Thursday, October 6, 2016

Outdoor Activities & Leisure : Mulu National Park & Kuching, Sarawak


Morning gaiss!

Last May, I have been to Sarawak about 4 Days and 3 nights for some outdoor activities and leisure with my two other friends who also love this kind activities. Ika & Wan.


KL-Kuching-KL by Air Asia Airlines
Kuching-Mulu-Kuching by Maswings 


How to get here??? If you are planning to Mulu National Park, I suggest that you should take flight direct from Kuala Lumpur to MIRI, due to Miri were nearby to Mulu National Park. You can take daily flight between Miri to Mulu which operate by Malaysia Airline (MAS Wings).


small boat to the park

Otherwise, in case you like more adventure ways you can also take taxi from Miri to Kuala Baran, then Kuala Maran to Marudi by express boat. At Marudi, take a smaller boat to Long Terawan. Last at Long Trawan they provide small boat to the Mulu National Park. 

However, for our itinerary we have mistakenly choosing the flight location from KL to Kuching (2 hours ), then in Kuching we took another flight operate by Maswings Aircraft direct to Mulu National Park and it cost us more expensive since Kuching to Mulu take time about one hour and 25 minutes flight.



Safely arrived at Mulu Airport (Ika & Wan)

Its important in advance, you should make bookings for accommodation and guides during your visit in Mulu National park to avoid disappointed. Usually peak season between June until September are driest weather (it only rains about 3 days in a week) and get busier than other times of the year. As a result, their facilities and guess house are fully booked.

A month earlier from out flight depart, I have been booked accommodation in Mulu Village, it was guess house by one of local of Mulu Village, Brenda. At the time we are arrival, Brenda arrange our Airport transfer from Mulu Airport to their guess house. Then we meet Farera our driver, who pick us on the Airport.

Mulu Homestay
Anthony Man


Our first night at Mulu Home stay owner by Anthony Man,He was also one of the family member of Brenda's  husband, due to fully booked by another group of hiking, Brenda can't reserve our rooms in Mulu Village. She was mistakenly thought that we are in the same group with the other hiking group were also come from KL. Due of that misunderstanding, so she has provide us two rooms in Mulu Homestay which cost RM50/per night on the first day. 

After some rest and lunch in Mulu Home stay,we walk to Mulu National Park about 5 minutes walking distance. So, we survey and decide what activities should be enough for 3 days activities.




Lets break the leg!


Our entry tag

On the same day we're landed, we booked and pay all the entrance fees for the 3 days activities package, Mulu National park provide a lot of sigh seeing activities until Hiking and Base camps. You can visit their official website for more details here -> Mulu National Park Official Website , So, for our activities in May 19th evening, we took a jungle walk at our own, which no guide needed around the park. 

Discovery Center
After paying for the entrance fees about RM223 per head for 3 days activities tour and permitted guide, we look around the Discovery Center where you can gains some knowledge and to get a bigger picture of the incredible diversity of flora and fauna in Mulu World Heritage. Information panels and 3D gallery are provide an over view of Mulu, the geology and bio-diversity of the park.


Then, we planned to Mulu Botanical Heritage Trail, Paku Valley Loop and Paku Waterfall at the evening. But we only manage covers Mulu Botanical Heritage Trail and Paku Valley Loop or Kenyalang Loop  on that evening walk.

If you lucky, you found the biggest flower in the world, Raflesia 

Wildlife Observation Shelter about 75m away...





The Botanical Trail suits everyone, which only take a tranquil walk through the forest on a pathway of 1.5km trail winds with an interesting plants with a range of information panels explaining the rain forest biodiversity. 

another type of wild Grasshopper 




After Botanical trail we went to Kenyalang Loop and found some interesting creature. FYI, many thousands of species of terns, mosses and flowering plan along with thousands of species of fungi thrive in the this complex habitat. Mulu World Heritage Area full with an outstanding diversity of flora and fauna. This forest is home to many fauna species from the smallest mammals to some of the largest insect on Earth. Beside, richly colored butterflies glide among trees with ferns and orchids.


type of flowers





Almost dark, so we get back to our home stay. After Maghrib prayer, on 8 pm we have our night forest tour, since it was night activities, the community recommended us to have guided and went by grouping for night walk. Actually this activity you can go by your own but due to safety, we follow the community instructions.


the largest insect found

try to touch it

Caterpillar??? 
f you're lucky enough you may found some of baby snakes

spiderman...spider...spider nest

About 10pm we complete our night tour. Then back to home stay. Just for your information, normally most of the guess house or home stay here provide electrical energy by generator for certain hours. Normally they will provide around 6pm-11pm, then on midnight the generator automatically will switch off and no electrical provided until morning. So for your mobile phone/camera charging, please charge while the electrical on the available time. We suggest you, to bring few of power bank, so you do need to charge your mobile phone or camera for many times.

