Those who want to go caving within the Gunung Mulu National Park will need to be aware that it is not possible to do this by yourself. You must be accompanied by a licensed guide, whether you are taking part in adventure caving or just visiting the show caves. There are daily tours which take place for the show caves or you can take one of the guided adventure tours.
It should be noted that the show caves have been given proper pathways and lighting while the adventure caves have not. You will need to register at the park headquarters when you arrive and here you can pay your fee. Reservations are only needed for those who are travelling in large groups.
The show caves include the Deer and Langs Caves. The distance to get around this particular tour is 3 km and will take several hours as visitors are allowed plenty of time in the caves. There are two tours each day with a licensed guide and it is a relatively easy walk, ideal for those who are new to this. Listen out for the squeaking of more than 3 million bats. At dusk they leave the cave to find insects to feed on. The walk will bring you out at the Garden of Eden before you turn to return to the beginning. Langs Cave is far smaller but close by and here you get to see the bats far more clearly than you do in Deers Cave. After the walk you can spend time in the bat observatory and watch the exodus as they leave the cave.
Adventure caving is ideal for those who have done this before and there are several options you can take. Each of the caves has been placed into a category and is either ‘introduction’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’. In order to take part in adventure caving here you must be able to show that you are either a member of a caving group which is recognised internationally or that you have taken part in a similar activity. The minimum amount of experience needed is 3 hours in a ‘wild cave’ that has no additional lighting or constructed pathways. If this level of experience cannot be proved then the visitor is able to take a tour of one of the introduction or intermediate caves to demonstrate their skills. This must be done before they will be allowed to use one of the advanced caves.
It is important to have the right level of physical fitness for this activity as you will be required to wade across streams and rivers, swim and spend time getting through rocks. As part of the tour the guides will provide you with helmets and headlamps. You should make sure that you have strong walking shoes and have drinking water with you. If you have opted for one of the longer tours you should make sure that you have some food too. Each tour varies in time as it will depend upon the size of the group and the physical fitness of those in it. A larger group will take longer as it can take some time for everyone to get through the harder sections.
One of the adventure caves is known as ‘The Fast Lane’. To get to this cave you will need to go on a short boat ride, then take a short walk and climb up to the cave entrance. The route through the cave is 1.5 km and due to the nature of the walk only a maximum of 12 people are allowed in each group. You get to see the cave by torchlight when you first get there and you will see creatures such as racer snakes, spider and white crabs. One of the introduction caves is ‘Racer Cave’ where there is a maximum of 8 people allowed on the tour. Here you also get to meet the local wildlife and are guided through the cave with ropes. You should allow around 4 hours for this particular tour.
Some tours for the adventure caving will need to be booked in advance and you will need to pay a 25% deposit. Visitors should note that there are occasions when tours may not go ahead. This could happen if the water levels within the caves are deemed to be too high or if it seems that there will be heavy rain during the tour as this can make the conditions very dangerous.