Gunung Mulu NP, Part 2: The Rainforest

The caves are what makes Gunung Mulu stand out from other National Parks in Borneo, but the rainforest is also pretty good. There are and 3 longer trails which require a guide and will take from 2 to 4 days: the Pinnacles Route to the Gunung Api area, The Headhunter’s Trail towards Limbang and the Summit Trail to 2300m Gunung Mulu. Access to these trails is limited by availability of guides and accommodation, especially at Camp 5 for the Pinnacles and Headhunter’s. We had 5 days at the park and tried to book one of them immediately when we arrived but all were fully booked, so we explored the area around park HQ in detail and did some adventure caving.

Apart from that there are some ok trails around park HQ, most of which branch off the 3km plankwalk that leads to Deer Cave. The first path on the left after leaving park HQ is a small and winding plankwalk through an interesting forest section (there is a sign that reads ‚Nighttrail‘). It meets with the Moonmilk Trail after about 1km and if you walk left at the junction you‘ll come back to park HQ after another 400m, making this a circular path. We took this trail several times, both at day and night with a very bright torch. We found various lizards, geckos, cicadas, stick insects, leaf insects, several tree frogs species, spiders, giant crickets and many other strange insects.


Spider


Some insect


molting cicada

My favorite find was Wagler’s Pit Viper though:

A juvenile specimen of Wagler’s Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri)

The Paku Waterfall Trail leads to a small waterfall (surprise!) and it is the only path that is neither a plankwalk nor paved near park HQ. The waterfall is not that exciting so the path is the goal. We took the path twice and the second time it started raining like hell when we were at the waterfall, about 2.5km from HQ. Puddles formed and merged until the path resembled a swamp but we had forgotten to bring the umbrella and where completely soaked anyway so in the end we gave up on trying to avoid the mud and water and just walked straight through. It was fun, the forest was interesting and we met very few people on this trail (not only when it rained) so this ‚Rain trail‘ is highly recommended. ;)


Tree frog

The last trail is the one that passes through Moonmilk cave and onwards to Cave of the Wind and Clearwater cave. It follows the river you cross when entering the park in a straight line of about 2km. We saw tons of lizards, a small brown ground-dwelling snake and many large and very colorful butterflies. Bring a torch for Moonmilk Cave.


Butterflies on the trail to Moonmilk Cave

There also is a bird watching tower close to park HQ (get the key for a deposit at HQ) and you can sign up for a canopy skywalk, which is great and shouldn‘t be missed. We went at 7 in the morning and were alone with our guide. We saw squirrels, small birds and an impressive pit viper, enjoyed the forest in silence and had a great time.


Canopy Skywalk


adult specimen of Wagler’s Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) resting in the canopy