Into the Heart of Borneo

Trip Start Mar 29, 2006
Trip End Sep 07, 2006

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hi everyone,
Had a magical time in Borneo. Flew into Sandakan airport which was only a short 40 minute flight from the west coast on Friday afternoon. Got picked up at the airport and transferred to the Sepilok Jungle resort which was just outside the orangutan sanctuary. The resort was amazing, we got a lovely room with Air con (thank goodness) as the humidity especially in the rainforest is incredible, you literally walk out of the room and within 5 minutes are pumping sweat!! The whole resort was enclosed in a rainforest with a lake and interconnecting wooden bridges. Went to the buffet dinner that evening and gorged on honey roasted chicken.

The next morning, up bright and early for the day at the sanctuary, you pay one charge and it allows you into the visitor centre and to attend two feedings at 10.00am and 3.00pm. The centre was not commercial at all which was good, no touching the orangutans was allowed for fear the humans would pass viruses to the animals! It took about 15 minutes to walk to the feeding station up a wooden walkway surrounded by rainforest to wait for the ranger to appear with the bucket of food. Every day there is different and there is no guarantee of sightings as the centre is basically supplementing the diet of their released orangutans. Will let the photos speak for themselves of what we saw. Was the most amazing experience and one that will stay in the memory for a long time...

The following morning we met up with four other people to begin our long transfer to the Kinabatangan river for our "Overnight jungle adventure". The others on the tour were great, an English couple who now live in Singapore and an American guy with his dutch girlfriend who had been travelling for the last 8 months so we knew on the journey it was going to be enjoyable. The first part of the drive in the minibus was fine until we took a turn to the left onto the most unbelievable road ever, was basically a dirt track with the biggest potholes we have ever seen. after being jolted around the bus for about two hours, we got to a makeshift jetty on the river from where we boarded our little wooden boat and got ferried over to our "lodge".

Our room for the night was basic but fine, two single beds with the thinnest mattresses I have ever seen, a cold water only tap and a fan that is only powered between 6.00pm and 11.00pm as they do not have electricity during the night or day.

Had a quick black tea and coffee and onto the boat again with our guide Nelson. Spent 3 hours cruising down the river looking for wildlife. Nelson was incredible could spot even the slightest movement in the trees and knew what it was instantly. We saw loads of different types of monkeys, crocodiles, birds and lizards, the highlight being a pregnant wild orangutan which was fantastic.

We all went on a nightwalk with Nelson before "lights out!", he was suitably equipped with a large machete and we were covered from top to toe for fear of leeches and other unsavouries falling from the trees onto our heads. Was totally mad, creeping through a rainforest with our headtorches looking for wild animals, did manage to see lots of wild cats, some of them pretty big and scary aswell as loads of massive insects, frogs and a mousedeer!

Next morning, we were all up at 5.15am to go on another river cruise. Amazing, looking at the sun rising over the trees onto the river. Highlight of this journey was a huge monitor lizard, lazing on a branch overlooking the river.

All too soon the trip was over and we headed back to Sepilok. Had a lovely night with our new friends from Singapore who we will visit when we arrive there at the end of the month.

We hope the photos do Borneo some justice...

Off to Kuala Lumpar for five days now..

Love Lisa and Paul x
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