Gunung Mulu National Park, Miri, 98008 Sarawak, Malaysia
GPS: 4.0922601785727, 114.89584694967
Rich in biodiversity and fascinating geological formations, the Gunung Mulu National Park is named after the eponymous mountain (Mount Mulu). Founded in 1974 on the original lands of the Berawan people and Penan tribes, this nature reserve is located in the north of the island of Borneo, in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, south of the Sultanate of Brunei. The Gunung Mulu National Park is known for its impressive collection of caves (the largest in Southeast Asia), intact forests (one of the last remaining primary forests in Malaysia) and karst peaks (called pinnacles).
Until the advent of the White Rajahs during the colonisation of the archipelago in the second half of the 19th century (Raj of Sarawak), this wild region was inhabited by the Iban, a people of warriors and headhunters from Borneo. After several unsuccessful attempts, the Gunung Mulu mountain range was first climbed in the 1920s by a local rhino hunter named Tama Nilong. Subsequently, various expeditions and discoveries were made through the thick tropical jungle, rushing rivers and rocky outcrops to investigate an exceptional network of limestone caves. Covering an area of 544 km², the Gunung Mulu National Park is slowly being opened up to tourism, much to the dismay of the region’s indigenous communities who consider the land sacred. The park contains one of the largest cave systems in the world, estimated at several hundred kilometres of galleries (of which only less than half are explorable to date). These abyssal underground cavities were formed over tens of millions of years by the passage and infiltration of water through the sandstone, shale and limestone rocks that are ubiquitous in this remote part of Malaysia.
In addition to its endless lines of caves, the Gunung Mulu National Park is also renowned for its fabulous karst landscapes. In the shape of a cone or a peak, its massive pinnacle forest is made up of very old limestone formations (consisting of steep cliffs, deep gorges and sharp rocky peaks). The high rainfall and humidity give the park a lush nature and dense primary rainforests. The latter contain 17 distinct vegetation zones, producing creatures and species of incredible biological diversity.