Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Malaysia Take Three: Gunung Mulu Caves

You know how I love my maps! Orientation, alas. From Kuching, we headed to Gunung Mulu National Park, which means we had to fly into Miri first, then take a 'lil chopper into the national park (marked in red). Access to the park is via plane or boat only. Sweetest part of the flights? Free/included soy milk boxes!

As you can see, it's a relatively mountainous area with lots of rivers and caves. The highest mountain in Malaysia is just east of the Sarawak border in Sabah. Trust me, we tried to work in a hike there as well, but logistics were not in our favor.

Looking over the 'big smoke' of Kuching...

into the the protected and heavily forested Gunung Mulu. We (and by we I mean Julie and I gave her money) booked a cheap tour on the internet in advance by tagging on with a group of mainland Malaysians. I kind of wanted the details for the trip to be a mystery and let Julie take the reigns on this one, allowing myself to take in the the whole experience without much for expectations.

"Hmmm, we don't really remember you, but just get in this car and we'll sort it out" - Larry the tour guide. Excellent start.

We made it! Let the five day caving, jungle trekking, hiking, and boating tour begin!

Accomodation expectations: exceeded! After camping in Bako where we got to stuff our bags in musty bathroom and shower in freezing water in the pitch black, this was a VAST improvement!

We had time to throw our bags in the room, then head off immediately to the Deer and Langs show caves.

Sweet plants and creatures in every hidden corner. This picture is compliments of Lim (more on him, later).
Hey there, lil buuuuuuddy!

Deer/Bat Poo cave.

Check out the profile of famous historical man to the right... see him, see him?

Abe Lincoln! Hey 'Blinkin'? Nah, I said, Abe Lincoln! (the first reader to Name That Movie gets a "special treat" from yours truly!)

I realize it's hard to tell from this super low quality pic, but it's a glowworm. These bad boys make it possible for the cave to be a World Heritage site.

Langs Cave.

The "bat exodus"; 3 MILLION bats, 12 different species, come out at dusk and make this crazy ribbon/dragon shape as the enter and exit the cave. Incredible.

The next morning, we embarked on our first boating experience. Expectations: exceeded!

Quick stop at a local village as we row/walk/push down the river.

Next stop: Cave of the Winds. It was windy.

I kind of thought this formation was gonna slap me.

I heart butterflies.

Outside Clearwater Caves.

Cleansing in the sacred water. Apparently a good thing to do before the massive Pinnacles hike we had planned the following day.

And, 'unofficially' I got cleansed up outside the cave in this refreshing little river before boarding our canoes again.

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