Sunday, January 15, 2017

Vagabond Way: How to Hike Unique Pinnacles at Mulu in Beautiful Borneo Malaysia

In a remote section of the Borneo rain forest at Mulu National Park a unique formation of limestone rocks called The Pinnacles jut up from the earth. Piercing some 50 meters into the sky, rock formation has been about 5 million years in the making. You know, no big deal mother nature!

For those seeking adventure and work out there is a 2 night/ 3 day hike to reach the view point of The Pinnacles. For those wishing to actually do the hike, all the information is at the bottom. For those wishing to join vicariously via the world wide web, get ready, here we go!

This hike is not for the faint of heart. Although the main part of the hike is only about 2.4 kms uphill one way, it took our group a good eight hours plus to complete the hike there and back. Elevation gain is 1200 meters and with the steepness, heat and humidity there are some that just can’t make it to the top.

Although it’s hard to show just how step the incline is, many sections of trail had ropes for climbers to either pull themselves up or steady themselves on the way down.

Leaving the small village behind, you reach the start of the hike by jumping into long boats.

I loved the bright and vibrant colors. But oh my gosh, getting upstream to the start of the hike was one of the hardest things of the whole hike! We were in Mulu in July and the water level was rather low. Add in the extra pack weight and the boats were constantly hitting the bottom.

So everyone would have to jump out of the boat to help push it up stream. People were slipping and falling on the rocks and thus getting dunked in the water (although it felt good because it was so hot.) It really gave us a great appreciation for how hard of work it was to get those boats up and down stream. Our leg muscles were sore for days.

When the boats drop you off everyone walks on their own about 8 kms to the camp at your own pace. It’s a well marked path through the Borneo rainforest that is almost a straight shot. Everyone in our group was anxious to go but Chris and I had not yet eaten our packed lunches and were hungry.

So we stayed behind to eat our lunch as everyone else took off down the path. What ended up happening is we got to slowly walk through a pristine piece of remote jungle all on our own with no other sounds, distractions or worries. It was one of my most favorite and peaceful times of being in Borneo. Sometimes it pays to not follow the group and be content to be the last one into camp.

And what a camp it was! I will say hats off and great job Mulu National Park service for the excellent management of this facility. Everything about this hike was so well organized. There are multiple types of groups that use the camp from private tours to people (like us) who just booked with the national park directly.

Everyone had an assigned little sleeping quarters. There was a big and clean kitchen to use, tables for everyone underneath the cover and the bathrooms were very clean and functional with western toilets. The number of people allowed in camp every day was strictly limited and this made for a very pleasant experience for everyone.

Especially in these high demand areas like this, if it’s not well maintained they can great gross so fast. Mulu National Park was doing a superior job in keeping this nice for everyone and in turn visitors also treated the area with respect.