pinnacles. This is one of the most famous trekkings of Mulu. The other is a 4 Days/3 Nights trekking to the summit of Gunung Mulu.
These trekkings require experience and booking in advance is a good idea. Make sure you’re equipped for this because they are both challenging hikes.
If you’re into Adventure Caving there are several options to choose from. Again, check the requirements and pick the right level for your adventure. You’ll end up climbing and swimming in the caves, so it’s a unique experience.
You’ll find a couple of unguided hikes in Gunung Mulu National Park as well. Make sure to check the information at headquarters about what to expect. Some hikes are easy and just go over boardwalks and some are more challenging.
Make sure to register if you hike a more challenging hike, just in case something happens. Bring plenty of water because it gets quite hot. And don’t forget to bring your rain gear, the weather is unpredictable in a rainforest!
Make the most of your stay at Gunung Mulu National Park
As you can tell, there is a lot to see and do in Gunung Mulu National Park. It all comes down to planning your trip and registering for the right activities once you arrive. Some tours & activities are popular and it would be a shame if you miss one of your favorites.
We loved this national park and could have stayed for a couple more days. You always lose time on the day of arrival and departure, so 5 days would be perfect to get the most out of your visit.
Have you been to Gunung Mulu National Park? What was your favorite activity or tour? Let us know in the comments!
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