It was a couple more hours by bus and share taxi in a bit of a large U-turn, before I arrived at Kampong Sukau. And this really was a kampong (village). I mean, I've been in some small towns in the course of my travels, but you could almost count the number of huts here, and of course, just one (narrow) road running through the place. There are a few lodges/ B&Bs here for tourists like me, but in the main town area, there was one restaurant (which was empty), a school, and two provision shops. Remarkably, there's an internet cafe too though, jam-packed with school-kids playing LAN games. Can you blame them?
So why was I here? Situated along the River Kinabatangan, Sukau is one of the natural places from which to explore the wildlife along the river banks via river cruises. The place I stayed (Greenview B&B) had a comprehensive package offering multiple (five) river cruises and a couple of jungle treks, which most tourists sign up for. But being the penny-pincher I am, I decided to go a la carte, and just picked and chose a few from the menu.
So how were the cruises? We
were warned that wildlife sightings were not guaranteed, so our expectations were measured. Hence, the cruises (basically on a small motorised sampan) were surprisingly good, with several sightings of wildlife ranging from monkeys (proborcis and macaques), snakes (yellow tree and python), monitor lizard, lots of birds (herons, egrets, kingfishers, hornbills), and even the elusive orangutan (twice), though we missed the grandest prize of all, the pygmy elephants, despite our guides telling us there was news that they'd be sighted in the area recently. Given the rather busy traffic of tourist boats ploughing the river daily, I was quite surprised at the natural state of the wildlife. They didn't seem particularly peturbed by us, and on occasion we were able to get up quite close to them along the banks. A kingfisher even merrily dived into the water for his breakfast catch, and several macaques continued mating, despite our proximity!
Met two Danish girls Amanda and Christine, as well as a British girl Charlotte. They were all taking the year off from school/ work, and travelling Southeast Asia like me, though they were all still only in the initial weeks/ months. It was a little poignant for me reflecting back
Pretty much as small and non-descript as they come.
over all the places I'd already visited, when they told me about their plans for the year ahead. Technically, my year is already coming to an end, though not my time travelling I hope/ think!
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