14: Malaysia > Sarawak > Mulu > Bye-bye

We are leaving Mulu later today, so we decide to check-out the well-regarded Discovery Centre, located more-or-less inside our good buddy, Cafe Mulu.04-02-2007-10-20-37.JPG

It’s an exhibition centre of what Gunung Mulu National Park is all about, plus some, and boy, is this place a treasure trove of delightful information. First time I hear of ‘Asean Heritage Park’ of which Mulu NP is a worthy member.04-02-2007-09-57-26.JPG

As I enter it, the familiar World Heritage logo stares at me.04-02-2007-10-18-37.JPG

The Inscription.

Of course, a primer on caves.04-02-2007-10-18-26.JPG

Yes, these areas are invaluable, not just for Sarawak, but for all mankind, present and future. 04-02-2007-09-57-50.JPG

Precious Mulu NP looks fragile clinging to the southeastern bit of Brunei. Logging is still a real threat.04-02-2007-09-58-14.JPG

I find this display on the caves especially interesting, especially the extensive map of the Clearwater Cave system, which is, last I checked, 130km long – #10 in the world. 04-02-2007-10-16-39.JPG

Yup, no doubt Mulu has got a lot of bragging rights, and we Malaysians should be proud of that. 04-02-2007-10-03-27.JPG

I wonder how they mapped this intricate cave system, in virtual darkness and no Global Positioning System for assistance. And they have to do 3-dimensional mapping too!04-02-2007-10-04-26.JPG

Obviously the mappers are members of the Douglas Adams‘s fan club.04-02-2007-10-10-09.JPG

More of Mr Adams’s legacy here.04-02-2007-10-10-21.JPG

“Catman Do” and “Catman Don’t”?04-02-2007-10-09-58.JPG

And this is the little bit of the Clearwater Cave system (see top left corner of big map above) which we actually visited yesterday. The red dotted lines are our puny trails inside the caves (left trail inside Cave of Winds, right trail inside Clearwater Cave). 04-02-2007-10-11-37.JPG

Well-presented posters inside the centre – easy to read and understand. A lot of work must have gone into making these things. Great stuff, Park HQ people!good.gif 04-02-2007-10-07-14.JPG

Intro to the giant caves. British cavers play a big role, whence the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy influence above, and the typical Brit humour sprinkled around.04-02-2007-10-12-14.JPG

More on Clearwater Cave.04-02-2007-10-13-17.JPG

And of course, the not-so-accessible biggie – Sarawak Chamber.04-02-2007-10-13-41.JPG

Impressive graphics, though the 747 icon looks a tad deformed.04-02-2007-10-13-51.JPG

The 4 types of Mulu jungles.04-02-2007-10-15-59.JPG

Another view of the gallery. There is so much to learn here, and I’ve done my best to bring the juicy bits. For any visitor to Mulu, this place is a must, preferably before doing the trails.04-02-2007-10-16-18.JPG

Outside the Discovery Centre, some colourful mementoes.04-02-2007-10-19-25.JPG

Without the price stickers, I’d have sworn these were for real! 04-02-2007-10-19-55.JPG

Time to leave, and I take a final look at swollen Melinau River, a vital transport expressway for Mulu. 02-02-2007-15-48-40.JPG

Walking the suspension footbridge, I glance back. 04-02-2007-09-03-32.JPG

Arriving at Mulu Airport, the crowd is sparse. There’s one flight to Kota Kinabalu and another to Miri (ours) in the next couple of hours.04-02-2007-11-06-46.JPG

Well, the place is deserted.04-02-2007-11-01-47.JPG

The check-in counters for the sole operator – FAX.04-02-2007-11-05-23.JPG

Not really state-of-the-art, but I guess it’s functional … and low-cost, easy maintenance too.04-02-2007-11-06-01.JPG

Secured my boarding card at last. 04-02-2007-11-00-48.JPG

I chat up a couple of policemen. They are based in Miri and come here on a rotational basis. These guys just arrived for a 2-week stint and that’s their police-station I’m leaning against. I guess the airport terminal is the Mulu town centre. 🙂04-02-2007-11-32-13.JPG

The Fokker 50 from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) arrives on time.04-02-2007-11-24-58.JPG

And soon our own hardworking F50 gets in.04-02-2007-12-13-35.JPG

Gracefully approaching the ramp. Great weather for flying.04-02-2007-12-13-59.JPG

Saying good-bye for the last time to Mulu, but we’ll be back!04-02-2007-12-22-47.JPG

This is the same machine which brought us here 2 days ago – 9M-MGB. Wonder what that chap is doing?04-02-2007-12-23-37.JPG

Awesome props.04-02-2007-12-23-44.JPG

The fliers doing their checklist.04-02-2007-12-24-36.JPG

Nice interior, but the same old musty, sour smell lingers.04-02-2007-12-25-57.JPG

Front end of the cabin, door still open.04-02-2007-12-28-22.JPG

Prop on my side, and hmmm …

Duct tapes to fix the blades?04-02-2007-12-33-49.JPG

Ah well, at least this prop is okay.04-02-2007-12-41-17.JPG

Right turn above Tutoh River to head for Miri. Note the yellowish water as compared to clear Melinau River, which flows into Tutoh. Pity Tutoh. 🙁04-02-2007-12-41-59.JPG

Have to kneel on the floor to get this shot. 🙂04-02-2007-12-45-55.JPG

Destruction down below.04-02-2007-12-48-33.JPG

And soon, we descend into Miri (MYY).04-02-2007-12-51-36.JPG

Actual GPS flight path from Mulu to Miri, in red.Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Uneventful landing at MYY. Short-and-sweet flight. Blades intact. From the virgin jungle of Mulu to the concrete jungle of Miri. 😐04-02-2007-13-03-22.JPG

The F50 comes to a halt and soon a guy saunters over and inspects the blade one by one.

Yup, one duct tape has come loose, and he duly massages it back. Good for another flight I presume. I wonder if duct-taping props is part of the SOP. 😕04-02-2007-13-06-11.JPG

From the terminal building, I steal this shot of the DeHavilland DHC-6 “Twin Otter”. They used to fly this to Mulu until recently, and provided half the fun of getting there. I missed it. 🙁04-02-2007-13-10-23.JPG

And our 9M-MGB, getting ready for another jungle-hopping flight. This is a true magnificent flying machine, the Fokker 50.04-02-2007-13-11-04.JPG


I stroll along the airside corridor to the arrival hall …04-02-2007-13-12-13.JPG

… and a huge Mulu display pulls me, …04-02-2007-13-12-31.JPG

… wa-hey! 😀