On May 20th morning about 8.45 am, we need to gather with other people by group on the Loby of Mulu National Discovery Center for our morning activities tour of Clear water caves and Cave of the winds. 

After complete gather of our group member, there was Jasper our guide for Clear Water Caves tour give some briefing to us, the introduction of this tour and what should we do's and don'ts doings and so on.


Take longboat to Melinau River

cruised up to Melinau River


Arriving on Penan LongHouse market

Then, cruise up the Melinau River in a longboat and visit the Penan Longhouse market on the way to Cave of the Winds and Clearwater cave. Usually this market open daily and closed on Sundays.

another briefing by Local village about the Penan Village's history and background 

view of Penan Longhouse


Souvenirs like handmade bracelet and chains for sale in Penan Market 

Local penan

Local Penan demonstrating  how to use one the music tools practice by Penan peoples


video

She was show us the non-poison darts of the 'Sumpit Bambu'


You can also try Sumpit Bambu too

In Malaysia, usually in rural area like in Mulu,Sarawak you can found Sumpit Bambu knowing as a long wooden blowpipe, from which poison-tipped or barbed darts are blown used primarily for hunting on animals.

continue our cruise to  Cave of winds

Arrived at the next stop

waiting the others
In the stop of Cave of winds, as Jasper said before in briefing. There are two group in one trip. We are the group of Cave of the winds trips while the other group will continue cruise to Kuala Litut where located main Camp5 for their trip to Pinnacle Hike.



crystal-clear riverside

another briefing to the cave of wind
trekking about 1000++ steep stairs away to the cave

Have 10 minutes short break
after short break continue our trekking

Finally our group photo taken by Jasper

winds tunnel inside the cave


After visiting the Cave of the Winds, a really cool place, Jasper take us on a short walk further along the river to the nearby Clear water where the river roaring beneath our feet has traveled its subterranean route for over 170km. 

showscave trail

sign board panel if you lost hihihi

starting goint inside to nearby Clear water cave

cool place for sight seeing
Bring your own headlamp for caving
Clear water cave

Giant logs
Giant logs thrown high on the banks and wedged under boulders are evidence of the power of this mighty underground river. Swimming is not permitted in the cave however in the way back outside the cave, we are enjoyed swimming in the crystal-clear waters where the river emerges from the cliff face.

swimming allowed in the crystal-clear water on the outside the cave
Float with the fish and enjoyed the rain forest around and take break and get some snacks.

Have rest and snacks time on the platform
with our guide, Jasper

After some rest in the platform, we went back to the park by longboat were pick us and return to the park around 12.15 pm noon. After some Jamak prayers and lunch, we were back to the Discovery Center park's lobby for evening activities start on 2pm. 

The participants mostly from others countries, if you can see just have some group from Malaysian which us from KL and the other Chinese guys from Penang. Mostly the guide would officially briefing in English cause  most of the visitor come from around the world, most of all are foreigners. 

Evening activities were Deer and Lang Caves and end with Bats exodus. 

our small group of 4 members and our Guide by Christian (in the middle facing to  the camera)

Starting to Deer cave







The squeaking noise would be hear in the cave is the 3 million strong colony of Wrinkle Lipped Bats stirring theme selves as they sense that dusk is not far away and they begin to leave the cave to feed on flying insects.

Deer Cave

While the birds swooping through the darkness are the swifts returning to roost in the cave. While walking into the deer cave and the path continues to wind deeper into blackness of the cave and suddenly you may see the Garden of Eden appears in the distance, a green oasis shining in the sunlight.


Garden of Eden in distance
enclosed valley 

If you have plenty of time, after Deer Cave you may entered into this ancient enclosed valley to the Garden of Eden pool by your own risky. But, usually the Garden of Eden tour need permitted to enter and only available in the morning tour. From the Garden of Eden Pool, you may climb, walk and swim up the Eden River to the walking trails that wind around the valley through a series of waterfalls and rock pools. Its ideal place for picnic lunch, photography, exploring and enjoying the peace.


