from pinnacles with love..(errrr, bruises)
salams and hello,
as promised, presenting you —-> my experience in the Mulu National Park & pinnacles trip ~
last February, 2009, I managed to squezzed a trip to Borneo..apparently, a trip to borneo is like an annual affair for me..he he he, last year we visited Sabah with pakcu, makcu, angah, along and bamin..this year we went to Mulu, Sarawak…unfortunately pakcu and makcu couldnt come for this trip as there is cute Ashman to look for..addition of the new member is Mr Shahadan Jamaludin a.k.a Matde..
In order to get to Mulu, you can fly with Air Asia (KL-Miri) and from Miri you should take MASWings (Miri-Mulu). You can find the best Milo drink in MASWings flight, hehe..it tastes like heaven, the creamy and exquisite taste of chocolate drip into your mouth is an absolute experience. once we reached Mulu, there’s a taxi (more like 4×4) which took us to the Mulu National Park and the trip costs us rm5 per person.
After checked in at the Mulu National Park, we went out to explore the spectacular Mulu caves. Mulu was successfully listed as a World Heritage site in November 2000. Plus, Mulu possesses some of the largest caves in the World. That’s why it has been my dream to come here, to witness the cave by myself and experience climb up the pinnacles. We can visit lots of caves in Mulu and can do caving activities with different levels rated as Introduction, Intermediate and Advanced. We just visited certain show caves on that day, which are Deer and Lang caves.
It was just an easywalk (3km) along a small river through the rain forest to both of these caves. The distance between Deer cave and Lang cave is just 100m away. Deer cave is the World’s largest cave passage. There are a huge population of bat in this caves, which mostly is the colony of Wrinkle Lipped bats. No wonder we can smell stinky and hear the squeak noise of 3000 bats! Oppositely, the Lang cave is quite small, yet beautiful with the magnificent of stalagmites and stalactites.
After visited the caves, we waited at the Bat Observatory to view the the evening exodus of millions of bats flying out from the Deer Cave to hunting for food. Please do click the play button of the videos below! It was an amazing experience of mine to witnessed the secret life of bats flying together like a ring-shaped formations or seems like a huge dragon flying in the sky!
After watched the eye-catching of millions bat flying in the sky, we jogged back to our hostel. yeah.. jog, not walk hehe.. this was part of training for the pinnacles expedition.
We departed from the national park early morning for a long boat ride along the Melinau River. We stopped by at the Long house market village to buy some handmade souvenirs of Iban’s community village overthere.
We also visited several caves; Clearwater, Lady fingers and Wind Caves nearby the river. My favourite cave so far is Wind Cave. It is so beautiful and unique!
We even swimming in the crystal clear water near the Clearwater cave. It was awesome! Oh yeah, the cave pasages of Clearwater Cave in the Mulu National park is the 8th longest in the world and might be the largest volume in the world.
We continue our boat ride to Camp 5 for the pinnacles climbing activities on the next day. Along the way, we sometimes had to come out from the boat and push it onward especially in the shallow areas. Although it was quite tiring but it was an exciting experience, perhaps. We had to continue our journey by walking 8.8km trek through the rain forest in order to arrive Camp 5. It took about 2hour and 10 mins for us to arrive camp 5. It was an easy walking trek but quite exhausting cause we have to carry our heavy backpacks along. Some people even took about 3-5 hours to arrive camp 5!
Arriving Camp 5.. and then.. what are u waiting for?? swimming in the crystal clear Melinau river! At night, we cooked our own dinner, played cards and made some new friends with foreigner tourists. 2 guys from Australia will join our group for tomorrow’s pinnacles expedition.
yeah.. this is the day that ive been waiting for.. climb up Mount Api to view the spectacular pinnacles from the peak of the mountain. The MOST important thing to bring along is WATER! yeah. enough WATER is a MUST! 1.5-2 L of water is recommended. The Mt Api is 1175m above sea level and the trail up to Mt Api is 2.4 km, and please dont ever think that this is just a short and easy trek.. yeah it is quite short if we compare with other mountains..but 2.4 is not a normal trek. It is so steep and strenuous climb to the limestone pinnacles! the trail was challenging and physically demanding. According to our guide, not many people can easily reach at the top but only at the baby pinnacles of +-1.5km trail.
Unfortunately, it was raining during the early of our climbing so that we have to take a break at the baby pinnacles while waiting for the rain to stop pouring the ground. Our guide didnt allowed us to continue climbing due to slippery and high possibility of small branches to crack and fell down on us. We continue back our expedition up to the peak when the rain was about to stop.
At the end of the trail, there is a warning board to remind people not to continue climbing up the vertical if they arrive there over 11 am. Yeah..We managed to arrive there quite early, around 915am. To continue up to the top starting from that point, we have to climb the vertical mostly with ropes and ladders. There are 15 aluminium ladders strategically being placed to help climbers up to the peak.
Pheww.. the ladders were scary for me as I am quite afraid with height. Almost all ladders are positioned 180° and obviously very high and steep! Yeap fitness is important to climb up the mountain, but for this experience, MENTALLY should also be well prepared! It was scary but somehow quite exciting. haahaa.. during the climbing, I really dont want to imagine how are we going to go down through this 180° vertical. What I want at that moment was quickly reach the top and see the pinnacles.
YEAYYY… all of us managed to reach the top and view the magnificent pinnacles! It takes about 3hrs 30mins for us to arrive the top of Mt Api. I was totally amazed with the beautiful, unique and huge pinnacles up there. Our efforts were rewarded by the view of pinnacles! According to our guide, fit trekkers usually will be able to reach the top in 2-3 hours and moderate people around 4-5 hours. And.. unfit people hardly can reach the top. At the peak of Mt Api, we spent an hour taking photos, resting and fueling ourself with some food.
We descent slowly and arrived back to the camp 5 around 3pm. We even fell down several time due to slippery and left some bruises on our leg, well..this were the presents from pinnacles. hehe.. Once back to the Camp 5.. we straightly jump into the river, playing, swimming and relaxing! yayyyy..
Went back home on the next day.. tiring but SATISFIED! What an amazing and worth experience. Thanks Allah for giving me a splendid experience exploring Mulu national park, climbing Mt Api and viewing spectacular PINNACLES. I can feel that climbing Mt Api has also build up my confidence level 🙂
hope to go there again, and do the adventures explores caving activities~
Credited to Along for all those beautiful photos. Also thanks to amin, munie, matde for gila-gila and happy trip with u guys. and of coz thanks to mak ayah for allowing amin to accompany me, hehe.