Do you want a real travel adventure?
Borneo evokes romantic notions of huge swathes of unexplored deep, dark and steamy jungle crawling with wild life and indigenous tribes…
It is indeed that, but it’s also a very friendly country that’s easy to travel in.
The first of my friends I ever heard talking about Borneo told me it is home to the oldest rainforest in the world; 130 million years old, it is also the 3rd largest island in the world and is home to more plant species than anywhere else on earth!
We went to Borneo!
I had this amazing romanticized vision of Borneo as this misty forested paradise inhabited with Orangutans, pygmy elephants and giant flowers and insects…let me tell you the reality is even better, it’s like Jurassic Park but real (and no dinosaurs sorry)!
One of the top things people like to do in Borneo is get out into the user friendly and very well organized National Parks to see some of Borneo’s amazing flora and fauna first hand.
While we were there recently, we decided to go to one of the country’s most popular: Mulu National Park in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. This is supposed to be one of the best national parks in Asia.
Why is Mulu National Park worth a visit?
- Mulu park is a UNESCO world heritage area, that makes it pretty important on a global scale. Mulu is listed because of its important biodiversity and geological formations.
- It is home to some of the world’s highest concentrations of plant and animal species. Think 8 species of Hornbill and 27 types of bats found in the park!
- Mulu is revered for the huge geological significance of its vast cave systems and famous rock pinnacles.
- This place has the world’s largest known cave chamber which is so big it can fit 40 Boeing 747’s wing to wing!
- Also Deer cave is one of the largest single cave passages in the world…and every night you can watch 3 million bats fly out of it at dusk!
Basically Mulu is like natures theme park and as we found out there was heaps to do and see here.
There are a multitude of tours you can book and go on with guides, or simply go by yourself, which is mostly what we did.
Mulu sure is a one horse town, it has an airport (because it is just so remote) a hotel, various guest houses, restaurants and a couple of tribal villages…that’s it.
The whole community is set up to support the awesome national park and everything is within walking distance so you don’t need transport.
Mulu even has a special 5 star Marriot resort for its more well-heeled visitors!
The national park is made up of km after km of good quality board walks and well-marked out trails.
Some tours are multi day adventures, like going to see the stunning limestone pinnacles (which is one of the main attractions of the park) and other trails can be knocked over in a couple of hours.
The deal is you pay a single entrance fee that last for 5 days then you can choose a guest house (of which there were about 10) outside the park’s entrance and come and go from the park as you please.
It’s very easy to have a multi-day itinerary of tours you have booked, walks you want to go on by yourself and plenty of chill out time.
So what did we do in Mulu?
- Went on a guided tour of Deer and Lang caves seeing the millions (literally) of swiftlets and bats that nest in there. Now we can say we have officially been to one of the biggest caves in the world.
- Did an amazing tree-top walk on one of the world’s longest canopy rope bridges. This was a real highlight of our trip to Mulu.
- A guided wildlife spotting night walk, this was very cool. Our guide knew exactly what kind of animals to spot where. We saw loads of cool stuff from giant insects and moths to huge geckos, frogs and sleeping birds. This was my favorite activity mostly because I got to touch lots of the insects!
- Went up the huge bird spotting tower to view birds and humongous stick insects and katydids in the rainforest canopy. This gets pretty crowded, so the best time to go is at break of dawn when you will have the least company and the birds will be most active.
- Went on some amazing self-guided walks by ourselves, on these walks we saw the most variety of wildlife because we were very quiet and by ourselves. We took picnic lunches and made a day of it.
- Hanging out at the awesome Mulu restaurant in the park, this was the best place to eat in town, with loads of space, a nice view, great food and the only WiFi in Mulu! It was a great place to chill with other travelers and talk about your adventures and what you had seen!
- The bat exodus: this nightly event is gob-smacking. You get to watch 3 million wrinkle-nosed bats exit Deer cave each dusk winding and reeling through the sky as one organism to avoid the bat hawks and other birds of prey looking for a batty snack. This is one of nature’s coolest events!
We absolutely loved the pristine nature amazing wildlife and peace and quiet of Mulu National Park, we will definitely go back and recommend you go see it for yourself!