After we left Indonesia, our next destination was the rainforest of Borneo. I think that all of us (or at least some of us) at some point have wanted to see just how exactly Tarzan or Maugli lived and this was an opportunity to explore one of the few remaining jungle environments in the world.
Borneo is the 3rd largest non-contintal island in the world and is divided between 3 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
We headed to a national park called Gunung Mulu, located in Sarawak – Malaysian side of the Borneo. Mulu is a pretty inaccessible area; the only practical way of getting to and from it is by air. It is possible to travel to the area by riverboat, but it requires a chartered long boat for the last part – and the whole trip by river would take around 12 hours to complete. So we decided to fly in and then hike out (by walking and taking the boat part of the way) out of the park.
I think that it is one of those places where pictures will do more justice than words. Hope you like them!
Fauna: Our Friends in the Jungle
The diversity and abundance of various insects, bugs and other creepy-crawlers was amazing (at least now that you think about it from a comfortable bed – when you havve things crawling on you whenever you’re asleep or awake, they are not so amazing anymore). Below are just a few examples of what we managed to capture on camera.
Flora – Peak Under the Jungle Canopy
Even the camera had a hard time capturing the overall environment, so these are just some specific bits and pieces.
River and The Boat Ride
Our plan was to fly in to the rainforest on one end and then trek our way to another side of it. In order to cover the distance, we had to hire several local boat to take us up the river.
The park is famous for its caves and the expeditions that have been mounted to explore them. Mulu’s Sarawak Chamber is the largest natural chamber in the world, and Deer Cave is the largest cave passage known to man. According to the guides it is big enough to fit St. Peter’s Basilica or several jumbojets inside.
While the caves are interesting on their own, the best part is what happens at night – when the sun comes down. One of the caves, the Deer Cave, is home to over 2 million bats, who come out on their feeding rounds every evening at dusk. Apparently, the bats leaving Deer Cave consume over 50 tonnes of insects every night, and may travel 50km in search of food.
It is really quite an amazing sight. I highly recommend that you check out the two videos below to see it:
Finish Line – The Predators of the Jungle
When we finished our trek through the rainforest and the river, we came out to a small little village where we had to catch a van going to the closest town.
While waiting, we got some food at a street vendor and immediately got surrounded by the local predators: