Borneo!

August 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

On Sunday I returned from my fantastic week-long vacation in Borneo.  Here’s a quick synopsis of the trip:

The first two days of my trip were spent climbing the eerily beautiful Mt. Kinabalu. Mt. Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in South East Asia at 4,095 meters. I joined two British girls, Leah and Laura, for the climb. We spent the night at 11,000 feet at Laban Rata resthouse and summited the mountain at 5:00 a.m. the next morning.  The climb up to the rest house was dense, humid, waterfall-ridden cloud forest that gave way to giant rocks and Dr. Suess trees. Most of the summit portion of the climb was exposed granite. (You can see lots more photos of the climb and the trip on my flickr, of course.)

The third day I visited Sapi island with James, a lone Canadian traveler I met at my hostel. We spent the morning haggling with obstinate Malaysian ferry operators and the afternoon lounging on the beach, eating fresh fruit, and hiking around the island. We found this deserted stretch of beach on the far side of the island.

Days four and five were spent in Tabin Wildlife Refuge, a jungle refuge a 1 hour flight away from Kota Kinabalu. I was in a jungle trekking group with a French professor (who might be the most well-traveled person I’ve met), a Dutch family of four and a German family of four. We saw the Marbled Cat (a rare, small version of the Clouded Leopard), Pig-tailed Macaques, Leopard Cats, Flying Foxes, wild boar, and many endemic birds and insects. It was fascinating to see the small differences between the jungle in Borneo and the Amazon, and to experience the atmosphere of the jungle.

Day six I hung out in Kota Kinabalu on my own. I found a legal area for graffiti, shopped the open-air produce markets, went on a river cruise on the Klias river, and ate a traditional Malaysian dinner with an Australian couple and two Japanese men (who were thrilled to practice their English with me).

On the last day, day seven, I visited the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park to see some of the animals that I didn’t see in the wild. I saw Orangutangs, Bornean Pygmy Elephants, Sambar Deer, Sun Bears, and the very elusive Sumatran Rhino.

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