Malaysian Borneo: Jungle

So, we flew from Taipei to Kota Kinabalu on Malaysian Borneo, eager to start our trip in the Bornean jungle. But first, we had a a day to kill in KK (as the locals call it), so we went on an island trip to one the islands just off the coast of KK, called Sapi. It was a beautiful day, and we were also very happy to finally see some beach again after 1,5 months. We arrived after a 20 minute speedboat ride to the island, which was totally cool. When we arrived however, we noticed that the shore was full of Chinese in life jackets floating just off the coast. So far for a lonely beach… The coral had been badly damaged by all the tourists, and they also greatly reduced the visibility under water with all their trampling. So we ended up just chilling on the beach, and taking a short hike to discover the island, which had some jungle. All in all, it was nice to see some beach again, but we were glad we were only here for one day. That evening, we went to one of the places on the waterfront where you could point to the fish you wanted to eat, and then they’d barbecue it for you. A sole and a whole squid later, and we were satisfied.

The next morning, we flew to Sandakan. For some reason, flying between cities on Borneo is just as cheap as taking the bus, yet it saves a lot of time. So we will fly a lot here. Anyway, we arrived in Sandakan and took a taxi to Uncle Tan’s B&B in Sepilok, from where we would take a jeep and then a river boat into the jungle. Since we arrived in the morning, and we only left after lunch, we were taken to the Urnag-utang Centre in Sepilok, where you could spot many rescued Urang-utangs of all ages. We were lucky and saw many animals, eating and playing around. You could walk through the centre on a canopy walk, and while we did that, we even encountered an urang-utang up close!

After a good lunch, we went on the 2,5 hour ride to our jungle camp. Along the way we spotted a 2 meter croc lying on the riverbank. The camp itself is very basic. You use river water for everything, and there’s no shower. You sleep in open huts under a mosquito net, with a matress but without a pillow. Anyway, we were happy. We stayed there for 4 days, 3 nights. The food was good and the staff enthusiastic. We saw everything we could hope of seeing; all 6 species of hornbills (birds), all 6 species of moneys (urang-utang, probiscus monkeys, gibbon, langur, pig-tail makaques and long tail makaques), a lorus (in our camp!), different sizes of crocs, many frog species, several civet cats, wild cats, and even a leopard cat, big spiders, poisonous millipedes, big monitor lizards, too many beautiful birds to describe, and even a large python on a river bank!! Crazy… We did morning and evening boat trips along different sections of the river, and morning and night walks in the jungle. All-in-all, a perfect experience (minus the >250 mosquito bites and weird heat rash Joske developed:P).

When our deep jungle adventure ended, we stayed in the jungle-town Sepilok for 3 more days, in the Forest Edge Resort. Here we just chilled and relaxed in the mini pool, although we also went on one trip to the sunbear sanctuary. The Bornean sunbear is really small for a bear, just around 140 cm, and they’re really fun to look at. But really we were just preparing for one of THE highlights of our travel: our stay at the oil rig in Mabul to dive at the best dive-site in the world: Sipadan!

More on that in our next post!

Jumping probiscus monkey (neusaap).
A cicada shedding its old skin.

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