The Great Caves of Mulu and More

After spending two years away from Malaysia due to the pandemic, I was even more eager to explore my homeland than I realized. It all began with a weekend trip to Kuala Lumpur, my first return to the capital in nearly a decade, and it was highlighted by an exhilarating ATV ride. Immediately after that, I headed to Miri to meet up with my sister. We spent a night there before catching a flight to Mulu.

Getting to Mulu is quite an adventure itself, as it’s only accessible by a small passenger flight, owing to the challenging terrain in the surrounding area. It was a nostalgic experience for both of us, reminiscent of the flights we used to take from our hometown to the nearby city in the same twin-engine plane. Watching the rainforests pass beneath us through the spinning propellers added a unique sense of excitement as we touched down at the tiny airport, which had only a handful of travellers due to the ongoing pandemic.

At that time, mindful of our budget, I decided to book an affordable homestay just a 5-minute drive from the airport and the national park. Mulu Diana Homestay provided a genuine “stay-in-the-jungle” experience, complete with an open field, breath-taking sunrises and sunsets over the trees, and the harmonious sounds of nature enveloping us.

Since the country was still in the process of recovering from the pandemic, my sister and I were the sole occupants of the homestay, among the first to return. Nevertheless, our host, Diana, remained incredibly hospitable, and we relished her delicious traditional Dayak meals.

Mulu is renowned primarily for its magnificent caves. We arranged two cave tours through the national park: first, the Deer and Lang Caves, and then the Clearwater and Wind Caves the following day. The former involved a bit of trekking on dirt paths and raised planks, while the latter required a short longboat ride. From the captivating rock formations to the expansive and breezy passageways that seemed to extend endlessly into the depths of the earth, photographs truly couldn’t capture the sense of wonder we felt as we immersed ourselves in these enchanting formations.

One of the most memorable moments of our trip was witnessing the exodus of millions of bats emerging from the caves, resembling wisps of smoke as they embarked on their evening forage. Our luck was evident, as the park guide informed us that the bats hadn’t been out all week due to the weather. Not only did we have the chance to observe them outside Deer Cave, but we also had the incredible privilege of witnessing this spectacle right from our homestay. Encountering such a phenomenon was truly beyond my imagination, and it underscored the boundless fascination of nature.

Whether we were in the national park or at the homestay, we found ourselves completely immersed in the lush tropical surroundings, surrounded by an abundance of trees, insects, and wildlife. It’s safe to say that anyone visiting this park shouldn’t expect luxury, even with a renowned hotel like Marriott in the vicinity. My sister and I were raised with the soothing sounds of crickets and frogs at night, but encountering insects larger than our noses still managed to startle us.

The cats at the homestay were among the more domesticated residents. While hiking the nearby trails, we didn’t come across many animals, but we were told that the early mornings were the best time to spot wildlife foraging.

Despite being more accustomed to urban life, we thoroughly enjoyed the chance to immerse ourselves in the wild, embracing our Sarawakian roots. I was genuinely impressed by how well the park was maintained. So, is Mulu worth visiting? Without a doubt, yes! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

*All photos and videos featured in this story are taken by the author.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments