Clearwater Cave


Useful Information

Location: Gunung Mulu National Park, island of Borneo, Sarawak.
(4.065273, 114.831763)
Open: Clearwater & Winds: All year daily 8:45, 9:15.
Clearwater Revival: All year daily by appointment.
Clearwater Connection: All year daily by appointment.
[2021]
Fee: Clearwater & Winds: Per Person MYR 67.
Clearwater Revival: Per Person MYR 220.
Clearwater Connection: Per Person MYR 225.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: Clearwater Cave System: L=238,046 m, VR=355 m.
Guided tours: Clearwater & Winds: D=4 h.
Clearwater Revival: Max=3, MinAge=12.
Clearwater Connection: L=4.8 km, D=8 h, Max=3, MinAge=16.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Hans P Hazebroek, Abang Kashim bin Abang Morshidi (2002): A Guide to the Gunung Mulu National Park, A world heritage site in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. with a foreword by Dato Sri Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, Minister of Tourism 2002. 91 pp numerous colour photos. SB
Address: Gunung Mulu National Park, Borsarmulu Park Management Sdn Bhd, No 11, Pekan Mulu, Mulu, 98070, Sarawak, Tel: +6085-792-600/601/602/603, Fax: +6085-792-605. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1961 first survey by G.E. Wilford of the Malaysian Geological Survey.
1977/1978 first speleological exploration of the cave by British cavers.

Description

Clearwater Cave can be reached either by longboat or on foot from the Park headquarters. The longboat takes about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the water level in the river. On foot it takes about 2 hours along a 3.8 km nature trail consisting partly of concrete paths and wooden walk ways.

The entrance to Clearwater Cave is 30 m up a hillside overlooking the Clearwater River, just before it joins the Melinau River. The entrance is reached via a concrete staircase of about 200 steps and slopes down into the Lady's Cave. On the rocks on either side of the entrance grow "limestone-loving" one-leafed plants of the genus Monophyllaea. Lady's Cave is noted for its beautiful speleothems, including tall stalagmites, rising from the floor. Further down is the underground Clearwater River. The passage is of impressive dimensions, 30 m high and 30 m wide. High above the river, grooves in the rock indicate previous water levels.


Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.

While the above description is still mostly correct, there have been some minor changes. Due to their proximity, Cave of the Wind and Clearwater Cave are combined. The tour starts with a cruise up the Melinau river in a longboat, the foot trail to the cave does not exist any more, it was abandoned and is overgrown. First stop is the village Batu Bungan, where a Penan longhouse is visited. From Monday to Saturday there is also a market. The next stop is Cave of the Winds and finally Clearwater. At the picnic deck it is possible to swim in the crystal clear water from the river cave. The ticket includes the cave tours, guide and longboat ride. Bring swimsuit, raincoat, sturdy walking shoes, insect repellent, a torch, and some food and drinking water.

The cave is called Clearwater Cave or simply Clearwater because of the clear water of the cave river. The rivers in tropical rain forest are generally laden with mud, clay which is a result of the weathering of rocks and makes the rivers muddy. Melinau River, which is the main means of travel and transport in the area, is such a muddy river, but the cave river is rain water from the Gunung Api peak and is clear. Most of the cave entrances in the region are actually connected, and so the cave systems have different names, depending on the entrance. Clearwater is connected to Cave of the Winds, but the tours use different entrances.

The caves of the area were first explored by G.E. Wilford of the Malaysian Geological Survey in 1961. He did this by boat, guided by locals who knew most of the caves. In 1977 a first British expedition into the area surveyed many kilometers of caves in three months. And there were enormous discoveries for decades, currently the cave system has a length of 238 km, which makes it one of the longest cave systems in the world. According to Bob Gulden the Clearwater System (Gua Air Jernih) is the 9th longest cave of the world [2021]. But most of the passages are huge, and according to estimates this cave is most likely the hugest known cave by volume.

There are two cave trekking tours offered in Clearwater. The first is called Clearwater River Revival Tour or simply Clearwater Revival. Clearwater Connection is a 4.8 km long trip and takes 6 to 8 hours to complete. 1.5 km of the tour is river, the rest is dry. Climbing and swimming ability and a reasonable level of physical fitness is required for both tours. They start at the end of the show cave trails and follows the cave river. Clearwater Revival is not available at times of high water levels. For both tours you need closed shoes, waterproof camera or drybag, torchlight, or even better helmet and headlamp, and some food and drinking water. Clearwater Connection requires caving experience and the visitors must provide current membership of an internationally recognized speleological society or caving group or other documents to prove caving experience to the Park Manager.