Mulu Caves are all different each with their distinctive features.
The smallest of the Mulu caves.... Lang Cave has beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, delicate shawls which hang from the ceilings and beautiful rimstone pools. With a lower ceiling the bats and swiftlets were more visible than in the Deer Cave ....the light from your torch seems to get them excited and they become noisier and more active!
So named because the deer used to shelter in the main cavern.... Deer is near to Lang Cave. We slopped through a deep pool of water formed by the relentless rain at the entrance into the huge cavern of Deer Cave.
Our reward was the spectacular waterfall that created a water curtain over the entrance. Not only the largest of the Mulu Caves.... is is considered by many to be the largest cave passage in the world.Deer Cave was formed by an underground river which dissolved and eroded the limestone as it flowed through, creating the huge cavern with numerous separate chambers. Home to thousands of bats and swiftlets, you see them as black blobs on the ceiling.
Most evenings between 4.30 – 6.00pm .the famous "bat exodus" sees a black swath of bats fly out in formation, creating a waving spectacle in the sky. This depends on the weather. It was raining when we were there and the bats stayed inside....my husband made the walk back the next night and was rewarded with the "fly by". There is a special Mulu Caves Observatory where you can sit and wait and watch.
Cave of the Winds
We arrived at the pathway to Clearwater and Cave of the Winds by the longboat which took us down the Melinau River, stopping at the Penan Village en route. It was very pleasant sitting at the tables and enjoying a drink and a biscuit before embarking on the walk up steep steps to the Cave of the Winds entrance.
The cooling breeze which could be felt as we walked through the walkway was most welcome after the hot climb. The cave entrance is delightful with ferns and plants creating an indoor outdoor tropical garden not seen in the other Mulu Caves.... the rock formations silhouetted against the light. This cave had several beautiful features including the Kings Chamber.
Climbing even more steps to Clearwater Cave this beautiful cave was impressive. Go through the Lady Cave....where a formation looks remarkably like a figurine of a lady in a long dress. As you follow the walkway you are overlooking pools of clear water and beautiful formations.
Down the stairs to the Underground Cave we crossed a bridge over the crystal clear river flowing through....most unusual in a cave! With 150 kms of cave passages in this Mulu Caves system you can organise a trek back to Deer Cave. (See note below)
As we came to the end of Deer Cave, Ricky said he would wait while we went up to the platform ....what a surprise seeing the opening with the rich green Garden of Eden glowing in the shaft of light shining through the opening where the roof had collapsed. At the southern entrance the profile of Abraham Lincoln is clear in profile. We were further enthralled by Adam and Eve’s Showers spouting 30 metre columns of water to the river far below.
You will be ready for a cool off in the freshwater swimming pool created by the river flowing from the cliff, after you return to the base of the cliff. You can see masses of beautiful iridescent blue butterflies in this area.
For experienced cavers or the adventurous you can do the Clearwater Connection Tour which is a 4.8km 6-8 hour walk through Turtle Cave ...a wild cave which has no lighting or pathways from the back of Cave of the Winds through to Clearwater Cave. It is not possible if there has been a lot of rain......and you need to prove you are experienced, fit and able.
These are the 4 main caves visited by tourists.
Niah Cave on the Sungai River near Miri is part of the Niah National Park With remains of the original human inhabitants of the area found in Niah Cave the history is fascinating.
The Great Cave is famous as a archaeological site and the excavations are clearly visible to visitors.
The Painted Cave features cave paintings done in red hematite depicting the life of the earliest inhabitants and the place where the 'death-ship' was found.
Niah Caves are of historic significance with both The Great Cave and Painted Cave listed.
Visitors can also explore the forest trails, visit an Iban Longhouse and hire a boat or walk to Batu Niah Town.
Park Headquarters at Pengkalan Batu is accessible either from Miri or Bintulu
The Caves are accessible via a raised plankwalk that winds through lowland forest vibrant with birds and butterflies. Apart from the Caves, visitors can explore several kilometres of forest trails to feel the richness of tropical rainforests, climb a 400m tall limestone ridge or visit an Iban longhouse located near the Park boundary. Visitors can also rent a boat or walk along the river from Park headquarters to Batu Niah town.
More Useful Borneo Information
Mulu National Park
Mulu Canopy Walk
Kinabalu National Park
Orangutans in Borneo
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