Monday, October 12, 2009

Mulu trip springs many surprises

My first trip to Mulu National Park resulted in many surprises for me. While there I had the opportunity to explore four caves, namely Deer Cave, Lang Cave, Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave.

With its extensive underground cave systems and vast tropical rainforest, Mulu National Park is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

A visit to Deer Cave is not complete without a visit to Lang Cave. The entrance of the two caves is just a short distance apart.

Deer Cave can be reached by taking a walk on a three-kilometre plankwalk 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.

When I reached the entrance of the cave, I could not help but wondered how big Deer Cave is after being tagged as the largest cave passage in the world.

According to the record, Deer Cave is simply huge! It is just over two kilometres long and has a height and width of around 90 metres.

The main chamber, which is partially lit by sunlight, is 174 metres wide and 122 metres high.

Our guide told us that the locals claimed that herds of deer used to seek shelter in the main chamber which led the Penan and Berawan communities to name the cave Gua Payau or Gua Rusa (Deer Cave).

There is a place known as “Garden of Eden” in the Deer Cave, where a hole in the cave roof lets in a shaft of light which allows rich green vegetation to grow. Another feature is the rock profile of former American President, Abraham Lincoln, which guards the southern entrance of the cave.

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