Mulu Airport Sarawak - Flying MASWings Fokker 50

Sarawak Mulu Airport
The Mulu Airport in Sarawak must be the smallest airport I have ever been to in Malaysia, and possibly in all of Asia.

Flying to Mulu from Kuching or Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia can be quite an experience if you are used to flying jet planes from AirAsia or MAS. It is here in interior Borneo that you will experience flying in turboprop planes.

Mulu Airport Review in Sarawak

As you arrive at the Miri International Airport, you will find that it has been renovated quite nicely and somewhat looks like the KLIA airport which has been scaled down. Mind you this article was written in 2009.

Flights to Mulu are only via Kuching or Kota Kinabalu for tourists and no other direct flights. There are only two daily flights to Mulu so do check carefully on your timing to connect your flights.

Usually, it will be from Kuala Lumpur to Miri and then connect to Mulu. There is a waiting period in Miri and if you are lucky, the wait is 3 to 4 hours.

Why lucky? You can then visit Miri town and savor some of the authentic Miri food and also see some of the unique markets there. The journey to Miri town is about 20 minutes from the airport.

ATR 72-500 MasWings
ATR 72-500 plane picture

The planes used in flying to Mulu are turboprop planes which are the Fokker 50 planes operated by MAS Wings who is a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines.

On my many trips to Mulu National Park, I have sat in the Twin Otter and Fokker 50 planes. The Twin Otter is the smallest plane used by MAS Rural Service and is no longer in service to Mulu.

Owned by MasWings now, the Twin Otters can only take 15 people and fly really low, and currently only service the rural towns in Sarawak.

MasWings Fokker 50 PlaneFokker 50 plane picture

Apparently, MAS Wings would be replacing the Fokker 50 with the new ATR 72-500 which can carry 72 passengers instead of the 50 which Fokker can carry. More passengers equal more money.

Fokker 50 MAS Rural Plane
One for the photo album, me and the MAS Rural Fokker 50 aircraft
MAS Rural Airline Service
Friendly awareness for travelers

Aerial view of Interior Sarawak
Beautiful low altitude views of the interior in Sarawak
The altitude of your flight will be around 6,000 to 8,000 feet for the old Twin Otter planes while the Fokker 50 can fly up to 20,000 feet.

Seriously, I prefer the Twin Otter planes anytime as it is such a unique experience flying low as if just above the rainforest of Sarawak and Borneo.
Twin Otter MasWings InteriorInside the Twin Otter plane

The Twin Otter planes have no stewardesses inside and what happened was really funny. We were in the Miri Airport waiting to board the plane and when it was time, we made our way to the tarmac and on to the plane.

It was so small we had to hunch our way in. Once inside, the Stewardess who was standing outside gave us a couple of drinks and told us where the safety card was and asked us to buckle up.

All this from outside the plane door. We look at the other couple and were a little lost. It was really funny.

When the plane started it's engines, the noise it made was amazingly loud! So loud we could not hear each other.

Aerial view of Mulu National Park
Scenic river and rainforest plane views of Mulu
Another factor in flying these small planes was the weight load. They had to weigh you and also your luggage before checking you in.

This is to ensure that the plane is not overloaded. Imagine that, when you check in, you need to weigh yourself at the counter.

Flying over the Melinau River in Mulu
Flying over the Melinau River in Mulu
Mulu Airport Twin Otter Plan Landing
Twin Otter coming in for a landing at Mulu Airport
The landing was one scary experience as I did not know what to expect from this small plane. As we got closet to the tarmac of the airport, my heart began to beat faster.

Looking out my aisle window, I saw the tarmac floor a few meters away from me and then thud!... a one wheel first landing which shook the plane.

Mind you this is a very small plane compared to what most people feel when landing in KLIA, this is 100 times the effect.

And we had landed in Mulu National Park Airport. The plane just did a quick taxi, one turn and we were facing the airport main entrance.

I thought to myself, wow, just a 20 feet walk to the door and all this in under 3 minutes. It must be the fastest landing ever in my life.

Photo of Mulu National Park
A photo of the Mulu National Park
Mulu skies are simply beautiful with white cotton clouds and blue skies. At the end of the flight to Mulu, I really enjoyed the flight.

The experience alone was a rare chance many people will have since they are changing the planes now but you can still fly them to the smaller towns like Bakelalan or Bario.

You can also contact MASwings at their general phone line below;
  • Malaysia - 1300 88 3000
  • International - +603 7843 3000
MAS Wings office address in Miri;
1st Floor, Lot 239,
Beautiful Jade Centre,
98000 Miri, Sarawak,
Malaysia
Email: info@maswings.com.my

Final Thoughts to the Mulu Airport Review

During my visits to this incredible place, I always stayed at the Royal Mulu Resort Sarawak and have never tried the other lodgings. 

Please note that the Royal Mulu Resort has now been taken over by the Marriott Resort group, and is the only luxury resort in Mulu. 

Maybe on my next trip here, I would consider trying a different place. I also do hope that they put in some minor improvements to the Mulu Airport in Sarawak.
Mulu Airport Sarawak - Flying MASWings Fokker 50 Mulu Airport Sarawak - Flying MASWings Fokker 50 Reviewed by Malaysia Asia on Saturday, July 04, 2009 Rating: 5

2 comments:

EVo said...

First hand experience of flying in a turboprop plan man...awesome lah.

The stewardess briefing from outside the plane also damn funny keke.


i'm retweeting this!

Cindy said...

Hi, I went to Mulu from Miri at the end of 1996. I remember it was on with Malaysian Airline. From memory it was smaller than the Twin Otter as I had to carry the lugguage on my lap and it has less seats than 19. The seating configuration might have been 1,1 rather than what I can see from your photo the 1,2. Do you know what plane I would I got on?

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