27th April 2019 – Kota Kinabalu

We had a lazy start with breakfast at 9.30. Lots of our fellow travellers have already left but Cat is still here and of course Peter who travels on with us on the next trip. We also met Nizam at breakfast and had a chance to day some final farewells to a great guide.

Between us we decided that we’d stay around KK today and so at 11am we meet again and got a taxi up the hill to the observatory which gave views over the city.

The temperature is again very warm but definitely not quite as humid as in Sarawak. Next we walked down the hill, through a park and along to the clock tower.

We walked back to the hotel, which wasn’t far, and caught another taxi to the Sabah museum. We spent a pleasant hour looking some the history of Sabah and some of the exhibits, including from the headhunters trail!

As we were staying to get hungry, we caught yet another taxi back to near our hotel and had a light lunch in a trendy backpackers coffee shop. (the distances in the city are not far, but as it’s so hot, and the taxis so cheap, it’s worth doing!)

We then walked along toward the port and to one of the hotels which has a sky bar overlooking the bay.

View from the sky bar

We each had a couple of drinks before walking back to our hotel. We said our farewells to Cat as she is doing it this evening before having a rest and as I’m writing this, were just about to go to our second group briefing.

We met up with our new group at 6pm and, surprisingly, there is only one non European on this trip. The one Australian was arriving late so didn’t make the briefing. Our group this time is therefore 3 Swiss, 1 French, 1 German, 5 British (albeit that one is currently living in Australia) and an Australian. Our leader, Hasif, have is the usual introduction and then we headed out for food at a Malaysian restaurant.

We’d finished eating by 9 and some of its went for a couple of drinks at the BB bar before turning in just before midnight.

26th April 2019 – Labuan to Kota Kinabalu

We had a later start this morning and didn’t have to be ready until 11am so after a late breakfast we repacked our bags and checked out.

We boarded the minibus to take the 25 minute journey into Victoria. Here we had an hour to kill as we waited for our bags to be brought and so we stopped in a cafe for a cold drink and to pass the time.

At 12.30 we were able to board the ferry which would take us the 3.5 hour journey to Kota Kinabalu. The ferry was very crowded and whilst we all had a seat, it was pretty cramped.

We arrived at the terminal in Kota Kinabalu (KK) at 4.30 and once through immigration, had a bus to our hotel.

The journey to our hotel only took a few minutes. We’ll be staying at the Dreamtel for the next two nights, for the last night of the first tour and the first night of the second tour. We’ll also end or adventure here.  We’re on the 10th floor so have quite a view over the city.

Not exactly an exciting view!

After a quick shower, we meet everyone again at 6pm to go for our final group meal. We stopped on the way to drop washing off.. It’ll be delivered back to the hotel by 10am tomorrow, and we walked on down to the waterfront for food.

As we were walking the sun started to set but the sky also got much darker. There was some thunder and lightening, but no rain.

We carried on and ended up in a Thai restaurant for food. Meanwhile, outside, the heaven’s had opened!

It was pretty good, with I could have done with the crab having been or prepared!

After food and a couple of group photos, we walked back to the hotel and said some goodbyes to those leaving.

Chuck, Mel, Nizam, Peter, Jake, Yvonne, Leanne, Connor, Amy, Cat, me, Kim, Ed

Then Ed, Peter and I, among with Mel and Kim, walked to a bar in Chinatown for a few beers. There was some ‘live’ entertainment and after a few beers we walked back to the hotel for another good night’s sleep!

25th April 2019 – Limbang to Labuan

We had another early start with breakfast at 5am and a departure, in a minibus this time, at 5.45am. Our destination was the ferry at Limbang about an hour and 20 minutes drive away.

The first 30 minutes was up and down on rough tracks, before eventually arriving to paved roads.

When we arrived at the port, we cleared immigration between Sarawak as we’re now heading into a different province of Malaysia, Sabah. After a quick coffee we boarded the ferry and settled in for the two hour trip to the island of Lubuan.

Our vessel

The boat travelled quickly down the river and out onto the sea, crossing under a new suspension bridge being built. There were also a lot of oil rigs in the bay. At and 10am we had arrived!

Being in an air conditioned boat, it’s easy to forget how warm it is outside. The heat hit us as we got off the boat, although it’s not quite as humid here.

We met our local guide who first took our bags off to our next hotel whole we had an hour or so for food and a coffee. Labuan is a tax free island and the were duty free shops everywhere.

When our guide returned with the minibus, we were first taken to the commonwealth war memorial and cemetery. As it was Anzac Day, it was especially poignant. We learned a bit about the commonwealth and allied troops on Borneo who had been captured by the Japanese and who were ultimately forced to march from one party of the island to another. Of over 3,000 soldiers, only a small percentage made it, and only 6 on total actually survived the war.

Our next stop was back in the main town, Victoria. Labuang first became a British territory in around 1856. We saw the various plaques and statues to the different events in Labuan’s history.

We also visited the small museum.

By now it was 1pm and this group of weary travellers was keen to get to the hotel. Fortunately, it was now time to go! We drove about 30 minutes before pulling into the Palm beach resort where we were welcomed by a drumming party!

A welcoming committee

It’s by far the plushest hotel that we’ve ever stayed in with Intrepid and whilst is a bit tired around the edges, were very happy to be staying here.

It’s right on the beach
Our room
The view from our room

We didn’t the rest of the day simply relaxing and sorting out our wet and dry clothes and of course having a cold beer or two! We’ll sort or washing when we get to Kota Kinabalu tomorrow as we’re there for two days, and there’s plenty of it… some dirty and some wet, smelly and dirty!

We met our group for a meal in the evening. Whilst tomorrow is the last night of our first trip, and so we’ll have a final group meal then, lots of our group have very early departures on Saturday, so this evening almost felt like a last night’s party! Lots of us toll the opportunity to have some Western food and had burgers!

Or group: Ed, Jake, Cat, Nizam, Kim, Amy, Mel, Connor, Chuck, Leanne, me, Yvonne and Peter

After food, we started seeing the bar chatting and playing pool until by midnight, it was time to go to bed!

24th April 2019 – The Headhunter’s Trail.

Not the best night’s sleep last night. A combination of the heat and the less comfortable bed, along with other Chinese travellers getting up very noisily at 5.30 am made for a sleepless night.

We needed to be up for a breakfast of noodles and fried egg at 7am. The heat did calm down overnight and when we woke it was relatively fresh. However, none of the wet clothing had dried and even the dry clothing felt mildly damp.

An all round view
Before we start! Mel, Kim, Jake, Connor, Peter, Cat, me, Yvonne, Ed, Amy, Chuck, Leanne and Nizam

We started our walk at around 8am with the temperature starting to climb. The first section took us up past the swimming point to another monkey ladder rope bridge. Then we headed back down the river bank on the opposite side.

The terrain was similar to yesterday alternating between stone, mud and planks. As we walked there were markers every 1km to tell us how we were doing! After about an hour we had managed to cover just over 3km and the humidity was starting to become very high.

By 6km, we were all dripping with sweat and it struck me quite how remote we are. There were no roads to the camp 5, and so there really was only one way to go… On! At 7km we came to a crossing where the original monkey ladder rope bridge had been destroyed by a falling tree. Here we had to remove our socks and shoes and wade across. As I removed my one shoe there was quite a bit of blood just before the ankle and it was clear that a leech had been having a meal at my expense! The small round was still bleeding even after I had waded across the river through the knee high water.

Crossing the river

Just on the other side we stopped to put our socks and shoes back on and for some of us to tend our wounds. Ed also had been host to a leech just before he went into the water.

We walked on, glad that we were over half way. However, the heat and humidity we taking their toll and we were all starting to get very tired! The forest wildlife also seemed to have woken up to the fact that there was fresh meat around and Ed had another leech on his wrist and an insect such stung him on the stomach.

Eventually, after almost 5 hours, we arrived at a river bank where there were boats waiting to take us down stream. A very welcome sight. I can honestly say that I’ve never exercised is such extreme conditions and the headhunter trail may ‘only’ have been 11km, but it certainly felt much longer.

Made it. Just as well you can’t see how sweaty we are!

The boats were a slightly deeper version of the ones that we’d been on yesterday and also had seats fashioned out of plastic chairs with their legs cut off. We climbed aboard, glad to have made it! So, the headhunter trail, a great challenge and one to be proud of!

A welcome sight

We had a 30 minute journey downstream with alternating for water and ‘rapids’. Just before we stopped for lunch there was a section that we had to get out and walk around! We stopped just after where the boat handlers had prepared a lunch of vegetables, aubergine and sweet and sour booked egg, with a watery melon for pudding!