Garden of Eden waterfall

scenery of Garden of Eden
After trekking of few steep stairs throughout Deer cave, you may also seen the image of Abraham Lincoln on top of the platform tower.

Abraham Lincoln and his girlfriend 

Trail to the Adam and Eve's Showers

Above your head columns of water stream from the the roof to join the river passages that twist and turn through the mountain and continuously enlarging and changing the shape of the cave.

Adam and Eve's Showers spouting
 Adam and Eve's Showers spouting of 30 meters columns of water to the river far below.


pouring water to the nearest river

Pause in Deer Cave's ancient riverbed and wonder at the force of the water that once roared through, tumbling huge boulders around and carving the scalloped walls.

huge boulders



beautiful walls 








Deer Cave is awesome, large and bold which only 100 meters away is Lang Cave. Small and intimate, with walls beautifully decorated with long shawls, layers of rim stone pools on the floor, and throughout the cave, spectacular stalagmites and stalactites.

Lang Cave

 In this smaller cave the bats are easier to see, small white prawns hide in pools of water and shimmering near the roof.


amazing view


Outside the cave

On the way back from Lang Cave
Ended of Lang Cave tour, we went for last activities of bats exodus. 

Waiting for bats exodus

view of Deer and Lang Cave from the Bats observation side

Most of the visitor are foreigners



As the sun moves towards the horizon and the Bat Hawks take up their roost on the cliff face, waiting for the first of the millions of bats to appear. Each evening the bats gather at the cave entrance in large ring-shaped formations, circling higher and higher up the cliff face before moving out across the rain forest in spiraling ribbon.

ring-shaped formations


The bats leave the cave on the most evenings between 5.30 pm and 6.30 pm but on rare occasions do not leave at all. Even more rarely they sometimes leave as early as 4.30 pm and are believed travel up to 100 km from the cave before they return in the early morning.

video
Bats exodus 


Done Bats exodus, we are back to the main park. Got some hi tea on evening then back to our home stay. For 2nd night, we are stayed in Mulu Village, since the hiking group already left, we ask Brenda took our backpacks early morning. Mulu Village about 2km away from the parks but for comfortable rooms, we are prefer to stay in Mulu Village because they provide private room with shared toilet dormitory and free breakfast. Plus they also got free bicycles for their guess and nearby the hot water springs. In Mulu village, it's cost us about RM80/per rooms. They also provides share kitchen were you can cook by your own and brings your own foods (rice, Maggie, can food etc) or else. Besides, you may also wash your laundry here since their provide manual washing machine.


Since one room enough for two peoples,so I share room with Ika, thus it is saving our budget. While Wan in his single room. End our second day, we got interesting chit chat with Brenda, how she was stranded in this village, and get to know of each other. Then Brenda served us with some cooked steam rice, while Ika and Me cooked of Chicken Curry, we bought an instant Chicken Curry can for dinner on the way back from the park.

Mean while, Ika ask for Brenda for the washing machine either available or not. Brenda said yes, you can do your own laundry after your dinner. Brenda really kind hearten and she pity us because of our long day activities. Lucky for Ika, while we ate for dinner, Brenda offers help Ika to do for her's laundry meanwhile Ika, Wan and me still on our dinner. 

Guess what, you never imagined that Brenda actually were a Singaporean tourist which is hiking pinnacle, then she met James,one of the local here then they got married. James was son's of Mulu village headman, their family have been manage homestay for long time ago. So, just imagine when you're in solo trip and travel alone, then get married n forever living here. Yeah Love can be that blind! HAHAHA k next topic.



Morning view of Brenda's guess house

On May 21st, for today activities, we got Canopy Walk started on 8.30 a.m but we miss those trip since Canopy walk group sizes are limited to 8. Then, Wan and me decide to get refunds from the park since we miss our group trip. We can not wait for the another trip since today were last day we're on Mulu Village. Let me just story about this Canopy walk are well known as the Mulu Skywalk, the world's longest tree based canopy walk pathway to discover. About 480 meters walkway, suspended 20 meters above the forest floor winds among the lush tree tops with tranquil river views below and the soaring heights of the nearby limestone cliffs above very fascinate. If you ever experience canopy walk in FRIM Kepong, the Mulu Sky walk two times more fun to explore. 


starting point

canopy walk pathway

view from below

After got refunds, we decide just having a walk around for last round. Then we went to Tree Top Tower and last heading to Paku waterfall.



