We said farewell to Kuching this morning and boarded our flight to the UNESCO Heritage site – Mulu National park deep in the Sarawak rain forest. The approach to the airport was stunning as our pilot threaded the needle through high limestone peaks and jungle to land in the isolated strip.
The Mulu caves of bat fame are located here an easy walk from our jungle lodge located within the park. The largest of these caves called Deer cave is estimated to house upwards of 3 million bats – many of whom we hoped to see this evening as they exit the cave on their nightly foraging expeditions.
It was Centipede and caterpillar day in the jungle, with many crossing our paths on their multitude of legs as we slowly made our way up through the jungle to the cave system. Limestone formations surrounded us in the forest as we followed the trail alongside the stream bed in the jungle.
The first cave we visited was absolutely stunning. Lang cave is a limestone gem without bats – so no guano piles to avoid 🙂 Stalactites and stalagmites are still actively being formed into some bizarre shapes, creating a moonscape of sorts.
A short walk away is Deer cave home to the bats. The name comes from the deer that enter the cave to lick the salt in the guano that the bats deposit daily. Hunters would hide in wait for the deer who came to access the salt and dinner was secured. We were greeted at the entrance to the cave by the first ever mail drop located at a UNESCO Heritage cave – made for a nice touch 😀
Following the sortie into Deer Cave our group walked down hill to the Bat viewing area to watch the bats exit the caves. After a wait of about an hour, occupied with fending off an attack by the biggest earwig I have ever seen we had just about given up and then out they came. 100,000’s of them in an undulating, perfectly synchronized stream their wings making a whooshing sound as they flew overhead through the evening sky. An amazing experience.
We headed home through a rapidly darkening jungle in full night song – frogs, cicadas, birds and something that (based on the noise it was making) I had no desire to get anywhere near. All singing, crowing, chattering at once. A cacophony of sound against the growling of thunder and periodic forked lightning to our east. My favorite was a frog who sounds like a car horn – interestingly enough it is called the horn frog 🙂
Our lodge is lovely – surrounded by thick jungle and it music. A new frog made its presence known last night outside my door – its call sounding like a coughing dog. It is now officially called the KC frog…. Tomorrow we will enjoy a river cruise, visit two more caves – Clearwater and Wind Cave (pretty obvious how they got their names 😀) and visit a Penang village. Stay tuned……