Sunday, 21 January 2018

My Malaysia Trip: Borneo Part Three

The next part of my Malaysia trip was my favourite, spending time in the Borne rainforest. We had jam packed 3 days planned with SI Tours, which I would thoroughly recommend as a tour company through Sabah in Borneo. It started with a flight from Kuala Lumpur the previous day to Kota Kinabalu, then about a 4 hour layover in a hotel before an early morning start to fly to Sandakan to start our tour of Borneo.

Make sure you've read my Kuala Lumpur and Cameron Highlands blog posts before this one!

Despite being on very little sleep, we were so excited to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Our SI Tour guide Erdy picked us up and took us around the center, which also had the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. It was amazing to see all of the animals so close up!

The orangutans are semi-wild here, so they are allowed to leave the enclosures whenever they choose and the keepers feed them with fairly tasty food so they're encouraged to leave and depend on their own for better food. They also have a nursery for the young and are kept closely monitored by the center. Everything is very well thought out at the center, there are museums and educational videos you can watch and plenty of tour guides around who you can ask questions. The tour guides recommend you visit at feeding times because that's when you're most likely going to see any orangutans - we had a few cheeky young orangutans and a mother with a baby!

From the orangutan center, we went to a fishing village called Sim Sim where all huts and houses are built upon stilts and their main trade was fishing. We caught a boat and went down the Kinabatangan River to Abai Jungle Lodge, where we'll be staying for the next two days. They were simple lodges with no fancy frills, no air con and a basic shower. The gardens and surrounding areas were beautiful, you are literally in the middle of the jungle and can see and hear wildlife from your bedroom - we had to keep all windows and doors shut because of the cheeky monkeys getting into people's rooms!

Throughout our time along the river we spotted so many animals, mainly birds and monkeys but the highlights were the elephants and crocodiles! There would've been no other way to see these wild animals without the tour guides spotting them along the river and their local knowledge. I do wish I had brought my DSLR camera rather than my iPhone, a few other people had hefty cameras and telescopes to get the best shots! We had many day trips but also one night trip of which we saw all of the crocodiles eyes shining in the torch light and a tree full of fireflies, which we enjoyed whilst drinking a cup of tea and eating biscuits.

Besides the river tours we also got to leave a memory in the rainforest and planted our own trees. We each had a tag for the tree with a number that is linked to our name - hopefully I'll be back in years to come and to see my tree all grown up! We visited the village opposite the Abai Jungle Lodge and walked past their houses, saw their school and learnt more about how they lived in the jungle - it's about a 2 hour boat ride from the nearest town so it's very remote!

After two nights at the Abai Lodge, we went further down river to the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge which was a lot bigger and the lodges were slightly better too. Throughout our stay at both lodges we were treated to a buffet of delicious food - and I mean it was delicious! There were grilled vegetables, fried fish and chicken, soup and desserts every night, as well as entertainment from the local village people.

This part of my Malaysia trip really was my favourite time, seeing all of the animals and getting taken on boat trips around the river. I didn't actually mind that I was always hot and sweaty, had no makeup and didn't really care what my room was like as long as it had a comfy bed! After this we travelled back to Sandakan airport for our final stop in Kota Kinabalu - but you'll have to wait until next week for that one...

Catch up with my Kuala Lumpur and Cameron Highlands blog posts too!

Have you been to Malaysia before?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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