On the way to Tree Top Tower, we found this big tree...amaze!

Manages to find Tree Top Tower

This Tree Top Tower are 30 meters above the forest floor and provide opportunity to spy on squirrels birds swooping. Then, You can rents the Bird watchers for private use of the tower for dawn (5am- 8am) and dusk (5pm-8pm) on the office for the cost and there is a RM50 fully refundable key deposit to pay. Then we went to hot spring for our last activities.

Mulu Marriott Hotel's Bus

Bullying Wan  HAHAHA .. am too tired to cycling    
On the way to Hot spring



The small pond of hot spring not really called a hot spring because we only can soak our foots and the water are bit smelly. So we are not suggest you all to visit here.

Then me left behind, just taken last photo of Brenda's long house


After got some relaxing in the small pond of hot spring, we cycling back to homestay. Having bath for the last time and pack our stuff then Farera pick us on 12.30 noon transfer to airport.

Thank you Brenda & James for your hospitality :)

Long house look like...

at bridge connecting to Marriott Hotel and waiting for Farera to pick up us..

Bye! Bye Mulu Village, see you next time..Adios!
MULU to Kuching return flight

Around 2.50 pm we'r safely landed Kuching International Airport, our tummy felt a bit hungry even got breakfast on Brenda's homestay this morning then got some snacks from Maswing Airlines, its take about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Mulu to Kuching then we decide just ate lunch in the airport.

first thing to do in Kuching! Laksa Sarawak!
After enough recharged,we rent a 24 hours rent car in the Airport, We need to put about RM200 refundable deposit for our rent car. It cost us around RM140 per day for Saga brand new car. It's a bit expensive compare to the outside Airport rent car dealer, but since we are too lazy to find another one, we just take this rent car on Kuching Airport, so later when we are on the next flight to KL, no need to have another transport, just return back on airport. Am I rite? :)



You may need this later if you fly here on  Kuching Airport.

Sarawak Plat number

Around 4 pm we need to check-in, meanwhile Ika searching for the cheapest hotel in Kuching, Wan is the one who driving car and as usual checking google maps and looking the way to the Kuching Town. It just easy to go outside from the Kuching Airport to the Kuching town. Its just staight away and you'll found Kenyalang Bird status on the right and about few minute, we arrive at the town, manage to find our next hotel stay for our last day in Kuching.

The Kenyalang statue were symbolic of Sarawak's town

We manage to stay at Telang Usan Hotel, located at the back of the town, we choose this hotel because it nearest to the town and airport. This hotel also nearest to some restaurant at night. Its also affordable for the tidy room and got free breakfast.

Telang Usan Hotel Kuching 

maps to Telang Usan Hotel
Based on the maps, just have a strategic location around the Kuching Town distance, beside this hotel nearest to Top Spot Food Court were located our JJCM tour tonight.

Just for you info, for booking reservation we recommended you guys to booked online first via agoda or booking.com because online pricing more cheaper compare to walk-in price.

Kuching Town Map


After settle check-in, we need to explore Kuching Town, we went to Kuching waterfront for some JJCM tours just having some hi-tea in front of Santubong river.

Having Sarawak Layer Cake while waiting our food

These called Mee Kolok...

We just loungers around Kuching Waterfront for some street foods court here, having try once awhile of Mee Kolok Sarawak, it taste same like Mee Basah in Sabah. Ika bought RM10 Sarawak Layer Cake for tester.

Usually tourist buy a famous brand of Sarawak Layer Cake which known as Mira Layer Cake, it located cross over the Santubong river, looking at the map above, where we need took taxi boat at Batu Jetty, that cost of RM1 one way. The across river also have many of interesting place to visit if you got plenty time to explore around Kuching for example like Kampong Boyan Hawkers Center, Fort Margherita, Astana and a lot of its. But we didn't went there since weather are not really good then decide take some walk along the riverfront and looking one by one foods stall and street shops around.

After some walk, we head to Kuching Plaza to survey Sarawak Layer Cake.

Wan manage to bought lumps sum of Sarawak Layer Cake

After having shopping, we drop by to a night market here located in front of Giants, find some interesting foods, souvenir and Flower Chilies.  

