Budget Travelers Craving Outdoor Adventures Have To Visit This National Park In Asia

Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia is a staggeringly beautiful place that is teeming with wildlife. In November of 2000, it officially became a UNESCO World Heritage Site because its landscape, flora, and fauna are so valuable to researchers around the world. Its sandstone peaks, tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and island caves are home to thousands of species, some of which cannot be found anywhere else on planet Earth.

This once-in-a-lifetime trip is not as expensive as you might think, but getting to Gunung Mulu will require some planning ahead. The most direct route is to first fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital city. From there, you can catch a flight to Miri on the island of Borneo, which can cost as little as $40 depending on when you book. Finally, you can get on one of the quick shuttle flights into the park, which typically costs around $90. Entry into the park and accommodations once inside are very affordable. For those willing to make the journey, an experience like no other awaits.

A unique adventure

There's no shortage of things to do in Gunung Mulu. If you're looking for the perfect way to spend a few days in nature, a tour of Headhunter's Trail may be the perfect adventure. Although the name trail implies hiking, this trip also includes a longboat ride that goes along the river and then underground through a long cave system known as Clearwater Cave. Then, accompanied by a local guide, you walk through the jungle, learning about the history of the park and the people who used to live there. If you are up for the challenge and love climbing mountains around the world, you can attempt to climb the Pinnacles – sheer stone peaks that resemble spires or spikes rising up from the jungle.

Throughout the park, visitors have the opportunity to see incredible animals, including the Malayan sun bear, the Bornean tarsier, dozens of types of fish and frogs, hundreds of species of birds, and an incredible 281 species of butterfly. You should also make sure you don't miss the bat exodus. Make your way to the platform or the observatory outside Deer Cave in the evenings, and you may get to see literal millions of tiny bats fly out into the night sky at once.

How much does it cost to visit?

A journey through Gunung Mulu National Park is an unforgettable experience and is still accessible to the budget-conscious traveler. Each park pass is around $7 for international visitors and grants access for five days. Anyone looking to explore the national park for longer can purchase additional passes to extend their stay. There are a variety of places to stay available for visitors to the park in varying price ranges. Solo travelers on a shoestring budget may prefer a $15 bed in a hostel-style accommodation shared with other people, while families can stay in a longhouse suite for $85.

Guided tours in the park also come at an additional cost but are worth the opportunity to learn more from local guides. For instance, the three-day Essential Mulu Showcaves tour takes visitors through the caves in the park and includes the opportunity to see the Deer Cave bat exodus. The $165 package price includes the entrance fee, two nights of accommodation, two meals daily, and transport within the park. Alternatively, for a hiking-focused adventure in the park, the guided Mulu Headhunter's Trail costs around $400 per person.It includes return transport to and from the airport, the park entry fee, two nights of accommodation, and three daily meals. No matter what you choose to do in Gunung Mulu, you can be sure to have an incredible experience on any budget.