Edit Blog Post
Published: October 24th 2009
After reaching double digit dive status in Sipadan with 14 dives under our belts, Sam and I headed to Mulu National Park in the Malaysian side of Borneo. It was another long travel day with by far the worst overnight bus I have ever been on and 9 hours in a freezing over-airconditioned airport. But in the end we both agreed it was all worth it. Mulu National Park has (arguably) the largest caves in the world. If you have ever seen the Caves episode of Planet Earth then you have seen where we were (and if you haven't seen it, then go rent it because it is awesome!) Within an hour or so of arrival we had already seen enough crazy jungle bugs to make my skin crawl.
The first night in our homestay we set up our mosquito net around the beds and went to sleep. Well, Sam fell asleep and I tried unsuccessfully to convince myself there were no bugs in our bed. I was sure I could hear something scurrying around on the floor so I knew there was no hope for sleep until I investigated the sound. I scanned the room with my flashlight and
sure enough I found a giant cockroach on the headboard mere inches from where my head had just been...gross. Sam dealt with the problem and we secured the net MUCH tighter around the mattress. It was only the beginning for the Borneo bug encounters.
We did a canopy walk early the next morning and saw the biggest stick bug I have ever seen. It was as long as Sam's forearm! We also saw several spiders, black and white striped hammer head worms, more stick bugs, butterflies, GIANT bees, lantern bugs...did I mention there are a lot of bugs around here? Wandering around the longest canopy walk in the world was beautiful. We were between 60 and 90 feet off of the ground walking on rope and wood walkways between the treetops.
That night we also checked out Deer Cave and Lang Cave. The stalagmites and stalactites of Lang Cave were incredible, it felt like we were on another planet. Unfortunately pictures do not do it justice. Deer Cave on the other hand was full of bats and their never-ending piles of guano, which of course are a feeding ground for (you guessed it!) more bugs. All throughout our
walk in Deer Cave I was singing the batman song in my head, waiting to turn a corner and see the batmobile racing out. The sheer size of these caves are overwhelming. They are like huge natural cathedrals, swarming with bats. At dusk we waited outside the caves and witnessed 2-3 million bats streaming out of the mouth of the cave for their nightly bug hunt.
The next morning we set out to do some adventure caving or spelunking. It was so much fun! We went up the river stopping to see some local longhouses and then put on our super cool hardhats equipped with bright head lamps and began yet another Borneo adventure. Right after the mouth of the cave we had to use a knotted rope to pull ourselves up a steep cave cliff and then squeeze through a skinny gap in the rocks that surprisingly we all fit through. In the first dark cavern we saw a bat snake curled up in the corner with a telltale bat shaped lump in it's belly. I felt like I was 10 years old climbing up and down hills and ropes and getting covered in mud. At one point
we all turned off our lights and it was pitch black. the only sound was the dripping of water and the random beating of bat wings. It was so quiet it almost felt like I would turn back on my light and everyone would be gone. The whole trip was exhilarating. We were in the cave climbing and descending on ropes and walking through giant caverns for about 2.5 hours in which time we saw bats, birds, huge grasshoppers, a scorpion eating a grasshopper, a snake, and the weirdest bug ever. Anyone who has seen Planet Earth will know the bug I am talking about. With somewhere between 12 and 16 legs, it is a huge long...thing. I don't even know how to categorize it, but it was really cool. Thankfully we saw it just as we were leaving the cave, so I didn't have to imagine one dropping on me for 2+ hours. We visited a few more caves and saw a huge underwater river before leaving Mulu National Park and having another epic travel day comprised of van ride, 4 flights, a cab ride, another cold night in the airport and finally a moto ride to our destination
of Siem Reap, Cambodia. We have gone from caves to temples in less than 24 hours. It's a wild ride!
Tot: 3.054s; Tpl: 0.049s; cc: 7; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0646s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb