Mr. Seamon writes:
There are no roads to the Jurassic.
Our day started early, but the kids were all on time for our 4:45 a.m. gathering in the hotel lobby. After munching on our boxed breakfasts, Ham arrived with the van and we gave him a trip shirt as a thank you for all of his amazing work. Out on the roads of Kuching, we ran into zero traffic and made it to the airport in under 15 minutes, only to discover our flight had been canceled not long before we arrived. Ham sprung into action and connected with a gate agent. Not only after we were booked on a direct flight to Mulu leaving in the early afternoon.
Since we had to pickup our tickets in person, we stuck around in the airport, primarily based at a very comfortable Starbucks. The kids played lots of card games and were wonderfully social. We got another round of local food at one of the airport restaurants, got our tickets, checked in, then made it to our gate for a little more relaxation time. Shortly after 1 p.m. we were in the air on our 90 minute journey to Mulu. As the plane descended, we got our first views of the riotously green landscape dotted with mountains and rivers. No roads seemed to be in sight. After touching down at the small airport, we walked out into the 90 degree humid heat with open arms. We watched as our bags were rolled to the terminal. Ah, the fantastic joys of small airports.
Outside the one room terminal, we were greeted by Mac, our guide. He had us pile up our bags for delivery to the hotel and had lunch ready for us right there. After a bit of repacking of day packs, we got in an open-backed bus and got on the road to the park. 10 minutes later we arrived and started the 3 km walk through the jungle to the Lang and Deer caves. Along the way Mac told us about the local vegetation and wildlife. Our first loop was through the Lang caves which are layered with a stunning collection of stalactites and stalagmites. Mac told us about the geology of the space as we walked through what seemed like another world.
We then looped over to Deer Cave, one of the largest caves in all of Asia. The overall size of the cave is hard to take in. The entrance is a wide mouth of white limestone, almost totally enveloped by lush green. The wooden path took us looping along the edge and into the cave. Inside we could hear the sound of the fleets of bats very high up on the ceiling. And by a fleet, I mean 3 million bats! Mac told us more about the cave, the bats, and the other animals that spend time in the cave. Our path took us about km into the cave, but since it’s so big, it’s lit with natural light from the huge opening for most of the way.
We then took the wooden pathway back towards the entrance of the park, to a seating area where we joined about 60 other people waiting for the bats to leave the cave for their nightly feeding. Just before 6pm large globular waves of bats started leaving the cave in twirling corkscrew formations that were absolutely memorizing. We joined in with the rest of the gathering in various forms of Ooohs! and Ahhhs! As the masses of bats leaving the cave became larger. It was quite a sight. When the last large group of bats had swirled away, we walked the remaining 2 km back to the entrance of the park and were quickly met by a transport lorry which took us on a 5 minute ride to our hotel.
The Mulu Marriott Resort Hotel is absolutely stunning. We took a wooden bridge across the river to the unloading area and sat down in the lobby, which is more like a large open area pavilion The jungles comes right up to the walkways wherever you go on the compound! In the lobby Ms. Ditkovski got to meet up with the older brother of one of her best childhood friends who just happened to be in Mulu at the same time! It’s a super small world. We were then taken to our rooms, which were all in one of the clusters of rooms joined by walkways through the forest. Whoa.
Everyone was then given some time to get cleaned up and meet back in front of the rooms. When we all met up we were pretty giddy about the rooms and the entire place! We then walked to the hotel’s restaurant and dove into a truly epic buffet dinner where everyone got completely stuffed. We enjoyed more awesome conversations over dinner, chatted for a little bit by the pool (we’ll swim in it and a local river tomorrow!), and then headed back to our rooms.
The kids all socialized in one room for a bit before heading back to their rooms at 10 to crash. We can’t wait for our second day in this special Jurassic World come alive.