Deer Cave, located near Miri, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, is a show cave attraction of Gunung Mulu National Park. It was surveyed in 1961 by G.E. Wilford of the Malaysian Geological Survey, who predicted that Mulu would yield many more caves in the future (Wilford, 1964). The cave, which is also known as Gua Payau or Gua Rusa by the local Penan and Berawan people, is said to have received its name because of the deer that go there to lick salt-bearing rocks (Tsen, 1993) and shelter themselves.
The cave was surveyed for the first time in 1978, producing measurements of 174 m wide and 122 m high in one section that passed through the mountain for a distance of one kilometre. The next survey increased the acknowledged passage length to 4.1 kilometres and connected Lang Cave, another show cave within the park, to the Deer Cave System. This survey, made in 2009 by the Hoffman Institute at Western Kentucky University, revealed the maximum cross-sectional area to be in the large southern passage. This was documented at 169 m wide with a ceiling height of 125 m. The northern passage registered the greatest ceiling height at 148m with a cross-sectional width of 142 m. The main entrance of Deer Cave was measured at 146 m.
Access and Tourism:
Tourism access to the cave (and to the entire park) was opened in 1984. The landscape attracts around 25,000 visitors from countries all over the world every year.
To access Deer Cave, one must first enter the Gunung Mulu National Park, by way of the nearby city of Miri. Malaysian Airlines operates flights of approximately 45 minutes from Miri to Mulu. The park can also be reached by boat from Marudi, but a special booking must be made since no regular boat covers that area.
You can access the Deer Cave by following a three kilometre plank walk, which passes through various places like a swamp, limestone outcrops, etc. This walk is considered an additional attraction to visitors as it takes them through the rainforest (of about 55,000 ha) and by an ancient Penan Burial Cave.
The interior of the cave is lit, but flashlights are recommended for personal use in darker areas. Visitor attention may be drawn to a specific formations - unique stromatolites and also to a specific formation which bears a distinct resemblance to the profile of Abraham Lincoln.
To the northeast the cave opens into the so called Garden of Eden - an approximately 1 km wide, circular depression encircled with 150 – 300 m tall limestone walls from three sides and a mountain slope from the fourth. The Garden of Eden is a karst valley or sinkhole with a volume of 150 cubic meters, its bottom is covered with rainforest.