Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia

A natural World Heritage site outstanding for its biodiversity and for its karst features

By UNESCO World Heritage

Deer Cave (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Located in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, the park is well known today for its rich biodiversity and for its karst features, such as caves and underground rivers, which are formed due to the dissolving action of water on soluble rocks.

World Heritage site (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The varied topography of Gunung Mulu National Park includes swampy lowland rainforests, towering limestone cliffs and lofty sandstone mountains - these provide a great diversity of habitats and are one of the reasons behind the astounding biodiversity of this reserve. 

Here, splashes of colour in the canopy (reds, oranges, yellows, whites) are indicative of a mass-flowering event that occurs only once every few years in the Bornean rainforest.

Limestone Pinnacles (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Gunung Mulu National Park’s most remarkable features are the world’s finest example of karst collapse and the 50-meter tall, razor-sharp, limestone Pinnacles on the northern end of Gunung Api. 

The Pinnacle trail is dangerous and very steep – it stretches for a distance of 2.4km and reaches an altitude of 1,200m above sea level, requiring a certain level of fitness to complete it. The Pinnacles Summit Trek, for example, will usually require a 3-day, 2-night trek.

Mulu’s Deer Cave (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Mulu’s Deer Cave is the second largest cave in the world, with a chamber which could fit up to 40 Boeing 747 airplanes inside it. One of the most intriguing features of the Cave is at its southern entrance - if you look from a particular angle, one side of it resembles the profile of Abraham Lincoln!

Deer Cave is home to various species of bats whose nightly exodus
can be witnessed at dusk on days when the weather is fine.

Bat Exodus at Deer Cave (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The most spectacular sight at the park can be witnessed every evening when millions of bats fly out of the cave, to then return early the next morning. 

The bats exit the caves in a most mesmerising manner, making a large ring-shaped formation which resembles a giant helix, spiralling across the rainforest.  Visitors can observe this exodus, a magnificent natural phenomenon one may not get to experience anywhere else, at a special area in front of the cave entrance. 

Lang Cave (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Just next to Deer Cave, the Lang Cave has a unique structure and contains many magnificent rock formations, despite being the smallest of the four show caves in Mulu.

The inside of the cave is strategically lit using spotlights to focus on the more beautiful and fascinating features of the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites, which have been accumulating for thousands of years.

Clearwater Cave System (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Stretching for 238km, the Clearwater Cave water system is the longest underground river system in Asia, and is recognised as being one of the top ten longest known underground rivers in the world. When it floods, 150,000 tonnes of water pour through the passage every hour.

Drunken Forest Cave (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

As you walk deeper into the Drunken Forest Cave, you will find attractive limestone stalagmites leaning at various angles as they protrude from the ground. This natural phenomenon is the result of an earthquake which was caused by a volcanic eruption roughly 74,000 years ago. 

Mud floor inside the Clearwater Cave System (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Huge amounts of untouched, cracked mud cover an area of floor in a cave deep inside the Clearwater Cave System in Gunung Mulu National Park. Large areas of mud floor like this are very rare.

High in endemism (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

This tropical fuzzy caterpillar can be found in the lush rainforest of Gunung Mulu National Park. The park boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna, with 17 vegetation zones comprising 3,500 species of vascular plants, 1,700 mosses and liverworts, plus over 4,000 species of fungi.

Mulu’s wildlife is equally abundant, with 20,000 species of invertebrates, 81 species of mammals, at least 270 species of birds (including 8 species of hornbills), 55 species of reptiles, 76 species of amphibians and 48 species of fish.

Mulu Horned Frog (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The Mulu Horned Frog (Megophrys dringi) is the rarest of several horned frog species in Borneo, all of which are remarkable for their leaf-like camouflage. This species is, so far, only known to exist in high-elevation moss forests near clear mountain streams on Gunung Mulu.

Mulu Canopy Skywalk (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The Mulu Canopy Skywalk is a must-do activity which takes you on an unforgettable adventure through the trees, suspended 20 meters above the forest floor. 

The 420 meters of walkways make it the world’s longest tree-based canopy walk in the world. You will admire the exotic flora and fauna of your beautiful surroundings as the canopy gently sways under your feet.

The selingut (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The selingut, also known as the keringot, is the five-holed nose flute of the Kayan community that lives near Mulu National Park. The selingut is made from bamboo and is played by streaming air through it with the nose, producing notes in a pentatonic scale.

Local community (2000) by Gunung Mulu National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The local Penan community thrives off the flow of visitors to Mulu National Park by selling their unique handmade crafts and local cuisine. Visitors can connect with the local communities to hear their stories, support their businesses and help them generate additional income. 

A walk in the park

The Gunung Mulu National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000 under the four natural criteria: to contain areas of exceptional natural beauty (criterion (vii)), to be an outstanding example of major changes in the earth’s history (criterion (viii)), to be  an outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes (criterion (ix)), and to contain one of the richest assemblages of flora to be found in any area of comparable size in the world (criterion (x)).

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the Sarawak Tourism Board: www.sarawaktourism.com

More on the Gunung Mulu National Park and World Heritage: whc.unesco.org/en/list/1013

Photos: Sarawak Tourism Board

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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