People with a fear of heights, that’s who!
As we approached the entrance to the steps for the canopy walk, Nimrod ran through a few safety pointers with us. Only two people were allowed on the bridge sections at any one time and at each of the sixteen platforms along the way, only six people were allowed to stand on it.
Once we had walked up the steps to the beginning of the bridge, I had my first glimpse of the narrow walkway – YIKES!
I watched a father and his 9 year old son bound along the bridge without a care in the world, a big happy smile on the young child’s face. He was loving it. One by one I watched as everyone made their way across, all of them appeared fearless; none of them cried. None of them turned around and came back.
“Come on Angie, you can do this” I said to myself. Nimrod said he would go on ahead and join the rest of the group so he could point out any wildlife he spotted; we certainly didn’t want anyone missing out because of me. We watched as Nimrod walked purposefully with one foot in front of the other dead centre on the boards; there was minimal wobble. That was how I needed to walk.
OK, let’s do this!
With no one around, I stepped slowly and carefully onto the bridge, head held high, gripping for dear life onto the handrail and just put one foot in front of the other. I was shaking all over but I was going to take my own sweet time doing this!
So that is what I did for the next hour. I would talk out loud to myself with a mantra “one foot in front of the other, middle of the walkway, don’t look down, look at the tree in front” and I would repeat it for nearly all 15 bridges.
But it worked you know!
My hands were shaking, my knees were like jelly but I felt elated that I had done it. We didn’t see a darn thing though, no monkeys, no birds, all I saw was the tree in front. Sy said he was looking all around (including down) and couldn’t spot anything; you need a trained eye to find anything in this dense jungle and alas, that wasn’t us.
Has this cured my fear of heights and wobbly bridges? Absolutely not, I’m still just as scared! There is a small suspension bridge into the National Park that I had to walk over every time I entered and exited the Park and I still had to wait until no one was on it, walk down the middle and hold Sy’s hand.
I don’t know if my fear of heights will ever be cured, but I know I will do my best not to let it get in my way if there is something I want to do!
You cannot do this walk without a guide so you need to book your timeslot either via Mulu National Park website or in person at the Park HQ. It is advisable to book this popular tour for the beginning of your trip as numbers are limited. Also, if the jungle experiences a lot of rain (which happens quite a bit, this is a “rainforest” after all), for safety reasons, the tour may be cancelled.
You will need to register at Park HQ upon arrival and pay RM30 (£6) for a five day pass (it doesn’t matter if you are staying here one day or five days, you receive the same pass).
- Non-slip walking shoes should ideally be worn as the boardwalk becomes very slippery when wet.
- Take a rain jacket/poncho with you as it’s not called a “rainforest” for nothing.
- Timeslots are booked for 2 hours but you can take your time to wander back admiring the jungle when you have finished – it took us 3 hours in total!
- Take water with you as the jungle is hot and humid.
- Wear quick-drying clothes; it doesn’t have to be walking shorts/trousers, sportswear, running gear or board shorts are all perfect for the jungle.
- No need to wear insect repellent, the 3 million bats that live in the surrounding caves keep the mosquito population down.
Getting to Mulu
Mulu is in the Sarawak region of Malaysian Borneo and is only accessible by a short 30 minute flight with MASwings from Miri. You can also fly from Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and other places in Borneo but you may have a brief stop in Miri).
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Do you have a fear that you have tried to conquer? What did you do and did it work? Share your secret with me in the comments below.
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