Gunung Mulu National Park
Rock formations at Gunung Mulu National Park. Photo by babeltravel
If you are an adventurous traveller looking for a thrilling cave and rainforest experience, possibly not found anywhere else on the Earth, head to Gunung Mulu National Park. Not just for caving though, the Mulu National Park has so much to offer above the ground level too.
Mulu – the only UNESCO site in Sarawak – is dominated by three mountains: Gunung Mulu a sandstone peak at 2,376 m, Gunung Api (Fire Mountain) a limestone peak at 1,750 m, and Gunung Benarat a limestone and gritstone peak at 1,585 m above sea level. Hidden underneath the forested slopes of these mountains is one of the largest limestone cave systems in the world.
It is easy to see why Gunung Mulu National Park has become the most popular national park in Sarawak. Don’t expect to find orangutans or proboscis monkeys; Mulu National Park is all about the caving, adventure and scenery.
Since Mulu National Park is privately owned, prices are considerably higher. Trekking on your own can be a bit pricey; guide fees and boat hire can seem really expensive because the rates are geared for tour groups. Once you get to the Gunung Mulu National Park, try to get together with the other travellers and hire freelance guides as a group. Your only other option is to pay for a tour package in advance, but that can be a bit too organized for one’s taste.
Upon the arrival, you must register at the park HQ. The entrance fee is 10 RM per adult, 5 RM per child or student for each day you re-enter the park. If staying overnight in Gunung Mulu National Park, this fee is paid just once.
Staying in Mulu National Park
The accommodation in Mulu National Park is quite expensive if you are on the tight budget: 40 RM for dorm beds and rooms for 110 to 180 RM, all including breakfast. Check in is at 2.00 p.m. and check out at 10.00 a.m. Reservations can be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning the office (+85 792301); book well ahead. As the park is privately owned, the Sarawak Forestry Office in Miri won’t be much help.
There are a couple of houses just outside the park HQ with rooms available for around 20 RM per night, just ask the folks around. Camping is available only on the camping site near park HQ for 5 RM per night.
The small cafeteria at park HQ is open from 7.30a.m. until 9.00p.m. Food is quite expensive. There are no cooking facilities within the Gunung Mulu National Park. Laundry is available only through private arragments with houskeeping staff.
Travel to Gunung Mulu National Park
The easiest way to reach the park is by plane. The small airport lies outside of the borders of the national park. From the airport you can either hitch a ride from the tour operators or take a boat to the park HQ; the cost is 5 RM one-way.
Check MAS Wings – a tiny carrier that services rural areas in Borneo – for special promotions from Miri. Sometimes fares can be as low as 80 RM one-way including taxes, book in advance as planes are small and things get busy.
- Check Booking.com for accommodation prices in Miri.
Mulu National Park Overland
Getting to Mulu National Park by land is rather complicated but adventorous; an option for travelers with lots of time. Going overland requires a few days, patience, and a bit of luck. From Miri, take a public bus to Kuala Baram. From there continue by ferry to Marudi. From Marudi, catch another river ferry which will bring you to Long Terawan. This ferry does not operate daily, so it is a bit tricky. From Long Terawan charter a long boat to travel up the Tutoh River to Gunung Mulu National Park.