Adventure tour through the caves of Mulu


The second day in Mulu started for us with a small breakfast in the Park Café. Here you can choose between 3 dishes. We opted for pancakes (unfortunately not the American version, just simple pancakes) with fruit. The atmosphere is particularly nice here. The wicker chairs and wooden tables stand directly on the bank of a river – the jungle begins on the opposite bank. One sits in the "civilization" and can observe the wilderness on the other side of the river.


Adventure-Tour „Racer Cave“ – Gunung Mulu Nationalpark

At 8:30 a.m. we set off on our first guided tour. We had decided on the "Racer Cave" adventure tour. This is a moderately difficult tour of the Mulu Caves that takes you off the beaten path. Unfortunately, the more difficult tours were not possible for us for the reasons already mentioned.


You can get to the cave either on foot in a 1 hour hike through the jungle or by boat up the river. Our guide chose the second option. This gave us the opportunity to observe the local population. They built stilt houses pretty much along the entire river – strangely enough, not in the water, but on land. It is not entirely clear to us why pile dwellings are still used. The people we saw went about their business along the river. Some were bathing, others doing the laundry, but most were busy collecting stones for shore reinforcement and piling them into large metal boxes. All of them (this also applies to other Malays we have met so far) are very friendly and wave at us. For Europeans, however, this is very unusual.

After about 15 minutes boat ride in a 1m wide and 15m long longboat with outboard motor we arrived at the entrance of our cave. Our group consisted of 7 people including the guide. After a quick check of our equipment, consisting of a helmet (yes, safety is a must) and a helmet lamp, we set off.

Auf zur Expedition
Off to the expedition

Each cave consists of three zones, the daylight, the twighlight and the dark zone. The first two are only at the entrance of a cave and we walked through them within 5 minutes. After that it got pitch dark and we had to rely on our equipment. Since we were on an adventure tour, a few obstacles had to be overcome. The simple tasks included ascending and descending on slippery surfaces and passing through bottlenecks. Some of them were so tight that the helmet only fit through at certain heights, the rest of the body had to be snaked afterwards. The more difficult exercises consisted of climbing up and down greasy, muddy ropes. These were the climbing aids for partly vertical walls with sparse steps. The walls, which are up to 5 meters high, can be mastered with a bit of arm strength, even if they are not without risk. There were no other safety devices, which is why a wrong step or an imprecise grip could quickly result in a deep fall. However, we managed the obstacles without major incidents (apart from minor slips).

Abstieg in die Racer Cave
Descent into Racer Cave

But not only the obstacles were part of the adventure, the animals present also made their contribution. Bats were already flying around our ears shortly after entering. Their clicking calls accompanied us the whole tour. The bats, while ubiquitous, were not a nuisance, unlike the numerous spiders lurking in every crevice. These were as big as a saucer and, as our guide informed us halfway through the tour, so poisonous that they could be dangerous to humans. Finally, we encountered the racer snake, which gave the cave its name. This is a small snake, about 80 cm long, that feeds on small animals and is harmless to humans. There were no plants in this cave.

After about 2 hours we had walked to the inner end of the cave and back again. The trip is great fun and I personally particularly liked the climbing sections. The tour for 95 MYR (23 €) can be recommended to anyone who is not claustrophobic, can live with insects and finds normal cave tours too boring.

Unser Bungalow
Our bungalow

Since we were already back around noon, we decided to do another tour. Due to the exertion in the morning, it should be one from the Caves area this time - sightseeing in well-developed caves.

Langs Cave and Deer Cave - largest cave passage in the world

After a short refreshment in the Park Café, we set off with a group of 11 people in the direction of Langs Cave and Deer Cave. After about an hour's walk over well-developed jungle paths, we reached the two caves that are only 300 meters apart. Langs Cave is a medium sized cave that has some interesting stalactite formations. These are even better staged by the installed lighting. However, for experienced cave visitors like us, this is nothing out of the ordinary.

Erkundung der Langs Cave
Exploring Langs Cave

The Deers Cave, on the other hand, is in a completely different league. The only thing that impresses the cave is its gigantic dimensions. At 220 m high and 250 m wide, it is the largest cave passage in the world. Wandering through the vast chambers, one feels tiny compared to the mighty pillars that support the ceiling. It is difficult to capture this enormous structure in pictures or words. A visit is therefore all the more worthwhile.

cave portal
Höhlenportal der Deers Cave - Größte der Welt
Cave portal of Deers Cave - Largest in the world

Bat Exodus – Gunung Mulu Nationalpark

Among the residents of the Deer Cave are over 3 million bats of 12 different species. With a bit of luck, they can be seen at the “Bat Exodus” from 5 to 6 p.m. Smaller groups of several thousand animals start their forays at the same time. They leave the cave in long, snake-like formations. The whole spectacle is nice to look at, but it's already over after a few minutes because the onset of darkness obscures the view.

Tausende Fledermäuse
Thousands of bats

Then the way home through the meanwhile dark rain forest back to the park headquarters awaits. The jungle path is illuminated in sections. The unlit route can also be completed in the dark when the moon is bright and the sky is cloudless, otherwise a flashlight is required. Since the way home is completed on your own, you can use it for a private night walk, listen to the animals of the forest or even watch them. The MYR 20 (€5) per person is well spent for this tour.

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