Deer Cave at Mulu National Park, Sarawak Borneo


Deer Cave (Gua Rusa) in
Mulu National Park Sawarak

Deer Cave in Mulu - View form the Bat Observatory

The Deer Cave (Gua Rusa in Malay) at Mulu National Park in Sarawak is one of the places which you must visit when traveling Sarawak. It is also one of the main attractions in the park as there are 2 caves to visit while exploring the park which is Sarawak's largest park which is also a paradise for naturalist and adventurers who love Eco tourism.

This was my 4th visit to the Deer Cave and every time I go there, I get this amazing feeling once inside. The Deer cave 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 as well. Not 'the' Batman cave.

For your knowledge, the Mulu National Park organises daily trips to the Deer Cave, Lang Cave and Bat Watching twice a day at 1.45pm and 2.30pm. Also, how did it get that name? It is known that the local tribe people there used to hunt deer in the caves. They would herd the deer in and corner the deer in the caves.

Mulu Deer Cave Entrance

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. This can only be done with a park guide who are usually very knowledgeable and friendly. They are mainly Sarawakians who speak good English. On reaching the end of the trek, you will see a nice rest stop with toilets. This is the Bat Observatory where guest can sit and enjoy the view of the bats flying out every evening. It is from here you go to the Deer Cave and also the Lang Cave.

Mulu Deer Cave - Covered walkway before entering the cave

From the rest stop, the journey to the Deer Cave is about 5 minutes by foot and you will come to a canopy walkway. I asked my guide about the canopy, and he told me that it was to shelter the guest walking when the bats are flying above. You do not want bat guano on your head. Ok, makes sense.

Mulu Deer Cave - Cave plants or flora in bright fresh green

Entering the Deer Cave, you will see lots of cave flora or vegetation. They are amazingly green and healthy. I checked again with Mr.Guide and yes, the bat droppings or guano was healthy fertilizer for the cave plants growing there.

A video of the Deer Cave entrance as you go in


Mulu Deer Cave - Tortoise head rock formation

Your walk into the caves will take you past various huge boulders. One even resembles a giant tortoise head from an angle as the picture above. The path, which is made from concrete and wood snakes around bends and large boulders. Not to worry as the dark walkways are lit with lighting. But do not forget your torch lights here too. And please, no slippers or heels! The guano or bat droppings can make the surface slippery.

Mulu Deer Cave - Abraham Lincoln rock profile

After getting deeper into the Deer Cave, your guide will ask you to turn back and look at the cave opening. This is where you will see the famous Abraham Lincoln profile formed by the different layers of rocks. Only at one angle, you can see this formation. Amazing what mother nature can do by showing us the famous US president, Abraham Lincoln here in Malaysia.

A video of the cave. Please excuse the poor quality as I used my pocket camera video


Mulu Deer Cave - Water falling from the cave ceiling

The journey continues much deeper and along the way, you see 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. The water is really cold and nice.

Mulu Deer Cave - Largest cave passage in the world

Just how big is the Deer Cave? Well, from my experience, it is really huge. From the picture above, you can make the comparison of the people walking.

Colours of the walls are amazing with beautiful dark green and grey hues and tones

Mulu Deer Cave - Left small light are torches of people walking

At one part of the Deer Cave, when you turn around to see the cave mouth, you will see an amazing view with the natural light reflecting against the water on the cave floors.

David poses with the Deer Cave walls

Mulu Deer Cave - View of the cave entrance

Some of the walking paths at the Deer Cave have a wooden walkway with rope rails. I should warn you not to hold the ropes or rails along the way as they are full of guano. Again, for those who cannot stand the smell of the bat droppings, either bring a face mask laced with some perfume or do not risk it. This goes out to the pure city gals and guys who constantly keep complaining about every little thing. Seriously, the smell can be bad.

If you keep walking along the path deep into the caves, eventually you will come out at the Garden Of Eden, which is a opening where cave flora grows healthy with the sunlight hitting it. A beautiful place to end your cave exploration here at the Deer Cave in the Mulu National Park. But wait, there is more.

Mulu Deer Cave - Bats circling at cave entrance

One has to exit the same way you came in so be prepared for a good walk back out. Now, here is the beauty of the walk out from the caves. Usually the timing for your cave walk would end about 4 to 5 pm and this is the time the millions of bats start to leave the cave for their daily food hunt.

So just before the entrance of the cave, if you look up you should see the bats on their voyage out. What is amazing about these bats is that when they reach the Deer cave mouth, they will make a circle for a few minutes before proceeding out in a wavy single line. Not many people get a chance to see this spectacular sight as usually 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 6pm to 7pm. On occasions, they may leave earlier so on your way out of the caves, just keep an eye at the cave mouth ceiling. You would not want to miss this.

Info on this Deer cave can be found at the Mulu Park website.

Info on my Clearwater Cave

Info on my Royal Mulu Resort blog

~ jrhogan

2 comments