Adventures in Borneos jungle

In august I found some really cheap tickets to Kuala Lumpur. For only 2700 danish kroner I could go to Malaysias capital with 5 star Qatar Airways!
I couldn´t let this pass…

The planning was started and when I could see my dream to visit Borneo could come true, I booked the domestic flights.

Nov 14 we left Copenhagen airport and with only 1 stop in Doha, we arrived the next day in Kuala Lumpur. The temperature was 34 degress C, the humidity was 100% and the city was huge, noisy and fascinating.


The taxi ride to the hotel took approx. 1 hour and 15 minuttes. Regalia Suites is a 4 star appartment hotel was located in the district called Putra. Very nice. The building had a nice small restaurant and a really cool infinity pool at the roof top with with an outstanding skyline view. Not bad 😉

At first we had 2 nights in KL. On our full day we tried to walk to the Patronas Tower, but we had to acknowledge that we were blocked by highways, so we had to go down to the underground and figure out how it all worked downthere. It didn´t took long. The metro in KL is very easy and very cheap.

We arrived to the Patronas Towers and could enjoy the sight of the tall beautiful buildings. 88 floors and the worlds highest twin-towers. From the towers we walked through a lot of a shoppingmalls before we went to the metro again. This time to go to the Batu Caves, which is one of the most famous hindu temples outside India. Unfortunately, this was about to be renovated, so it didn´t gave the best impression.

     

Nov 17 we went to the airport, boarded an Airasia flight to Sandakan on the northern part of Borneo. We had 1 night in the city at 4 star Four Point by Sheraton Sandakan, perfect time to see the small city which is a cozy fishing village with a huge shoppingmall with direct entrance from the hotel, with a local market with fruits and spices and with a cozy relaxed life in the streets.
The hotel was good with big rooms and a large window with the view of the jungle and also with an infinity pool.

   

The following day at 9, we got picked up at the hotel and our roundtrip with Eco Tours begins.
After a short drive to the harbour, we had 1 hour boattrip ahead before we came to Selingan Island – also called Turtle Island. When we arrived to the island, our guide gave us a short introduction about the island, which is only an island you visit for 1 night and only to see sea turtles. There are 2 species who are coming to the island to laying their eggs… the green turtle and the hatchback turtle… and they come all year around. The island also had snakes and lizards.

We had a wonderful afternoon. There was nothing else to do, than enjoy the sun, so we went to the beach and was swimming in the clear warm Sulu Sea. It was so amazing – really a true paradise!

In the evening after dinner we should be ready to run. If a ranger saw a turtle on the beach our guide was called on the walkie… this happened around 7.30 pm. In pitch darkness we ran and groped our way to the ranger who was already by the giant egglaying turtle. It was still very dark, only a flashlight was by the nest where the soft small eggs plopped down. The ranger sat by the turtles side and ready to collect the eggs.
When the turtle was finish the ranger had all her eggs. We´d go to the hatchery and the eggs got a new hole with a small sign about how many eggs, the date ect. In that way they can control how many turtles are coming to the island, which turtles and how many eggs they are laying.

During the afternoon/evening there were some small turtles who saw daylight for the first time and we now had to help them into the large dark ocean. They were so cute… small tiny-turtles who crawled into the sea themselves.

The day after we had an early start… we had an hour into Sandakan by boat and from there we took a ride into the island to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. The center opened in 1964 as the first official orangutan rehabilitation project with the purpose of helping orphan orangutans from habitats destroyed by tree logging, poachery or being a illegal pet. The center cares for approx. 60-80 orangutans on nearly 4500 acres of land.

The center has also begun saving the small sun bears, which is the smallest bear species in the world.

After lunch we set course for the jungle. For 2½ hours we cruised along on Malaysia’s second longest river, Kinabatangan – going towards our lodge destination of Bukit Melapi. We were accommodated with a view to the jungle.

For the next couple of days we got up at 5:30 to get on the river and see the jungle come to life. We walked on socalled boardwalks through the jungle and in the afternoon we went to the river again to spot for wild life. We saw the famous local and very characteristic proboscis monkeys, we spotted quite a lot of eating and playful makak monkeys and we saw the large and beautiful hornbills. We also saw a single crocodile and we experienced the famous orangutans in the natural wild. On top of all this, we saw quite a lot of insects and spectacular plants and flowers.

The most intense experience was a night time cruise. It was only my sister and I who went – and the boatsman of course. We spotted some fantastic and very beautiful king fisher birds. But as soon as the boatsman turned off the engine and his flash light and we just sat there in the middle of the river in the pitch black night and listened to the sounds from the jungle, you really pinch your arm to ensure this is not a dream! It was all so close and around you, the whole experience was very intense and one I will never forget.

We had a total of 3 nights in the jungle – 2 nights on Bukit Melapi Lodge and 1 night on Sukau Rainforest Lodge. Both lodges were super nice – each with their own charms.
  
   

On Nov 22 we once again cruised through the jungle river for 2½ hours to reach our AirAsia flight at 14:30. The flight was only 50 mins from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu which is situated on the western part of Borneo. From the airport it took only approx. 1 hour to reach our resort, but it was really worth the wait. We took 2 nights on the 5-star Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai. It was so nice! The hotel, the food, the pool, the beach, the water – everything was indeed 5-star! We enjoyed a couple of days with great weather and up to 32 degrees C and we had some nice dips in the South China Sea.



The day before traveling home to Denmark, we went from Kota Kinabalu on Borneo back to Kuala Lumpur, were we grapped a final stay on the very pleasant 4-star hotel, The Everly Putrajaya. This hotel was conveniently situated right next to a shopping mall, giving us an excuse to spend the last pocket change. The hotel was also in fine distance to the airport, giving us a chance to avoid delays from the hefty morning traffic chaos of Kuala Lumpur. In the morning on Nov 25 we took off from Kuala Lumpur and arrived in the evening the same day in Copenhagen.

I can fully recommend flying with Qatar, we had several very fine meals served during the flights, they have an amazing entertainment system with both new and classic movies. You can make your own playlist with songs so you hear the music you really want. Their planes are very nice, excellent comfort in their seats and kind crew on board.

All flights were booked using momondo.dk, hotels were booked on booking.com and the round trip to Selingan Island and into the jungle were booked at Eco Tours. All in all a fine and eventful journey which costed approx. DKK 10.200,- per person.

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