Resort Style R & R With The Orang Utans.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2018

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Monday, February 22, 2010

The taxi arrived at the Rasa Ria Resort and as we gingerly eased ourselves out, favouring our aching muscles and sore feet, the doorman rushed up and said "Congratulations did you make it all the way to the top?" We answered in the affirmative, but were briefly bemused, then it hit us, normal people don't hobble quite the way we were.  The welcome was effusive, with a gong ringing out and Yoko, one of the receptionists  coming out to greet us. She took us immediately to comfortable lounge chairs, brought us a welcome drink and proceeded to check us in from the comfort of our chairs. Sabah nationals are very proud of their mountain and are pleased that visitors climb it.

Actually we were very pleased to be at the resort in one piece. We had booked a taxi from the National Park to take us, and we spent most of the time trying to stop the driver from falling asleep on the 1 &1/2 hour journey! He called into a village soon after leaving to pick up his teenage son to take back to university. The son promptly went to sleep in the front seat and soon after, Dad started dozing off at the wheel   - this at 11.00am! We kept talking to him and asking him to stop and take a break but he kept going. He did try to find a shop open to get a coffee but to no avail as the area was predominately Christian and it was Sunday.

Rasa Ria Resort is quite unique in that it runs a programme to rehabilitate young orphaned orangutans to enable them to be returned  to the jungle.  It was for the chance to glimpse the endangered orangutans, that we chose to spoil ourselves and go up market for a night, but also the fact, that well, we jolly well had earned luxury after our mountain climb - and unadulterated luxury it was too!

After checking in, it was straight off to the nature interpretive centre to first view a video of the work the resort and the other Sabah Orang utan sanctuary, Sepilok are doing with the orang utans. They are endangered and only now found in Borneo and Sumatra. It is a legal requirement now for plantation owners to report a sighting so they can be monitored and relocated. Jail terms apply for killing or keeping them as pets.  Orang utans are the closest to humans in DNA having 96% the same genes.  Currently Rasa Ria has six orphans between the ages of two and four, that are being taught to fend for themselves and will eventually be ready to live in the wild.   

The ranger gave a talk and explained that the walk through the jungle to the feeding platform would involve steep uneven steps. Yikes! We stayed behind the others so we did not hold anyone up and managed to make our legs work enough to get us up to the platform. The orangutans don’t necessarily present themselves, as the whole plan is that eventually they will be foraging their own food and won’t need to, but we were lucky as three out of the six came for some food.  One male was high up above where we were standing and decided it was time to see how far he could shoot a urine stream, just like a human toddler, his aim was excellentt and it landed on some of the people on the platform below. I am sure he was laughing. 

Back at our resort room we enjoyed a rest then set out for some food. We found “Maken Street” which is a re-creation by the resort of street food. Buffet style we could just browse and eat the best seafood imaginable plus many other dishes. Dessert was to die for and we even shouted ourselves a nice bottle of Australian wine to toast our mountain climbing success. Breakfast the next day was impressive and for the first time since being away I enjoyed the simple pleasure of a bowl of muesli. Breakfast cereal is not  a feature in Asia breakfasts.

Rasa Ria was the sort of place you could imagine coming and staying awhile but our 24 hours of luxury was over and it was on the road again.

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