Deer Cave at Mulu National Park

Mulu Park Deer Cave Sarawak
The Deer Cave at the Mulu National Park in Sarawak is one of the places you must not miss when travelling to this part of Sarawak, Borneo.

It is also one of the main attractions in the park, and there are also two other caves which is also a paradise for naturalist and adventurers who love Ecotourism.

This was also my 4th visit to the Deer Cave (Gua Rusa in Malay), and every time I go there, I get this amazing feeling once inside.

The Deer Cave in Mulu is also the world's largest cave passage at 174 metres wide and 122 metres high. Some people refer to this cave as the Bat Cave because of the millions of bats that fly out in the evenings.

Deer Cave at Mulu National Park

Mulu Deer Cave Entrance
The entrance to the deer cave in Mulu
Anyone who visits the national park will be assured that you will be visiting these caves as they are all located around the park's vicinity. 

The Mulu National Park also organises daily trips to the Deer Cave, Lang Cave and watches the millions of bats fly out from the Deer Cave. There are two trips a day which is at 1.45pm and 2.30pm.

To get to the Deer Cave, one has to trek about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your trekking speed, through the rainforest of the Mulu National Park.

If you are staying at the Mulu Resort, you can book your tour from the counter at the reception area or travel to the park headquarters and book your tour to the caves.

Park rangers and guides are all English-speaking and highly trained, so you can ask them anything you want about the park's caves.

Gua Rusa Mulu
A covered walkway into the deer caves here
How Did Deer Cave Get Its Name? 

Some visitors would be asking this question, as when you visit the Deer Cave, you will never see any deer inside the caves.

A long time ago, the local tribe people who lived around this area used to hunt deer in the caves. They would herd the deer into the cave and corner the deer inside.

Trekking To The Mulu Deer Cave

Your journey to the caves starts from the park headquarters, where you will take a casual trek on a wooden boardwalk.

Along the way, your park guide will be explaining a lot about flora and fauna of Mulu, and your walk will take about 30 minutes before you come to a rest point.

The rest stop, the journey to the Deer Cave is about five minutes on foot, and you will come to a canopy walkway.

During my walk, I had asked my guide about the rainforest canopy, and he told me that it was to shelter the guest walking when the bats are flying above, and you do not want bat guano on your head. I don't know if that was a joke or real.

Soon, we reached the main intersection leading to the Deer Cave and Lang Cave, and we proceeded into the main cave.

Flora Plants at Deer Cave Mulu
Cave plants or flora in bright fresh green
Entering the cave, you will see many cave flora or vegetation growing all over the place, and they look pretty green and healthy.

I checked again with Mr Guide, and yes, the bat droppings or guano was a healthy fertilizer for the cave plants growing there.

A video of the Deer Cave entrance as you go in


Mulu Deer Cave Tortoise Rock
A rock formation of a tortoise head seen as you walk into the cave
Walking into the caves, I could not help but notice massive and huge boulders and rocks around the path area.

One of them stood out and resembles a giant tortoise head. It is also tricky and best viewed from an angle, as in the picture above.

The walkway is made from wood and concrete, twists and snakes around bends and large boulders.

As the dark walkways have some lighting, not to worry, giving you a basic view as you trek in. But do not forget your torch lights here.

You should remember to come prepared as the guano or bat droppings can make the surface or walkway slippery. So be careful when you walking into the cave.

Abraham Lincoln Rock formation Mulu Sarawak
The rock formation of Abraham Lincoln seen from inside the Deer Cave
Rock Formation of Abraham Lincoln

Here's something that totally caught me off guard, as after getting deeper into the cave, my guide asked me to turn back and look at the cave opening.

To my surprise, I could not believe it, and I swear it was Abraham Lincoln in a silhouette. Totally fascinated, the profile was formed by the different layers of rocks.

And you can only view this from a particular angle inside the cave. Amazing what mother nature can do by showing us the famous US president Abraham Lincoln here in Malaysia.

A video of the cave from my pocket camera video


Water falling from the cave ceiling of the cave.
The journey continues much deeper into the cave, and along the way, you notice streams of water falling from the ceiling of the cave.

This is a beautiful sight, and if you are lucky, you might pass one just next to the walkway as you never know where they will fall.

My guide had asked me if I wanted to try drinking the water, and so I did. How did it taste? The water is freezing, fresh and nice.

Deer Cave Mulu Park
The Mulu Deer Cave is known as the largest cave passage in the world
If you are wondering just how big is the Deer Cave, take a look at the photo above. From my experience, it is really huge and possibly one of the largest caves I have visited.

Photos inside Mulu Deer Cave
The colours of the walls are amazing, with beautiful dark green and grey hues and tones.
Gua Mulu
Deep inside the cave with the entrance at a distance
At one part deep inside the cave, and after about 15 minutes of walking, I turned around to see the cave mouth at a distance.

It's quite amazing when you see the cave mouth view with the natural light reflecting against the water on the cave floors.

This is also the most famous angle for a lot of the Mulu Caves photos that you see. A lot of photographers come here to take this photo from the location inside here.

Photography Deer Cave Mulu
A kind of river that runs inside the main chamber of the Deer Cave
Some of the walking paths at the Deer Cave have a wooden walkway with rope rails, and I should warn you not to hold the ropes or rails along the way as they are full of guano.

Again, those who cannot stand the smell of the bat droppings should either bring a face mask laced with some perfume or do not risk it as the smell can be awful.

After you continue walking along the path deeper into the caves, you will eventually reach a place called The Garden Of Eden.

This beautiful place is actually an opening in the cave's ceiling, where cave flora grows healthy with the sunlight hitting it.

Mulu Deer Cave Bats Circling
Bats circling at Mulu deer cave entrance
After you have reached the Garden of Eden, it is time to turn back; you will continue in deeper unless you are with a special caving group.

You will turn around and head back out to your next adventure for most general visitors, which is at the Bat Observatory, located just outside the cave area.

Usually, the timing for your cave walk would end at about 4.00 pm to 5.00 pm, and this is the time the millions of bats start to leave the cave for their daily food hunt.

So just before reaching the cave entrance, if you look up, you should see the bats on their voyage out. This only happens if you leave the cave at 5.00 or 6.00 PM.

What is amazing about these bats is that they will circle for a few minutes before proceeding out in a wavy single line when they reach the cave mouth.

Not many people get a chance to see this spectacular sight; as usual, the guides would usher you to the Bat Observatory to view the bats flying out of the caves.

So, it all depends on the timing of the bats flying out. The usual time they leave the caves are about 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm, just before it gets dark.

But there have been cases where the weather changes and gets gloomy at around 4.00 PM, and the bats suddenly decide to come out. So, do check the weather or ask your guide about this.

On occasions, they may leave earlier, so on your way out of the caves, just keep an eye at the cave mouth ceiling as you would not want to miss this mother nature spectacle.

Deer Cave Photo Malaysia Asia
Taking a quick pose with the cave walls. Mind you, this was before the social media sickness.
Conclusion

During my exploration trip here, I has also visited the other popular cave called the Mulu Clearwater Cave, which is another adventure altogether.

And no, you are not able to visit both caves in a day unless you totally rush both experiences, which you will miss out on a lot. I recommend doing one a day.

And when I was here, I stayed at the former Royal Mulu Resort, a five-star rainforest resort and the only one here. The other accommodations are just guesthouses and dorms or at the Mulu National Park lodging.

The Deer Cave at the Mulu National Park is one of the most visited places in Sarawak and is the perfect escape for anyone who loves nature, ecotourism and the rainforest here in Borneo.
Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.

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