Posted March 17th
We also got to visit some of the state’s national parks—beautiful, pristine forests/jungle with lakes, waterfalls & wildlife. However our limited time didn’t permit us to visit one of Sarawak’s best natural wonders: the Mulu caves.
This time around, we made sure we had enough time to thoroughly explore this amazing Unesco World Heritage site. According to the guidebooks, there are several contestants for the world’s largest cave, including the Sarawak chamber that is so big that 40 Boeing 747s could be parked in it without their wings overlapping! Spectacular stalactites & stalagmites abound, & having to access many of the caves via river trips through tropical jungle definitely adds to the overall magic!
The most amazing sight takes place outside Deer Cave at dusk: bats start to exit the cave system in search of tasty flying insects that abound in the surrounding jungle. The trickle soon becomes a ‘wave’, perhaps 50 to 80 metres long, composed of tens of thousands of small bats. The wave continues to twist & undulate as it mounts higher in the sky, creating a really unique spectacle!
We waited & after a minute or 2, a second wave & then a 3rd…..Quite how the bats organise these waves is a mystery—we suppose they must have had a lot of practise. I think we counted some 14 intervals & 14 or so waves. After that the stream became continuous as millions more bats joined the exodus. We watched in awe for perhaps half an hour as clouds & clouds of bats moved away in all different directions.
Apparently over 3 million bats take part in this nightly ritual & it should surely be on the short list of runner-up natural wonders of the world!