Monday, March 11, 2013

Jungle Trekking in the Mulu Caves

The Gunung Mulu National Park located deep in interior of Borneo, in Sarawak is a UNESCO declared world heritage site. This remote park is known for some of the most spectacular karst formations and cave systems on earth.  The diorama of Gunung Mulu Park is dominated by a towering sandstone peak, the Gunung Mulu that rises to a height of 2,377 meters above sea level in the midst of dense jungle.

Over years, the flow of water draining down from the slopes of the peak has cut deep gorges through the Park’s limestone mountains, so that within the rock, a complex system of caves has been created. This vast cave system is still being discovered and currently only about 362 km (2011) of these fascinating caves have been explored.

Visiting the Mulu World Heritage Area involves quite an arduous journey, no matter which route you choose.  Initially this journey to Mulu used to be extremely difficult as there are no highways that lead to Mulu.  The only way to get to Mulu, is actually by air. Mulu today has its own airport and you can fly into Mulu, over the dense impenetrable jungle from the coastal city of Miri or then from cities like Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

An alternative mode of travel is to arrive at the park by navigating the Baram, Tutoh and Melinau rivers in a series of boats. However, this mode of transport is not very reliable as the boat services are often suspended due to adverse weather conditions.

Adventurous travelers have even in the past walked to Mulu via the ‘The Headhunter’s Trail’ which runs down from the scenic town of Limbang situated on the Limbang River, near the northern section of the park. However this trail is rather isolated and even though it is well-marked it can be disrupted by floods. Visitors who wish to access the park, via this route have to do so via licensed tour operator.

Getting to the park is only half the adventure, for many such escapades await you at this densely forested enclave known to host seventeen diverse vegetation zones populated with many species of flora and fauna, including 109 species of palms. The early days of explorations to the Mulu caves, involved very rudimentary accommodation options, however, nowadays visitors to the park can book to stay at Royal Mulu Resort, a well-equipped, self-contained resort located within the park.

Park entry tickets to this UNESCO World Heritage area, allow visitors unrestricted access to the park over five calendar days. Each visitor needs to buy his/her own ticket as these are non-transferable.

The various cave systems in the park include:-
  • The Clearwater Cave System- 189km
  • The Benarat Caverns System- 50.7km
  • The Terikan Caves System- 32.5km
  • The Cobra/Cloud/Bridge Caves System- 15.5km

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Jungle Trekking in the Mulu Caves