Known as Chilies Bunga, the spicy Chili in the world

they bought one of the Cendol Pandan drinks

Last destination tonight, filled our empty tummy....Top Food court famous Seafood Restaurant!

Butter prawns

Chicken Bamboo

Salty Eggs Soft Crabs

Sea Cucumber + Crabs fillet soup

Kerabu Obor-Obor (Jellyfish)
Plus one jag of Flower Tea
Full enough

Actually there are lots of foods stall in Kuching were you can explore, but this were the seafood I suggested to you because it a lot cheaper compare to Semenanjung Land. Those food only cost us abut RM70++. Okay la for three of us rite? We really want to try Lobster, but we afraid of over budget, after full enough then we regrets that at least should try also their Lobster. Their foods were really goods, fresh and delicious too. The Top Food courts located on roof top of Kuching UTC were offers many seafood stall, choose the right one cooked by Chinese muslim in front of Sata and Chicken Bamboo stalls. Got Kerabu Obor-obor really delicious, we'olls have been done repeat order for seconds time. HAHAHA

Morning view from my room

The next day, we need to check-out early due to our flight from Kuching to KL boarding on 12.30 noon. So, after breakfast, we need to rush over Kuching town to bought some more of Sarawak Layers Cake and having our last round visited the Kuching town.


Starting point, Kuching Water front
China Town

Sarawak Cruise

meow!

Cats's statue a must!

found the real cat :P Yes we love Kuching

Then, we heading to Open Air Market just around the corner. Open air market were you can buy lumps sum of textile, clothes, Sarawak's Songket, Batik, hand made craft, Pearls Jewelry or so on.

Ika-the busies woman ever, taking order for Sarawak's songkek, Wan-the non-stop selfie and me-the non-stop eater.
The only guy here, Redha waiting girl keep on shopping

Open Air Market

Inside open air market
Then we continue bought some Sarawak's Songkek that just cost us around as low of RM10, the more you want to buy the more you can bargain to the lower price.

Ladies with her indecisive character 

found another one to compare hahaha leuls woman!

they got little India too..don't play play ;P
the old Bazaar, closed already just been monument here..
In front of this shop, they have a pearls stall bracelet, The real pearl I guess.

Okay la, we bought 3 pairs each and the owner give us discount for RM8 each..hehehe



video

Behind the pearl stall, there is Sarawak layer cake stall that sell cheapest Sarawak layer cake, were you can also bargain for lower price on lumps sum buying.

After done all shopping, we rush over the airport us we did not notice how time flies so fast, our walk start on 9.30 am then after shopping and some walks, it's been around 2.10 pm already. 


After return back the car rent, we run to the check-in counter, by that time already around 2.25 pm, the luggage counter have been closed half hour early before boarding time, we have no choice to carry all the luggage in aircraft. Then, on the counter checking ticket, maybe we might miss those flight KCH-KL since the gate already closed, but manage to pass the ticket counter with our nice pretty face and slow talk with the airline officer. LMAO! Thanks to those Air Asia stewards, which understand us, if not, we might miss our flight to KL. HIHIHI ;B

After pass the ticket counter, we run like having explore race to find our boarding gate, the gates was like the end of the world. You known that feeling, when you'are already late then the place you need to go like the far as you have in the world. HAHAHA. That's really unforgettable moments, when we run like we have pass another obstacle, then experience another one. leulz. Really amazing and fun experience. Around 2.45 pm, we manage found our boarding gate and what the ridiculous thing are when everybody already inside the plane then three of us are the one just manage arrive on plane. After seated. They not boarding yet, since our departing time were on 3.05 pm to KL. The next time, don't do this, you might miss those flight.


gladly not just us are late, still have many empty seat

Bye! Bye! Kuching see you next time! we miss your foods!
  
One day in Kuching town for me won't be enough, maybe next time, I want to explore Kuching again for their foods, art museum, attractions and culture.
They got many attraction actually in Kuching like National Park of Bako Forest, Mt. Santubong, Sarawak Long House Village Culture and variety of arts museum and foods cafe. Maybe you can also ask Mr. Google that's might give you a lot of information regarding Kuching attractions. 

Thank you waiting a compilation of Sarawak's outdoor activities and leisure on this post. Thanks again for reading. Have fun on Sarawak, may my post are useful on your next trip. Adios!





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