Miri Trip 2014: The Mulu Adventure


I've taken about a week's break off writing about my Miri trip, but I'm back now, and I'm back with a blast. The Borneo Jazz Festival wasn't the only reason I was in Sarawak. The good people at the Sarawak Tourism Board, who were in charge of the amazing jazz festival, also decided to bring the bunch of us to experience Mulu, the home of the Gunung Mulu National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
"Breathtaking." is the word I was going for. 

Since this was my first time in Sarawak, a chance like this couldn't be passed up at all.

Here's what went down in my Mulu adventure. 

The journey
The journey to Mulu began at 11am, and ended at 7pm. Yes, it was an 8-hour journey from Miri to Mulu, across several different modes of transport. We began the day in Miri where we drove across about an hour's worth of bumpy, holey roads in a four-wheel drive. Of course, the roads soon gave way to a river which required the use of huge ferries to carry us and the four-wheel drives across.

We soon made it to Marudi Town, the gateway to Mulu where a brief break for our bums were in order. Marudi town is just two streets wide. One could walk through the entire town in less than 10 minutes. But it had supplies, and lunch, which was the most important thing at that point.

The bum break was shortlived, however, when we were shepherded into a longboat. The first hour was pleasant; the cool breeze on our faces, the beautiful rainforest stretched on either side of the longboat and lots of chitter-chatter amongst ourselves. This was followed up by hour upon hour of the twisting river, and even the weather soon turned for the worst.

We had limited food supplies in the form of snacks, and even those were ravenously devoured. With rain lashing on our faces and the water level of the river getting progressively shallower, we were soon forced to swap out our covered longboat for a smaller, roofless version.

Soaked to the skin from the rain, with darkness looming ahead and freezing cold, I can tell you that the final hour of our journey to Mulu was probably the toughest to endure, especially with a bladder close to bursting.

The resort
When the resort rolled into view, I couldn't have been happier. We were put up at the Royal Mulu Resort, a beautiful place smack right in the middle of the luscious rainforests of Mulu. By the time we made it out of the gruelling 8 hour journey to the Royal Mulu Resort, it was as though we had reached Utopia. Everything, from the sofas to the wooden floor to the icy cold toilets to the freaking restaurant was like a godsent gift.

This view was taken the next morning. 

When we checked into our rooms and plopped down on the softest pillows in the world, it was best feeling ever in the world. For that reason alone, I'd like to thank Royal Mulu Resort for simply existing and taking care of all of us in our time of dire need.

The Internet
...is almost non-existent in Mulu. Keep that in mind and enjoy nature while you're there.

The caves
There were 4 caves scheduled in our itinerary; the Clearwater Cave, the Wind Cave, the Lang Cave and the Deer Cave.

The journey to the caves is no joke. There is a lot of trekking involved between the caves, close to about 5km of walking.

You will feel like dying during the trek, and many of you may also want to give up midway. But you must persevere and continue on, because the beauty of caves will leave you speechless. From natural formations to the most beautiful shafts of natural light, you'll be able to experience and see for yourself the wonders of nature.

And, I can tell you now that once you've seen one cave, you'll probably want to go back and revisit it again. That view will stick with you for a long time, trust me.

The guano
...is batshit insane. Literally. Bat poop is freaking everywhere. We even saw a river made of batshit, and I wish I was joking but I'm not. A word of warning: Don't lean to rest on anything, whether it's rocks or ropes or the floor. Poor Heather put her hand on the safety rope and came away with a guano covered hand.

Just don't touch anything while you're there.

The trail back
Because we stayed back to watch the Bat Exodus (which was a little bit like seeing a swarm of flies hovering over your fruits), the sun was already fast setting. So while darkness was slowly overtaking us, the trail became something out of a horror story.

Our guide told us that we should "jangan pandang belakang", or never look back and to never call out anyone's name in the darkness, because of reasons. I was fortunate to be walking with Ana and Hilmie because the very thought of walking alone in the dark rainforest with only my flashlight eerily reminded me of Slender Man.

The sunrise
The previous day's exploits did nothing to dampen our spirits as a small group of us woke up at the ungodly hour of 5AM to watch the sunrise.

Let me tell you one thing about the sunrise. Not many people are willing to wake up for it, but it is THE most beautiful thing you will have ever seen. To see the rays of light peek through the dense morning fog, over the mountains and up into the sky is an experience you DO NOT want to miss. Sleep is nothing if it's for view as magnificent as this.

The selfies
...were overwhelming. We took so many selfies that it quickly became the to-do thing in any given situation. Running low on food? SELFIE!

Boat ride? SELFIE!

Beautiful mountains? SELFIE!


A weird plant-bug thing? SELFIE!

Sunrise? SELFIE!

I think that my first trip to Mulu probably won't be my last. I'll have to find a few like-minded friends, pull on my backpack and get ready to trek up all the caves again. The beauty and enchantment of Mulu really left a mark on me, and it's safe to say that I'll be back for more.

Well, maybe not a 8 hour road/boat trip. I'll just fly in.

Once again, a huge thank you to Sarawak Tourism Board for hosting us and to AirAsia for flying us into Miri. Did you know that AirAsia flies to Miri from Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore FOUR times daily? There is literally no need to wait any more for your trip to Mulu. Start planning. You won't regret it.


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