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My trip to Borneo

 

sepilok copyright Sandra M Dean

sepilok copyright Sandra M Dean

This is an outline of my trip to Sabah, Borneo, over a 3 week period, where my partner, Michael and I went to see what is happening with the state of the Orangutan

 

 

 

 

This trip covers 3 weeks travel across Sabah, Borneo

Intro – The tour company, our flight, how we booked it and an intro to Malaysia

This has got to be the best holiday I have ever had! And it taught me a lot!

We booked our International and internal flights ourselves, arranged an itinerary for 2 ½ weeks and booked some of the trips and hotels/lodges with a really good tour Company (I can recommend two to you if you are thinking about going to Sabah too – please email me for details at info@orangehairyape.com ), who were extremely helpful. I have to say that, despite one hiccup where we were picked up earlier than we should have been, every part of the pickup/travel/guide service was fantastic, and as we were doing our own thing for a few days in between and our trips involved flights, boats, buses and cars we thought it was really good and would highly recommend them. Some of the tour operators in the UK are far higher in cost for the same trips too!

Borneo’s population is quite mixed – Borneon Malaysians, Indian, Phillipinos, Indonesians and Chinese make up the majority, but there are expats there, mainly to enjoy how cheap it is to live. There are varied religions, but many Malaysians are Muslim, so you rarely find pork on the menu – even Mcdonalds have chicken sausage burgers and the sausages for breakfast, if they are on offer, are always Chicken as well. I thought the mix was good as I didn’t really like Malaysian food compared to Indian, Thai and Chinese, so the food was varied.

Michael and I stayed in the Radisson Edwardian Hotel at Heathrow the night before our flight. We were flying at 12 noon, but what with getting there 3 hours early and the traffic on the M25, we decided to start our holiday early! Champagne, curry and beer were the order of the day – well it was Friday!
We flew to Kuala Lumpar on Malaysia Airlines – we bought lunch at Heathrow as there were some tasty looking choices from ‘Eat’. This new takeaway discovery turned out to be the best idea since deciding to go to Borneo. We had spicy chicken in noodles with salad and sweet chilli dressing and we were so glad about that, as the curry on offer for lunch was quite bland.

Resort – 2 nights at the Magellan Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu

Highlights –

o Beautiful resort
o Kota Kinabalu Riverside
o Kota Kinabalu Fish Market

Bad bits –

o Was not prepared for the sights and smells of the fish market!

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Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sandakan – Day 3

Highlights –

o Seeing Orangutans up close
o Watching Orangutan behaviour
o Learning about the rescue and plight of these poor creatures
o Photo opportunities

Bad bits –

o None!
Creatures we saw there –

• Orangutans
• Macaques

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Melapi lodge – Kinabatangan River , Sukau – 2 nights

Highlights –

o Night boat journey in search of nocturnal creatures
o Spotting Wild Proboscis Monkeys
o Spotting a Wild Orangutan with baby in the trees – free!

Bad bits –

o Food
o Cold water for showers

Creatures we saw there –

• Orangutans
• Proboscis Monkeys
• Green Viper
• Egret
• Snake Bird (Anhinga)
• Hornbill
• Macaques
• Blued eared Kingfisher
• Pied fantail
• Stork billed kingfisher
• Flying fox
• Baby crocodile
• Monitor lizard
• Mangrove snake (black/yellow)

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Gomantong cave

Highlights –

o Interesting to see the harvest tactics for swifts nests
o Feeling of relief when leaving the cockroaches and creepy crawlies behind!
Bad bits –

o Cockroaches and creepy crawlies

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…………………………………..
Seeing palm oil plantations
As we made our way to the Sepilok Jungle Resort, where we stayed that night, the guide showed us some palm kernels – the type which are being grown absolutely everywhere for its oil. Ok, they can make cooking oil, soap and lots of other stuff from it, and it brings wealth into the Country, but they are cutting down all the rainforest to plant them! This was my main reason for going to Borneo – to see what is going on with the plantations, and the damage they are doing to the forest’s inhabitants – particularly the Orangutans!

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Sepilok 2nd visit – staying at the Sepilok Jungle Resort – 1 night

Highlights –

o Seeing Orangutans up close
o Watching Orangutan behaviour
o Learning about the rescue and plight of these poor creatures
o Photo opportunities
o Night tour, seeing many nocturnal creatures – lesser malay mousedeer, a stick insect and a western tarsier
o Baboons

Bad bits –

o None
Creatures we saw there –

• Orangutans
• Macaques
• Baboons

………………………..

Turtle Island – Selingan – seeing turtles nesting and hatching – 1 night

Highlights –

o Seeing hawksbill turtles nesting
o Seeing tiny hatchling turtles being released into the sea
o Learning about the rescue and plight of the turtles
o Photo opportunities

Bad bits –

o Food
o Not sure whether to believe what is going on

Creatures we saw there –

• Hawksbill Turtles
• Monitor Lizard
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…………………………

Sandakan and Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary- 1 night

Highlights –

o Seeing the Proboscis Monkeys and observing their behaviour at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
o Sandakan Town
o Sandakan Market and the very friendly people there
o Photo opportunities
o Comfy and clean Hotel

Bad bits –

o Food at the English Tea Rooms

Creatures we saw there –

• Proboscis Monkeys
• Grey monkeys?

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Borneo Rainforest Lodge – Danum Valley – 3 nights

Highlights –

o Seeing a wild Orangutan male in the trees – free!
o Being in virgin rainforest and all the noises – unique!
o Canopy Walkway
o Trekking

Bad bits –

o None!

Creatures we saw there –

• Orangutans
• Samba deer
• Owl
• Curly big insect???
• Hog – resident to the lodge!
• flying black squirrel
• reptiles
• millipedes
• Termite mounds
• Leeches!
• Flora and Fauna – Fungi
• Turtle
• Red leaf monkeys

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Rasa Ria Resort, near Kota Kinabalu – 5 nights

Highlights –

o Seeing baby Orangutan orphans being cared for and playing in the trees!
o Being in rainforest and all the noises, yet by the sea too – unique!
o The Resort – Rasa Ria – and the room and view
o The whole experience

Bad bits –

o None!

Creatures we saw there –

• Young Orangutans
• Geckos

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Tanjung Aru Resort – 3 nights

Highlights –

o The sunsets
o Proximity to Kota Kinabalu
o The resort of Tanjung Aru and the room and view

Bad bits –

o None!

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………………………….
Kuala Lumpur and the market – day trip on the way home!

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If you have enjoyed reading about my trip in Borneo, and are planning a similar trip yourself, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will make some recommendations for you.

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