Blogs from Sabah, Malaysia, Asia


Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kinabatangan October 12th 2023

I wanted to do something different and signed up to volunteer for two weeks in the jungle of Borneo. I mainly wanted to see the orangutans, but also learn about the life and the culture of the island of Borneo. We were three volunteers and stayed with our guide in a small camp close to the Kinabatangan river. The cabins were simple, but cosy. We were surrounded by nature and only a small village of 100 people was near by. Every morning we had to get up at 6am and take a small canoe like boat down the river to an empty plot of land for clearing and planting new trees. We usuallly spend the whole morning helping with reforestation of empty plots of land left by the timber or palm oil industry. Within two weeks ... read more
Borneo Elephants
Proboscis monkey
Grey monkey

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Sandakan September 29th 2022

The end of the Intrepid trip was nigh – we would return back to Sandakan in a few days to fly out but for now we had a quick over-nighter in Sandakan. After a delicious roti lunch, we explored the small compact city and escaped the afternoon heat in the town’s mall! Later that evening we met the Intrepid crew at a rooftop bar for drinks, dinner and a glorious sunset. After dinner, a few of us hit the town and went to the seaside where there were markets, pumping music and families enjoying the Saturday night. A couple our gang got roped into dancing with a local singing group which was fun. The next day we caught a small ferry to Selingan Island – one of three islands that make up the Turtle islands chain ... read more
Rooftop bar
Turtle islands
Mama turtle

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Sepilok September 29th 2022

The next morning we departed early and collected our main bags from Sandakan and headed to nearby Sepilok to stay at a jungle resort and see Orangutans! We left our bags and the resort and the Orangutan rehabilitation centre was nearby. These Orangutans had been rescued (many were illegal pets) and are brought to the rehabilitation centre for exactly that – rehabilitation and nurturing until they can be let back into the wild. The expansive centre is a giant rainforest and there was a nursery for the baby orangutans and we sat behind glass watching them play and swing around on the jungle gyms and trees. Then it was feeding time in the main area (which was all outdoors) and we saw so many orangutans they really put on a show for us! Later me and ... read more
Proboscis feeding time
Monkey at the Sun Bear conservation centre
Sun Bear

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Ranau September 23rd 2022

We then spent the next 2 nights at the Poring hot Springs- we knew what to expect. Built in WWII for Japanese soldiers, the hot springs are a series of outdoor tubs with taps dispensing sulphur water. I just dipped my feet it, and then me and Bill set off for the butterfly farm where we saw a few butterflies and enjoyed the air conditioned indoor exhibit, and then we set off for the canopy walkway which is the highest in Sabah. To our chagrin, more stairs!! We climbed approx 43 metres up to the canopy and walked the 4 rocky canopy walkways amongst the lush trees and just looked at the views, it was pretty great! After lunch, we had a beer and headed back to the hotel so I could get a much needed ... read more
Canopy walkway
Rafflesia flower
Pygmy Elephant on wildlife cruise

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Mount Kinabalu September 21st 2022

The next morning we set out for our next adventure, climbing Mt Kinabalu! Felix had registered all our details (including evidence of a negative Covid test) and we congregated at the park headquarters together our 3 mountain guides Sai, Edwin and Bonny. As we had to take our overnight gear with us, most of us sent a small amount of gear with porters. And with that we set of to the Timpohon gate the start the climb. The gate is already approx 1900m above sea level, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that will make the climb easier! The track to the guest house is 6 km long, at a very steep incline. The track is a combination of steep stairs (in my case, knee-height) large boulders and some flat paths. Each km there ... read more
Stairs and more stairs
Sunset at the guesthouse
Bill and I at the summit

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kota Kinabalu September 19th 2022

We left Penang to fly to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the state of Sabah on Malaysian Borneo. Our flight was delayed by 2 hours but we finally boarded and 2hr50 later we were in Borneo! We arrived to our hotel which was opposite the night food market so we went to have look around that evening. The market itself is dubbed the ‘Filipino market’ and has a large fresh seafood section, as well as fresh and cooked foods. We bought a couple of skewers and went back to the hotel with a couple of beers. The next day we walked around town, and found ourselves in one of the many malls to get away from the heat! Kota Kinabalu is interesting – the city centre is a bit run down but there are many malls ... read more
Masjid Bandaraya

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kota Belud February 27th 2020

The last few days of our Borneo holiday we wanted to spend on Pulau Mantanani, an island 45 minutes off the west coast of Borneo. Our guides dropped us off at Rampayam Jetty north of the town of Kota Belud, and from there we caught a boat to the island. It was only a 45-minute trip, but it was a hell of a ride. There were a lot of waves, and our captain was keen on racing the boat through them, so more often than not the boat would jump off one wave and hit the bottom of a wave valley hard. I tried to sit as upright as possible in order to prevent my discs from any damage. Luckily neither Mizzi nor I got seasick. But the staff passed plastic bags to several passengers who ... read more
Mantanani Island II
Mantanani Island III
Mantanani Island IV

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Mount Kinabalu February 23rd 2020

On Friday morning we set off for a three-day, two-night tour in the jungle around Mount Kinabalu. The mountain is, with an altitude of over 4,000 metres, the tallest mountain in Borneo. It is surrounded by jungle, and one can take various tours. Amongst them is a two-day tour up the mountain. On day two, one can watch the sunrise from the peak of the mountain. However, Mizzi and I had deliberately decided against it. We both did not feel in the physical condition for it. Moreover, we were more in the mode of relaxing and exploring than in the mood for challenge. Thus, we had booked a tour that would take us camping at the foot of the mighty mountain, with a few easier hikes included. We left our hostel in Kota Kinabalu early, dropped ... read more
View towards Mount Kinabalu I
View towards Mount Kinabalu I
Climbing steep trails

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kinabatangan February 21st 2020

We arrived back from Libaran Island at around 9.30 in the morning, walked back to our car that we had parked in a parking garage in the nearby shopping mall, and headed off towards Sukau. We were got g to spend two nights in a lodge by the river Kinabatangan to see the wildlife in the area: different types of monkeys, birds, maybe even pygmy elephants or a clouded leopard. The distance is only around 100 km, but due to the road having only two lanes and being under construction in some parts it took us over 2.5 hours to get to Sukau, also partly due to heavy rain showers. The last part of the road had a lot of big potholes, but we made it to our destination alright. We parked the car next to ... read more
Kinabatangan River II
Kinabatangan River III
Baby crocodile

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Sepilok February 18th 2020

I left my hotel in Singapore early in the morning and caught the first MRT train to the airport to catch my flight to Kota Kinabalu in Borneo. I was going to meet Mizzi there, and we would spend two weeks travelling the state of Sabah in the north of Borneo. Despite the early hour, there were so many people on the train that there was no seat for me. This was unfortunate since I was unwell. I guess I had overdone it with my 20 km walk through the city of Singapore in the heat the day before. Or maybe it was the jetlag kicking in. Usually I do not suffer from jetlag too much, simply by getting into the rhythm of the time zone I am in straight away, but this time I had ... read more
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre I
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre II
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre III

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