To The Bat Cave!

Gunung Mulu National Park, a world heritage site in Sarawak, Borneo, is known for vast limestone cave complexes and above ground karst structures called pinnacles. We decided to spend two days in the area and base ourselves near the park’s HQ, which contains several caves to explore, a multitude of walkways, a 15-section canopy walk and a bat exodus from Deer cave.

We started out by taking the tour to Lang Cave and Deer Cave which are adjacent to each other. Along the way to the entrances we saw a range of creepy crawling animals:  walking stick insects (or maybe they are branches. Can’t tell) a really cool looking lantern bug, a hammerhead worm and a small Bornean pit viper coiled on a tree branch.

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Our first stop was Lang Cave, the showier of the two with dramatic stalactites, stalagmites, and water dripping from its walls and ceilings that created the cool Jellyfish formation.

 

Next we saw Deer Cave, which has the world’s largest cave passage that leads into a massive chamber. Walking through the cave we passed mounds of dirt which actually turned out to be bat guano. Looking up you can see the bats probably ready to drop more poop on you. There are 3 million bats in the cave. Not sure who counted but I’ll take their word for it.


The path eventually led to the picturesque Garden of Eden and the nearby Adam & Eve’s showers.  Yes it exists!! Now if only we can find Noah’s ark.

The most amusing feature (at least to us Americans) is a profile of Abe Lincoln at the entrance of the cave. Seriously, it is him. When did he find the time to go to Borneo, between freeing the slaves and attending plays, to pose for this?

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Good Ole Abe

Some really cool cave worms

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But it’s the bat exodus that we all wanted to see. We were herded into the bat observatory and waited for the bats to start their exit. Right on queue bats began leaving Deer Cave singly, then in groups and finally in a torrent. As they flew out they formed an undulating stream that slithered and curled like a gigantic snake made up of thousands of bats. It was such an awesome sight to see millions of bats twirling through the skies.

The next day we took a longboat to Cave of the Winds and Clearwater caves. We stopped off at a local village where we all got to shoot a blow gun. None of us hit the target.  After our humiliating showing, we left the village and continued to the caves.

Wind cave was first on the agenda. It was another wide open cave with huge chambers and lots of water flowing in from the ceiling.  Then it was on to Clearwater cave the longest cave in Asia. We had to climb 200 steps to reached the entrance. Once inside you can hear the roar of the subterranean river.

By the time the tour finished we were all caved out.  Are you also caved out?

Afterwards, people were allowed to swim in the river outside the cave. Bay, Sally & Colby stripped down to their swimwear and jumped in. Of course, Sally and Colby decided to climb up the cliffs and do some dives and flips which got them hollered at by our guide.

The rest of the afternoon was free. Sally and Bay went on a hike to the Paku waterfall where they got bitten by a swarm of mosquitoes. At dusk we all climbed the bird observation tower but there were no birds to be seen. Sigh!

On our last morning we went on the Mulu skywalk, the longest tree-based canopy walk. On the walk there, a deadly juvenile pit viper fell out of the tree and landed at D’s feet. It immediately took a defensive posture. Everyone had a little freak out but then kept our wits about us to start taking pictures. So much for survival instincts. Our guide eventually found a big tree branch and swept the snake away from the boardwalk where it coiled onto the jungle floor.  (BTW, there is no anti-venom in Mulu.  WTF)

Once on the canopy walk we didn’t see any wildlife but it was still very cool to explore life at canopy level.

On the way back we spotted some juvenile female Asian paradise flycatchers, a pair of hornbills and a pair of brown-throated sunbirds.

 

Flora from our various walks

More creepy crawly animals

And the river

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