Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mulu - Journey into the Centre of Borneo

At the entrance of Deer Cave

A beautiful formation of stalactites and stalagmites in Lang's cave

Dwarfed by the huge rocks in Deer Cave

Columns of limestones

Huge water drops

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Abdul Aziz Pandin and
Brunei Press Sdn Bhd

By Abdul Aziz Pandin

Caves are found all around the world. A journey to the underground of the caves provides a fun opportunity to experience nature's beauty, while learning about its natural wonders. No two caves are alike.

In Borneo itself, there are lots of natural wonders especially the caves that can be found in our neighbouring country, Mulu National Park in Sarawak. It is indeed the most fascinating natural landscape you will ever experience.

As we were guided by the park guides, we began our journey into the centre of Borneo, The Deer and Lang's Cave. They are located at Mulu National Park. From the headquarters, it took about 45 minutes walking along a three-km plank which passes through peat swamp, alluvial flats and limestone outcrops.

There is much to see on the way to the cave, including some superb rainforest, jungle streams and an ancient Penan burial cave.

Upon reaching the cave entrance, there is no doubt that you are about to enter the largest cave passage in the world, The Deer Cave. It is over two kms in length and 90 metres high and wide.

It is also home to many species of bats. Between five to seven pm, if the weather is fine, visitors may be treated to the spectacular sight of black cloud of thousands free-tailed bats emerging from the entrance of the cave to go in search of food.

Inside the cave, it is totally surrounded by huge rocks, boulders, guano (bat droppings) and water droppings from the cave ceilings. It is a bit cold inside and the breeze blows gently.

It is like some sort of natural ventilation for the cave. Some parts of the cave are filled with a smell of guano. Planks and trails are provided throughout the walk in the cave.

Sights to watch out for here are the famous rock formation resembling the sharp profile of former US president Abraham Lincoln. This sight might make you wonder, how on earth it was formed like that.

A visit to Deer Cave is usually combined with Lang Cave, in which the entrance is a short distance away from the Deer Cave.

Lang Cave is the smallest of the show caves but its rock formations are the most divine sight to behold. The formations of the limestones in Lang's Cave are truly a wonder. These are all made more attractive by the strategically positioned spotlights which highlight stalactites and stalagmites.

Every corner of the Lang's caves is grown by stalactites and stalagmites. These occurrences only takes place in limestone caves only. The stalactite, which is on the top, hangs downward like an icicle while the stalagmite is at the bottom and grow upwards. They grow in pairs. The slightly acidic water dissolves some of the limestone, carrying it downward. When the water evaporates, the limestone appears to have flowed downward.

Some of the water does not evaporate until it has fallen through the air, and landed on the floor, the remaining limestone building the stalagmite. Sometimes the stalactite is missing, as they sometimes break off and fall; you will often see their pieces on the floor.

Often, the stalactite and stalagmite will connect, and become a column. Due to these amazing formations of limestones, it gives the cave its divine beauty.

As we walked further into the caves, we were briefed by our park guides about the historical background of the cave. Once in a while we stopped, giving us a chance to take photos of the cave and to observe more details of the caves.

The duration for us to complete the walk for the two caves was about four hours and we returned to the headquarters in exhaustion but it was worth it. Getting into the underground of the earth is truly something that will remain in your memories at Mulu.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

1 comment:

John said...

What comes to your mind about Mulu? cave's or park