You can clearly see the rock formations

We then got back on our boats for a 3 hour journey downstream to our accommodation for the evening. At first the sun was out and the views of the winding river were beautiful, with the rain forest rushing from either side. However, the clouds started to roll in and before long it rained. Hard!

I was in a different boat to Ed but I grabbed my plastic poncho and pulled it over my head. However the hood came down and before long my face was drenched and water was trickling down my neck. The boat driver ploughed on as the rain bounced off the surface of the river. Fortunately it wasn’t cold!

After a while the rain subsided before starting again just before we arrived at our destination…a long house homestay. We got off the boats and sheltered under a tin shed until it subsided a little. When it did we walked a couple of minutes to our accommodation.

It’s raining!

The long house is essentially a type of terraced house where neighbours share a common space at the front of the building and this was to be where we were sleeping in little ‘pods’ to protect us against the mossies! The traditional longhouses would have been wooden, but now they are built from concrete. We arrived, a bedraggled mess and were greeted warmly, although it was a little unclear what we were to do. There were some shared toilets and a shower. However, in the end, Ed and I decided to simply dry off and put some dry clothes on from our large bags which we had just been reunited with!

After some time relaxing with a couple of cold beers and then we shown how our meal was to be cooked using a bamboo stuffed with chicken and spices on a BBQ.

A cooking demo!

After a while, the owner came to explain that a local TV station was filming a piece about the local tribes and, in particular, how they use herbs and spices in a sorry of make shift sauna. The two American lads were volunteered to be the models and we spent the next 45 minutes watching the film crew take the shots of the presenter interviewing one of the elder ladies about the techniques whilst the models roasted on the sauna made of rattan carpets covered with a cloth roof. All very bizarre!

It was now about 7.45 and time for tea. We were served the chicken along with rice and some spinach and done tasty spicy pineapple curry. We were all flagging a bit by now but there was still the cultural display to watch, although some choose to head to bed. (As it turned out, this was a bit of a mistake as the display as taking place at the other end of the common area so there was no sleep to be had whilst it was taking place). First one of the older ladies danced, followed by a man doing a warrior dance. Then, of course, they tried to get us to take part. I declined, but a couple of the group ended up having a go whilst the local film crew filmed! We were also served some rice wine!

Finally, it was time to retire to our pods, although it’s another stiflingly hot evening and the fans can only do so much.

Overall, an interesting, bizarre, tiring, but ‘enjoyable’ day!

23rd April 2019 – Mulu NP HQ to Camp 5

Another great night’s sleep and a relatively late alarm call of 7.10 am. After breakfast we met up with Chris again who would lead us on the morning activities.

We boarded a long narrow boost with 4 of us in each and traveled 10 minutes upstream.  The water was pretty shallow in places and the driver weaved in and out to find the forest parts. Our first stop was at  Batu Bungan village, home to Penan people.

The villagers are still allowed to hunt animals even though it’s a national park as long as they are only for their own consumption. We saw education boards that have been set up for them to teach them about the dangers of forest destruction and the need to preserve the environment. We saw how the blow pipes used for hunting are made and also had a go firing (I was quite pleased that I got the target!)

Teaching the locals about conservation
About to fire…
The market
I’m sure I can hit the target

We got back into the boats and travelled another 10 minutes up the river. The river is write busy with long boats travelling in both directions.

The first cave to visit was the Cave of the Winds there was a steep walkway up to the cave. Inside the were long passageways which opened out into large impressive caverns with stalactites and stalagmites. It’s difficult to define and the photos certainly don’t do the scale justice. Inside we also came across a tall cavern with roof fallen in and you could see the vegetation and the sky outside.

After another short boat trip we reached Clearwater cave. The Clearwater cave system, which includes the Cave of the Winds, is currently known to be 225km long and is the 8th longest in the world. However, they’re still exploding and it may be that this record changes.

We walked the 200 steps up to the opening and then descended into a large cavern. Like the other caves, the tourist route is well laid out with concrete or wooden walkways and ambient lighting. The caves are all about 25 degrees and 95% humidity do needless to say you get very sweaty! We descended into the cave and saw the river running through the bottom. Again, there were amazing rock formations. We went up and down many more steps before eventually arriving back at the cave opening.

We descended back to the area where we left the boats. By now it was 11.30 and we are a prepared lunch that had been prepared for us of chicken, rice and vegetables, washed down with a coffee and water.


After lunch we continued upstream. The water was now very shallow in places and we need the help of the lad in the front of the boat to use a stick to push us along some of the narrowest bits. We’ve been warned that we may need to get out of it’s too shallow, but as I type this, we haven’t yet had to do it!

