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Sarawak, Malaysia

Mulu Pinnacles Trek

Gunung Mulu National Park provides the full explorer experience: going down the river, delving into the world's largest caves, hiking through the jungle, and ascending steep, gnarly trails at Mt Api. Although it was Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage area, Mulu still feels very much hidden to the world. There is a sense of drama to being there - from witnessing the ballet of birds and bats in Mulu's majestic cave systems to marvelling at the limestone pinnacles jutting out from the top of Mt. Api, as if the tombstones of giants.


To reach Gunung Mulu National Park, you'll need to fly into Mulu Airport. The guide will pick you up from Mulu Airport.

There are daily flights into Mulu from Miri, and flights four times a week into Mulu from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching respectively. Most people fly into Mulu from Miri because of the daily flights.

Every group that visits Gunung Mulu National Park will be assigned a state park guide who will take them through the caves and lead them on the Mt. Api climb, so if you want a basic, no-frills experience, you do not need a private guide to take you around. However, we have found from our own journey to Mulu that there is great value added by a private guide who can help pace you up the steep mountain trail, give you more context to what what you're seeing on the trail and pamper you a little at camp with freshly prepared meals. It was a challenging trek so we definitely appreciated the pampering!

You should have a pretty good level of physical fitness for this trip, primarily because of the very steep Mt. Api climb which is 2.4km in length (1.2km each way) and will take 6-7 hours. You should also be fine with wading through water (in case of low water levels, it may be necessary to jump in the river to help push the boat along) and not be afraid of confined spaces such as caves. You should also have the ability to carry your own light pack with water (about 3 litres is recommended) and food.

This trip can be done all year round. However, note that monsoon season (November to February) can at times make the trek more difficult, with the trails becoming muddy and slippy. If the rain is very heavy, there is a higher chance of the hike up Mt Api being cancelled.

The only difference between the options here is the accommodation provided on the first night. If you fancy spoiling yourself before your challenging explorer's journey around Gunung Mulu National Park, pick the Marriott option. If you are happy with a comfortable and cozy stay at a local lodge, pick the Bernarat Lodge option. The accommodation for the second and third nights will be at Camp 5 in Gunung Mulu National Park, regardless of the option you pick.

Day 1: In the morning, meet the guide at Mulu Airport and transfer to the hotel/lodge for check in. After lunch, visit Deer Cave and Lang Cave. In the evening, witness thousands of bats flying overhead Deer Cave where they hunt for insects.

Day 2: After breakfast, visit the local Penan tribe at Batu Bungan Penan Settlement before heading to Wind Cave by boat. Then visit the Clearwater Cave, the Lady's Cave and the underground river. Swim/picnic by Clearwater Spring. After lunch, go by boat beyond Clearwater Cave to Long Lutu. From Long Lutu, take an easy three hours' walk through virgin forest to the bank of the Melinau River and camp overnight at Camp 5.

Day 3: After an early breakfast, steep climb for four hours up Mt Api to a viewpoint overlooking the Pinnacles. Return to Camp 5 for another overnight stay.

Day 4: Return on foot to Long Lutu and by boat down the Melinau River to Mulu airport.

Headlamp/torch
Backpack
Insect repellent
Sunscreen
Sunglasses
Hat
Swimwear
Dry bag
Hiking boots
Sandals
Long socks
Towels
Clothing (e.g. waterproof jacket, long trousers, long sleeves top as it gets cold at night, short sleeves for the daytime)
Mosquito net (for the nights at Camp 5)
Snacks for the trail 
Basic first aid items (ibuprofen, bandaids, gauze, antiseptic)

Please note that all prices exclude Malaysian Tourism tax of RM10 per room per night. This only applies to non-homestay and non-dormitory accommodation. We totally get you - it's a bother to have to consider this extra charge all the time. We're looking to see if the providers can incorporate this into their pricing so please be patient with us.