Probably the best wellness trend for 2017 is ‘getting back to nature’. Why not relax, unplug, unwind and explore Mulu in Borneo? Are you ready for the perfect blend of adventure and luxury?
Borneo is the third largest island in the world north of the Equator and sits in the South China Sea. It is about twice the size of Germany. The state of Sarawak in the northern part of the island belongs to Malaysia.
Mulu, named after the second highest mountain in Sarawak (2,377m), is located inland and south of the Malay Islamic Monarchy of Brunei. Although it has been 60 million years in the making, it is still remote and isolated. Only recently discovered, Mulu National Park with its 55,000 hectares was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Area in 2000.
Mulu is, in fact, so secluded that there are no banks, no pharmacies, limited wifi and internet, only one road, a few waterways and plank-walk trails, and only one cell phone service provider and spotty coverage.
As you can imagine, there are not too many options for a shopping spree. Are you still up for the plunge?There are two options to get to Mulu: fly in or walk the ‘Headhunter’s trail’. This route was used by the jungle tribes war parties and is snakes between the Tutoh and Medalam rivers. It would be a true jungle experience including hiking, riverboats and long boats and was also the only way to the National Park until 1991. The former option is recommended, although one has to be flexible with the schedule as the planes are often delayed or flights canceled due to weather conditions and visibility.This still does not deter you, right?
No worries, world travelers do not need to lower their standards when arriving in Mulu. The Mulu Marriot just a few kilometers from the National park has all the world-class services, luxuries and comforts one imagines.
The big 5-star 92-rooms resort and spa nestles in the meandering arm of the Melinau river and is surrounded by tropical rainforest. 20 years ago it had been designed as the Royal Mulu Resort in the traditional Borneo and Sarawak longhouses style, but was recently completely renovated, refurbished, renamed, and reopened by Marriott in 2015.The resort is built on 3-meter high stilts and the rooms, sporting world-class, amazing bathrooms, are connected with wooden walkways. The architecture incorporates local culture, native elements and latest design trends. The bathrooms are equipped with our Purist, Symbol and Wave faucets, Santa Rosa toilets, Amaretto bidets, and Parliament and Ove sinks.In addition, the hotel has a Balinese spa which was inspired by the Mulu caves, two restaurants and friendly staff serving signature cocktails at the River Bar. In the neighborhood, several other cafes serve local and international dishes and can be reached on foot.
At Mulu and the Marriott, your self-imposed wellness program is somewhat of a contrast.
Between adventurous hiking, caving in world’s famous and sweltering caves and climbing massive lime stone formations, you might venture out to the Mulu skywalk that is the world’s longest tree based canopy walk with 480 meters suspended 20 meters above ground in the rainforest to view the ‘web of life’.
Or you take in indigenous culture, gaze at unique plants and wildlife, view towering limestone cliffs, relax on river longboats, and experience isolated rain forest smells and sounds. And get soaked by frequent, wonderful tropical rain showers and down pours by doing either activity.And after that you’re probably ready to return to the luxury of big, comfortable rooms with huge bathrooms.Whether strenuous or relaxing, there is something for the hard core adventurer as well as the sunset lover to replenish the batteries of our hectic lives with nature’s beauty and serenity. Mulu brings out the sense of adventure in us, but also reminds us of the fragile ecosystem that we need to preserve and gently demands appreciation of nature.
And after a few days in the ‘wild’, you are ready to tackle your everyday ‘jungle’ back home.