I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what the accommodation and facilities are like considering the resort is in the middle of the rainforest. This National Park is outstanding and it has top class facilities for all budgets. Being the backpackers we are, we stayed in the hostel (dorm room) and it was spacious and comfortable, although I would recommend bringing a mosquito net (if you have one!) There are actually cheaper places you can stay in, just outside the park but we opted to stay inside, which saved the hassle of having to pay the park entrance fee every day as well as a short walk.
Going to the bathroom in the hostel was a mini adventure in itself, due to its door-less nature. This required nerves of steel and flailing limbs, in order to battle through the various creatures before seeking comfort in a stall...hopefully alone.
While taking my first rainforest shower, I was joined on more than one occasion by a bat, and then stepped out of the cubicle, only to find myself face to face with two gigantic dragonflies. Later that night I returned to brush my teeth, and discovered a rather large praying mantis feasting on one of the aforementioned dragonflies. This was truly a sight to behold.
|He's looking at you!|
Meanwhile in the boy’s bathroom there was a colony of ants building themselves a new nest above one of the showers... using the remains of larger insects they had killed.
|The nest building was an interesting side-note to Mulu.|
Prior to getting to Mulu, we had read that food and water inside the park were significantly more expensive than usual, so we stocked up on supplies. However, the restaurant food is only a bit pricier, with a meal averaging around 12 MYR (£2.50, $4), and the breakfast that is included with the accommodation is really good. There are a few options to choose from and all were substantial. The water, however, is a different story. A 1.5L bottle is 8 MYR (£1.60, $2) as opposed to 2 MYR in Miri. Tap water is apparently drinkable after boiling, but often comes out of the tap looking a bit yellowish. We suggest you take your own water when possible, and some snacks for the treks, as these are also expensive.
|Mee Hoon noodles with chicken and veggies. |
A perfect, hearty meal before a walk in the jungle.
|Laksa Round 3 - totally different to the others and rather|
scrummy, if we do say so.
Our final full day in the park involved waking up at the-sun-is-barely-up-o’clock and dragging our feet to the treetop tower to go nature-spotting. We stayed there for over an hour and barely saw a thing except for a couple of birds, a few types of squirrel, but nothing that made the early morning effort worthwhile.
We then went on the botanical garden trail, which was quite nice because we spotted some interesting flora including a fish-tail leaf and a carnivorous plant called a pitcher plant.
|This tree is large...|
|...and only 90 years old!|
|This has not been eaten.|
It is called the fish-tail leaf!
|It took us a while to find these.|
|I took dozens of photos.|
The pitcher plants have sweet nectar that attracts insects into the chamber so they become trapped in the liquid, and are then slowly dissolved, feeding the plant. Some have been found on Borneo that are so large they have been known to catch rodents.
|We saw some during the night walk as well.|
|This one was much bigger... and deader.|
That evening, we sat and watched another spectacular sunset before heading off on our night walk.
|It was the bluest blue I had ever seen...|
The night walk was a two hour trek starting at 7pm, that took us deep into the forest. The group was 6 strong, and we all followed nervously behind our eagle-eyed guide. We set off from park HQ as naive tourists, eager for a few good photos for facebook...but we returned ashen faced, suffering PTSD (post-terrifying-stickinsect-disorder) just like those returning from war. We saw things, man. Huge, scary, unearthly monsters that, according to Newt, “mostly come out at night...mostly.”
One thing we were both a bit disappointed about was not having seen many mammals. Obviously, there were the millions of bats, and then several squirrel sightings, but what we really wanted on this night walk was to see something new. And it would seem luck was on our side that night! Thanks to our guide we got to see some kind of porcupine snuffling around a few meters away. We didn’t manage to get a photo, but it was about a foot long, with a long, thin tail and a rattish face. How exciting!
The other really cool thing about the trek were the mushrooms. When we were deep in the rainforest the guide asked us all to turn off our torches. As soon as the last person did, we were plunged into a kind of darkness I have never experienced before, even during my time as a goth. It was really scary. Then, gradually as our eyes adjusted we became aware of a glow coming from the ground around us. The longer we stood in darkness, the brighter it became. They were mushrooms! It was just like a scene from Ferngully (or Avatar, for those of you who missed this brilliant childhood animation). It was ravetastic.
We highly recommend the night walk, although you might be best doing it on your last night. Once we knew what was out there, sleeping became a challenge!
I’m sure you are all dying to see some photos of the wildlife we have mentioned, so tune in next time for an animal special, yay!
You can read about day one & two here.
Costs (per person)
Johor Bahru to Miri Flight = £38 ($55)
Miri Hostel (dorm bed) = 30 MYR (£6, $55)
Miri to Mulu Flight Return = £45 ($65)
Mulu Airport Transfer = 5 MYR (£1, $1.50)
Mulu Hostel (dorm bed per night) = 40 MYR (£8, $12)
Mulu Park Entry Fee = 10 MYR (£2, $3)
Night Walk = 10 MYR (£2, $3)