23 February 2009

Amazing Borneo

I know that I mentioned that I was going to write about our adventures in Borneo, but I am having difficulty in trying to describe the 10 days we spent in that amazing place. During that time I scaled the highest peak in South East Asia - Mount Kinabalu at 4,089m - spent a night at Palu Selingan where we watched a female turtle come ashore to lay her eggs and then onto the Kinabatangan River where we saw Orang Utan’s and Proboscis monkeys in the wild. An experience that I can only compare to “going on safari in Africa”. I wasn’t even disappointed by the fact that we didn’t see any elephant while we were at the Kinabatangan River (they‘re tiny - not quite as tall as me in the pictures that I‘ve seen). Despite the close proximity of Sipidan Island, which is considered one of the world’s top 5 dive sites, we didn’t manage to get there - there was so much else to do and see that we decided to leave it for another trip.

Initially the purpose of the trip was to climb Mount Kinabalu and everything else was “just a bonus”. I am so glad that we decided to take in more of what Sabah has to offer. Even the national museum in Kota Kinabalu (the capital city) was informative (but a bit dry and lots of reading). During the trip we learnt more about the POW’s that the Japanese shipped there from Singapore in 1944. As the war was drawing to a close in 1945 the Japanese force marched around 2,400 British and Australian POW’s to Ranau and kept those that survived the march in the most awful conditions. Only 6 POW’s survived (by escaping into the jungle) to tell the tale of the camps at Sandakan and Ranau. It was a chilling reminder of how brutal the Japanese occupation in South East Asia was.

At the moment I have about 700- odd photo’s from the trip (down from the original 1,200+ between the 2 of us!) to sort through, but here is just a small taste of the trip. Enjoy.

Our first view of the top of the mountain on the road in. The weather closed in that afternoon and the walking conditions were lovely and cool, but it meant that we didn't get to see any spectacular scenery.

Pictures from Kinabatangan River (all except the sunset were taken by Ian Wallace)

Turtle covering the nest after laying her eggs (picture also by Ian Wallace)

I am honoured that this post was selected by Andy Hayes to be included in the April edition of The Inspiring Travel Blog Carnival. You can click on the link to read on the other articles that made this collection.


Rachel Cotterill said...

I love that owl :) And there's some stunning scenery there - I hope you'll post more.

Visiting from the 'inspiring travel' carnival.

Kim said...

Rachel, glad you enjoyed your visit and thank you for visiting. I will let you know when I have posted more pic's.

Nicole and Ryall said...

Hi, your Borneo trip sounds fantastic and really close to what my partner and I are hoping to do in March next year. Did you go on a tour or travel independently? Would you consider posting an itinerary?

Thanks in advance

Kim said...

Hi there,
Sabah is easy enough to travel by yourself and you don't need an organised tour - but most of the activities will need to be booked through the relevant agent. Our itinerary was:
1st Day Kota Kinabalu
2-3rd Days Climibing Mount Kinabalu and transfer to Poring Hot Springs (book direct)for the 2nd night
4-6th Days Transfer to Sandakan and see the town (long than planned because we couldn't get to Turtle Island earlier)
7th Day Turtle Island
8th Day Transfer to River for the night
9th Day Return to Sepilok and visit to Orang Utang Reserve
10th Day Return to Singapore
Have a great trip.