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Wind Cave to Clearwater Cave

Listed under Caves & Caving in Malaysia.

  • Photo of Wind Cave to Clearwater Cave
  • Photo of Wind Cave to Clearwater Cave
  • Photo of Wind Cave to Clearwater Cave
  • Photo of Wind Cave to Clearwater Cave
Photo of Wind Cave to Clearwater Cave
Photo by Dave Clucas
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Mulu has arguably the best caves in the world. Situated in the Gunung Mulu National Park, these caves, described in print as The Giant Caves of Borneo contain Sarawak Chamber, the largest known cave chamber in the world.

Access to the caves is strictly controlled and is normally only available to expeditions. However, the National Park offers adventure caving trips with a local guide for a small fee. The most popular of these is the Wind Cave to Clearwater 'through-trip' . Taking between four and six hours, depending on your level of fitness, you encounter every classic feature of the Mulu Caves area apart from drops or pitches. Discovered in 1978 by a British Caving Expedition, the Clearwater System has now been explored for over 150 kilometres.

The caving trip usually starts at Wind Cave and finishes at Clearwater Cave. The caves are reached from the National Park Headquarters by taking a fifteen minute trip up the Melinau River in a longboat or by hiking for an hour or more along a nature trail alongside the river. The Wind Cave entrance is partway up a cliff and is easily reached by a flight of wooden stairs. The show cave section is easy walking and takes around fifteen minutes before climbing up to a side passage in the left hand wall. This leads into the passages which are not permitted to the general public. The adventure trip now begins.

The next half hour is spent walking along fairly large passage and occasionally clambering over boulder piles. At one stage a skylight entrance is passed with daylight streaming into a large chamber from high above. The floor here has vegetation growing between the boulders. The cave soon changes character with the roof soaring out of site in a passage ten to twenty metres wide. This is classic Mulu passage heading off into the mountain and with walls at an angle of around thirty degrees from vertical. Boulders the size of cars litter the floor and progress is made over, around and under them.

Eventually your guide leads you down into what appears to be a dead end. However, at the bottom of the slope, a small hole leads into a flat-out crawl for a short distance to the head of a short vertical drop. This is easily descended and the way on is a short passage which suddenly emerges into the Clearwater River Passage. The river is crossed by wading, with a short swim if the water is high, or you are of short stature, and the route continues along the opposite river bank where easy progress is made downstream until the show cave section of Clearwater is reached. From here you soon reach an area flooded with daylight from the enormous entrance portal high on the left-hand side. Wooden platforms and steps take you out into daylight high up the cliff overlooking the Melinau River. From here a wooden staircase leads down the cliff to river level where your boat will be waiting.

This is an ideal experience for people with little or no caving experience but with a spirit of adventure. It is not technically difficult and no special equipment is needed. Lamps and helmets are available for hire at the park.

Although I've been caving for over thirty five years my first visit to this cave was an incredible experience. The main thing that makes the caves of Mulu so special is the sheer size of them. The Mulu Caves are legendary amongst cavers and an opportunity to visit them is one not to miss.

Written by  Dave Clucas.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Hello George..will my training in Gym help me get thru this particular clearwater connection?

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