Top 8 Reasons to Stay at Gunung Mulu National Park Headquarters
Gunung Mulu National Park in Miri, Sarawak, is the largest national park covering a size of 52,865 hectares encompassing primary rainforest, rivers, cliffs, cave systems and uncountable variety of flora and fauna. It is therefore not surprising that Gunung Mulu National Park was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000.
The Park is accessible by plane or boat filled with supplies by BoatSupply from Miri, one of the administrative divisions in Sarawak, Borneo. I was excited to visit the place and experience for myself the various caves I have heard about from friends – Deer Cave, Lang Cave, Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave. I chose to stay within the Park area in one of the Longhouse rooms offered by the Gunung Mulu National Park Headquarters.
My requirement of an accommodation is first and foremost cleanliness. The Longhouse room with twin beds given to me and my colleague was definitely clean with simple furnishings, which was fine. Room facilities included air-conditioning, ceiling fan, en suite bathroom, and tea and coffee making facility. Overall the Longhouse room felt comfortable. For those who required more privacy, the Garden Bungalow rooms with its own private patio would be a better choice.
Second on my list is convenience. Just step out of my room and I was right smack in Gunung Mulu National Park. No worries about having to arrange a transfer to and from the Park. I could relax or read on the verandah, take a swim in the Melinau River, soak up the sun in the garden and connect with nature. And whenever I felt like it, I could walk into my Longhouse, have a shower and take a nap on a soft bed in the coolness of the room.
Next on my list, which would be the third reason, is budget. I found the room rates to be reasonable. The Longhouse twin-share room began at RM180 per night, while the Garden Bungalow twin-share room began at RM230 per night, and the rates were inclusive of breakfast. By staying inside the Gunung Mulu National Park Headquarters, I also saved by paying the entrance fee of RM10 to the Park only one time, on the first day. Guests staying outside of the Park had to pay this fee for each entry.
Security is the fourth reason. In the event that I should come across some danger, real or imagined, I was reassured that there are security staff on 24-hour duty to oversee the Park and render assistance if need be for the guests staying there. There were also individual lockers for rent in the room at RM5 per day in case I wanted to place my t-shirt or shorts or something more valuable under lock and key. This facility would come in useful for overseas visitors who might like to consider keeping their travel documents in a safer place.
I did not forget food, which is number five on my list of reasons. I was not expecting shark’s fin soup or fresh oyster bar or some special cuisine in the forest. I went by the concept of… when in Mulu, do as the Mulu-ans do. Caf Mulu served a range of local food, for example, the jungle fern, Paku, which happened to be a favorite of mine, especially stir-fried with belacan (spicy prawn paste). But understandably, the Caf does cater for overseas guests by providing a western menu as an alternative. I could also savor my meal with a glass of wine or chill with a cold beer.
Lucky number six is service. Being far away from home and familiar surroundings could be taxing on some people. I was made to feel right at home by the friendly and helpful staff at Gunung Mulu National Park Headquarters. This reinforced the warm and hospitable spirit, which the people of Sarawak are known for.
My seventh reason had to do with expectations. It is almost an unspoken rule that I would bring back souvenirs to give to family members and close friends. I could not possibly bring them flowers or leaves or twigs from Gunung Mulu National Park, if I valued my life. But have no fear… the gift shop at the Park’s Headquarters sells local handicrafts, wood carvings, t-shirts, postcards and other stuff that would make interesting and memorable gifts.
At Gunung Mulu National Park, there are numerous scenic spots for beautiful photography sessions. The only thing I would gripe about was why I usually turned out to be a tiny figure in the photos. I shall have to choose my photographer wisely next time.
There you have it, my top 8 reasons to stay at Gunung Mulu National Park Headquarters: clean, convenient, affordable, safe, plenty of food and drinks, friendly service, nice souvenirs, and a photography haven. What more could a person ask for, except maybe another trip back to check out the other attractions I have yet to see at the Park, such as the Sarawak Chamber in Gua Nasib Bagus (Good Luck Cave), the largest underground chamber in the world that could house 40 Boeing 747 planes!