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Caves Malaysia Sarawak Travel

Upriver to the Cave of the Winds

Our adventure in Sarawak continues. In our first day in Gunung Mulu National Park, we were able to visit two of the four show caves in the park. The massive Deer Cave and the small yet impressive jellyfish-like rock formations at Lang Cave. This time we rode a boat at Melinau river to reach our first cave for the day, Cave of the Winds. But before that, we took a quick side-trip at a Penan Settlement to get a glimpse of the life of an endangered ethnic tribe.

Our adventure in Sarawak continues. In our first day in Gunung Mulu National Park, we were able to visit two of the four show caves in the park. The massive Deer Cave and the small yet impressive jellyfish-like rock formations at Lang Cave. This time we rode a boat at Melinau river to reach our first cave for the day, Cave of the Winds. But before that, we took a quick side-trip at a Penan Settlement to get a glimpse of the life of an endangered ethnic tribe.

A group of tourists on a longboat at Melinau river
A group of tourists on a longboat at Melinau river

Melinau River

It always amuses me how our languages sounds similar to the rest of our neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. The Melinau river (Sungai Melinau), is a tributary to Tutoh river, one of the many rivers cutting through the Gunung Mulu National Park landscape. The name sounds similarly to our tagalog “malinaw” which means “clear”. The national park headquarters and our resort Mulu Marriott is located by this river. The soft flow, green river is utilized by locals as a means of transport.

We excitedly boarded a motorized longboat for our trip that took us on a ride along the lush winding river upstream.

A side-trip to a Penan Settlement by the river
A side-trip to a Penan Settlement by the river

Penan Settlement

About 15-20 minutes into our ride, we stopped by a Penan Settlement. A rustic riverside village by the ethnic tribe, Batu Bungan. Bungan is a beautiful fairy from the tribe’s local folklore and believed to have died at the prominent rock near the village. Thus they were named Batu Bungan.

The Batu Bungan rocks overlooking the small village
The Batu Bungan rocks overlooking the small village

It’s interesting to look at the nomadic lifestyle of the Batu Bungan tribe. The village has a tourist center where we can learn more about them and also purchase some handicrafts and souvenirs. Again the resemblance from our own tribes aren’t far, especially from the ethnic weaving and textile patterns. It was short visit and I got to enjoy trying out blowguns darts.

Souvenir shops
Souvenir shops
Blowguns target practice
Blowguns target practice

Cave of the Winds

It took only a shorter ride, maybe 10 minutes before we reached the wooden platform and stairs that would take us to the opening of Cave of the Winds. Also named as the Wind Cave, it was named as such as often times there’s a cool breeze blowing through the cave.

Cave of the Winds entrance
Cave of the Winds entrance

The pathway inside Cave of the Winds is 350 meters long, quite small but personally has one of the most picturesque chambers I’ve seen in a cave. The King’s Chamber, has a surreal set of stalagmites, stalactites and plenty of dramatic columns. As such, our guide, Jangin, pointed us to a set of rocks which resembles the nativity of Christ with the three kings.

Cave of the Winds is also a jump-off point to a more technical and challenging trail. This trail lead to the main chamber of the Clearwater Cave as the wind cave is also part of that cave system. Special permits and guides are needed to access this more adventurous trail. Of course with little time, we headed back where we came, rode along our longboat to our last cave exploration.

Start of the 350 plank walk
Start of the 350 plank walk
Skylight chamber
Skylight chamber
At the King's Chamber
At the King’s Chamber
Impressive columns at the chamber
Impressive columns at the chamber
Stones resembling a scene in the nativity of christ
Stones resembling a scene in the nativity of christ
The technical cave connection trail to Clearwater Cave
The technical cave connection trail to Clearwater Cave

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