A two week trip around some of the more interesting bits of Borneo.
Friday 25 June 2010 - Saturday 10 July 2010
Friday 25 June - The flight from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur was okay. Malaysia Airlines was pretty good for the 12 hours or so it took to get there. I then had a two hour connection to Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo. Food not quite so good on that flight. Arrived at midnight so promptly crashed in hotel.
Saturday 26 June, Sunday 27 June - Two days of wandering around the city. There is not a lot of old stuff here as it was badly damaged in WWII. However, the city has its charms and a good museum, interesting markets, shops etc, and a great bar and restaurant area on the waterfront (with the obligatory Irish and Aussie pubs).
The fishing fleet in Kota Kinabalu.
The obligatory Irish and Aussie pubs, as found the world over.
The Atkinson Clock Tower.
A general view over down town KK.
Example of a native Sabah dwelling at the Sabah Museum.
The Sabah State Mosque.
Monday 28 June - Very early flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. This is a 40 minute flight over the mountains on a small ATR aircraft. Sandakan is the home to the Sepilok Orang Utan sanctuary. It is a reasonably sized place with large harbour and fishing fleet and great bar / restaurant area on the waterfront. I spent the afternoon wandering around the hills and up to Agnes Keith House, a historical place with a great view overlooking the town and the harbour.
The tea rooms at Agnes Keith House.
The waterfront bar and restaurant area.
Tuesday 29 June - I went out to the Sepilok Orang Utan rehabilitation centre. This is about 20km from the city and is accessible by city minibus. The No 14 minibus goes directly to to the centre's front gate and costs about 4 Ringgit (not much for a 20km drive). I got there for the afternoon feeding but was very disappointed. Only one orang utan came out of the forest to the feeding centre. He looked like an adolescent so, like any typical teenager, was there for a free feed. There were also lots of other monkeys trying to get a piece of the action and they swept up the scraps afterwards.
The entrance to the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary.
An interesting bug at Sepilok.
Is there any more food in there?
Go away!! It's mine.
Wednesday 30 June - A travel day. Flew from Sandakan back to Kota Kinabalu and thence onto Miri. I discovered a major booking error on my part as I somehow managed to book the hotel for the 25th rather than the 30th. Silly me! They had room thankfully and even gave me the room at the same rate as the booking agency charged. The hotel had a great pool. Great until the huge diesel generator right next to it decided to kick is due to a power outage. The barman says that it happens quite regularly.
Thursday 1 July - A very short flight (30 minutes) to Mulu. This is the only way in as there are no roads and going by river can take all day or longer. The Royal Mulu Resort is very fancy and also very expensive given that everything is either flown in or comes by boat. The afternoon was spent walking along to Lang Cave and Deer Cave. Deer Cave is absolutely huge with the entrance in the cliff face being 120 metres high. It is also home to three million bats. Seeing them fly out at dusk is awesome. It was chucking it down with rain most of the day so the photos are not great.
The walkway through the National Park to the caves.
One of the many rivers in the National Park.
And one of the many bugs that inhabit the National Park.
The entrance to Deer Cave.
The collapsed ceiling in Lang Cave.
Friday 2 July - More caves after a boat trip up the Mulu River and via a village market. By that time I had had enough of caves so only went into one of them. In the afternoon, I walked the canopy walk. This is one of the longest canopy walks in Asia. However it was disappointing as could only see trees and foliage. No birds or monkeys to be seen at all. There was a huge thunderstorm in the afternoon and evening and it sort of cooled things down a bit.
The Mulu River.
The village long house.
The village market.
The canopy skywalk in the National Park.
Saturday 3 July - Another travel day. Flew Mulu to Miri. Discovered a ticketing error by Malaysian Airlines that caused a long delay in my connection to Kuching. So, wandered into town for a walk and lunch. Eventually arrived in Kuching. The guest house was very close to the centre of town and is quite basic. All the hotels had been booked out by the Sarawak Has House Harriers.
Monday 4 July - A day spent wandering the city. There are lots of old colonial buildings still standing and quite a bit to see. Food also is very good.
The Sarawak State Parliament building.
A nice Chinese temple in the centre of Kuching.
The Astana Fort on the other side of the river.
The Kuching River.
The entrance to Carpenter Street in the old part of Kuching.
The Textile Museum of Sarawak. Did not go in, just looked an interesting building.
Monday 5 July - Given that I was disappointed with my visit to Sepilok, I decided to go out to the orang utan sanctuary at Semenggoh Wildlife Reserve. This is on the outskirts of the city and is very easy to get to. I got there for the breakfast feeding so there were more animals arriving for feeding and you could get a lot closer to them.
I suspect they have spotted a orange bundle of fur arriving for breakfast.
Yep. there he is.
And another one.
A mother and infant.
So that was the end of my Borneo trip. The last couple of days were spent in Bangkok shopping.
Impressions of Borneo. Very hot, especially in the jungle. Flying over Borneo one can see the huge amounts of land that is being used to grow palm oil. The jungles are shrinking and what they have got needs to be kept. People are friendly and the food is great.