Buried in the Sarawak Chamber

Gunung Mulu National Park near Miri, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses caves and formations

Gunung Mulu National Park near Miri, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses caves and formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting. The park is famous for its caves and the expeditions that have been mounted to explore them and their surrounding rainforest, most notably the Royal Geographical Society Expedition of 1977-1978. It is ranked as the 2nd largest cave opening in the world and the longest.

Dave Checkley, was one of the original discoverers of the cave in 1980, he quotes-

“An hour’s fabulous sporting caving took us to the cairn marking the furthest point of Andy’s previous exploration. We got out our mapping instruments–a good excuse for a brief rest. I was taking the notes, Tony White would make the compass, clinometer and survey tape readings whilst Andy took photographs and helped out when the tape snagged on an obstruction. We set off slowly mapping the passage as we went, and it soon reached staggering proportions. The left hand wall faded from sight even in the combined light of our three headlamps, so we followed the right hand wall. We climbed up the steep rocky slope with the towering wall still dimly in view. The number of survey stations slowly mounted. The roof disappeared from view. Was it a chamber or just a huge passage? The roar of the river grew fainter behind us. We chatted and speculated about this huge black void we found ourselves in. This was big even by Mulu standards. As time went on I was starting to have problems guessing the distance to the wall–was it 50 metres or twice as far? The wall was our only point of reference, and I insisted we got closer to it. What could I draw if I didn’t have the wall close at hand– just an immense rubble slope? We surveyed straight towards it–amazingly it was 100 metres away. Distances can be confusing in such huge cavities. The slope was often steep and we likened it to climbing a long scree slope up an English mountain, but climbing it in the pitch dark. Andy was starting to get excited about it being the biggest passage in the world. Tony was as cool, calm and collected as ever. My feet hurt.”

To know more about Borneo and other activities, check out Discover Borneo.

If you have a few days and spare cash lying around, Mulu caves are a visit. You must fly there with MASwings from either Kota Kinabalu, Sabah or Miri, Sarawak. You can do other activities such as the canopy walk tour, vilage tour, river tour, or just walk around the park on your own.

There are chalets and dorm beds available inside the park, but must book ahead. Otherwise there are 2 hostels right outside of the park entrance.

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