Gunung Mulu National Park is home to the incredible Sarawak Chamber, the largest natural chamber in a cave system anywhere in the world.
The Malaysian north-west side of the island of Borneo is largely limestone, with the best example of dramatic landscapes formed in this rock seen in the Gunung Mulu National Park.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is made up of tropical forest within a karst setting of dramatic pinnacles and formations.
The soft limestone is sculpted into these incredible structures and caves by weathering due to a reaction between the calcium carbonate of the rock and the carbon doxide in rain and ground water.
This weathering produces Mulu’s most famous feature: a system of over 320 kilometres of caves and underground passages.
Gunung Mulu was first explored by a Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) expedition between 1977 and 1978.
This large undertaking involved over 100 scientists, explorers and speleologists in the field for 15 months, with all supplies delivered through the impenetrable jungle by helicopter or canoe.
The expedition was the first to study Deer Cave, a huge cavern 174 metres wide by 122 metres high in its largest section, resulting in the largest cave passage in the world.
A group of 20 further expeditions have joined forces with this original find to form the Mulu Caves Project, an on-going collaboration between explorers and scientists to map this underground maze of limestone formations.
In 1981, three speleologists (cave specialists) from this project discovered the cave which was to become the crowing jewel of Mulu’s treasures: the Sarawak Chamber.
Even using powerful lamps, the explorers could not see the other end of the chamber; they had entered the largest known enclosed space in the world.
The Sarawak Chamber is so immense that it could accommodate eight Boeing 747 aircraft without their wings overlapping.