Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mulu National Park- Day 1 Part Two

Once we've arrived in the park headquarters, we headed straight to the reception area. We were required to pay an entrance fee of RM10.00 on top of the cost of our accommodation for the day. We were there during peak season- Thus, we could get bookings for the air conditioned room on our first night only. We had to move to a fan room for the next two nights. Fortunately, both rooms sleeps four comfortably, with clean beds and bathrooms. On a more positive note, our second was located in the same building as the cafeteria,making it even easier for us to have our meals.

During registration, we were given schedules on the activities carried out in the park. We had a free and easy trip, where we could pick and choose the activities that interest us the most. Signing up for the activities also depended on the number of people who have signed up for the particular activity. We have opted to go for the visits to two show caves (The Lang and Deer Caves) and the bat exodus (which usually, starts at 5.30 to 6.30 p.m. every day).

On top of the entrance fee accommodation, we had to pay the fees to each activities or visits that we signed on to . In addition, you will have to be accompanied by the park's guide during the trips to the caves and visitors are not advised to attempt the caves on their own.

The guides from the park are very knowledgeable and have a good command of the English and Malay language. It gives our visit to the caves more meaning as they will be able to explain details of each caves and the history behind the formation each one of them.

It was a good 45 minutes walk to both the caves. Therefore, a pair of comfortable hiking boots or sandals is a prerequisite. I was wearing a new pair of boots, which by the time it was the time to walk back, it nearly killed my feet. However, I decided to soldier on slowly back to our rooms.

  • One our way to Lang & Deer Cave and Bat Exodus

The stick insect, an interesting find during our hike to Deer & Lang Cave

Another interesting find, in this natural treasure troves: I think god's colour palette is so amazing, who would have thought a flower of red and blue, could be found in a place like Mulu.

A subject that I could never get tired of, big, tall and green trees.


A pair lantern flies, a green and yellow polka-dot insect that looks more like a cross between a butterfly and a beetle rather than a fly.

The Lara Crofts of Mulu ;-) My good friends from school who have decided to share this unforgettable experience with me. In the background, the location of Lang Cave.

  • The Lang Cave
One thing great about visits to places such as Mulu National Park, which is also dubbed as the World Heritage Area, are never shy of information in the form of signage.

This looks to me like something out of a Star Trek movie. The cave floors are wet due to water dripping from the cave walls. Hence, visitors should watch their step and torch light is one of the essential items to bring during visits to the caves.

Another formation that makes me think of caramel ice-cream every time I look at it.
  • The Deer Cave
We were listening to one of guides walking us through the history of Deer Cave and how it was formed million of years ago.

The profile of Abraham Lincoln in Deer Cave, which could only be seen if you stand at a certain angle in the cave.

The same cave opening, the photo was taken at a slightly different angle and didn't show the Abraham Lincoln profile seen earlier.

As we walked further inside the cave, we were greeted by a familiar but unpleasant smell. As we shone our torch light to the ground, we were shocked to find it was literally littered with tonnes of bat guano (droppings).

Well, if you have smelled bat droppings before then the arrest to your olfactory will not be too shocking nor would you be left reeling from the intense smell, which suddenly filled your nostrils.

I recalled a part in the movie "Jurassic Park", where Jeff Goldblum and a few visitors to the park stumbled upon a small hill, which apparently are dinosaur's droppings. One of the characters exclaimed "That's one big pile of s**t", that was my exact sentiment when I saw tonnes and tonnes guano on the cave floor. A word of advice for the faint-hearted or rather those with low tolerance level of foul smelling odour, walking very quickly or a smidgen of Tiger Balm or Minyak Cap Kapak under the nose is highly recommended.

The Garden of Eden marked the end of our journey in Deer Cave.

  • The Bat Exodus
On our way out from Deer Cave, we suddenly heard a distinct sound of millions little wings flapping above the walls of the cave. We looked up and saw millions of bats heading towards the opening of the cave.

The bat exodus had already started. More than 2.5 millions bats from almost 12 species were making their out to look for food such as insects and fruits. It was an indescribable feeling and for the first time in Mulu I had my mouth gaping while looking up the sky. I could distinctively make out the "s" shaped-formation by millions of bats flying off to the place where food is readily available.

I could hear several clicks of the digital camera. Not one of us, wanted to lose the opportunity to record this once in a lifetime experience.

The bat exodus as seen from the viewing platform located a few minutes of walk
from Lang & Deer Cave

The viewing platform from where visitors could stare up to the sky watching the bat exodus every day from 5.30-6.30 p.m.

Our first day in Mulu ended just as the exodus ends. We headed back to our rooms feeling satisfied. I had the image of millions of bats flying off into the sunset replaying in my mind.

My next entry will continue with our second day in 53 000 hectres of rain forest. For now, I wish everyone a good night and enjoy the long break.

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