We managed to get all the way without having to get out of the boat and all too soon, we were arriving at the landing point for the start of our 8.5km walk to camp 5.

It was around 1pm when we eventually left and it was hot and humid. The forest provided shade from the sun but seemed to enhance the humidity! The track itself was quite well defined with stones mostly marking the edge and planks every so often where it was muddy. Nizam warned us to look out for leaches on our legs! Within 15 minutes, we were all a dripping sweaty mess!

After about 1km we arrived at the first of the two river crossings. It was a narrow walkway with ropes either side. We had to go one at a time so it took us a little while to all get across.

Crossing the river!

With that negotiated, we walked on. It started raining and whilst it sounded heavy, it didn’t really penetrate the canopy. The next stop, which Nizam informed us was about halfway, was the second crossing. This one was a bit higher and you had to walk to a slope to get to the crossing.

We walked on with just one more stop before the camp, just before an ‘up and down’ section. We eventually arrived at camp 5 after about 2 hours 45 minutes, at around 3.45pm.

Leech

The camp itself is in a clearing next to the river with an amazing backdrop of the Mulu pinnacles. There were loads of non-stinging bees eager to get at the salt on our sweaty bodies! After a quick coffee I went for a swim in the river. It was very refreshing and the coolish mountain water cooled me down quickly.

The camp itself is in a clearing next to the river with an amazing backdrop of the Mulu pinnacles. There were loads of non-stinging bees eager to get at the salt on our sweaty bodies! After a quick coffee I went for a swim in the river. It was very refreshing and the coolish mountain water cooled me down quickly.

The beds!

After changing we spent the next couple of hours chatting effort we waited for tea. This consisted of rice, chicken, vegetables and okra, with some layer cake that I had carried as a makeshift dessert.

Camp 5

The next adventure was putting up the mosquito nets. We’re song in dormitories with a raised platform for sleeping and a couple of thin mattresses to soften the hard wood. Having put the nets up, we mostly retired to our beds. It’s still only 8.10pm, but the exertions of the day and the fact that is still extremely warm means that staying still is probably the best option. Besides, tomorrow we tackle the 11.3km of the headhunters trail!

22nd April 2019 – Mulu NP

I woke up to the alarm at 8am, having had one of the best night’s sleep in months. I remember turning over in the night a few times and only half hearing the sounds of the animals. We’re at the NP HQ for another night and it’s good to not be repacking this morning.

Mulu national park, close to Brunei

We had a lazy breakfast in the cafeteria of fried eggs, stage and toast. We met at around 10.30 for a canopy walk. We walked around 30 minutes to the start of the walk, all along boardwalks. It felt particularly warm as we walked along with our local guide stopping every so often to show us various plants that the locals use as medicine.

We eventually arrived at the start of the canopy trail and climbed the steps to the start. It’s the longest tree based canopy trail in the world and covers around 450m 25-30m in the air. The bird were great but it read quite rickety in places.

Don’t look down
Big trees!

We walked back to the centre and had a look and a really good exhibition about the area and the floors, fauna and geology. By now it was almost 1pm and time for food! Another delicious offering for me of an Asian salad and a noodle based dish.

We’re staying at the HQ on the right of this pic and will walk all the way to the left!

We met everyone again at 2pm for a visit to the caves. We have a new local guide called Chris. We walked the 3km along the boardwalk to the caves a in styflingly warm conditions. On the way, we saw a pygmy squirrels and loads of different caterpillars we arrived at the caves and after a few minutes rest walked up to the caves.

Stick insect

There are two main caves; Lang’s cave and Deer cave. The first cave that went in was Lang’s cave. This cave was pretty impressive in size, but nothing compared with what was to come! In there we saw the odd bat, and a few swift nests. There were also some great stalactites and stalagmites. After completing the circuit in the cave we walked out and towards the deer cave.

A bat in Lang’s cave
Swiftlets

The deer cave is simply huge. as we walked in, the smell of ammonia from the guano was strong. Just before we entered the cave properly, we came across an English style post box where you can have postcards sent from with a special stamp!

The cave entrance, from where the bats emerged last night, was over 100m high and very wide. As we walked on in, our guide pointed out huge areas of sleeping bats, only visible way above because they were clustered together.

Further in, we could look back and see the entrance with the rainforest framed in the opening.

At one point there was a silouette that looked like Abraham Lincoln.

We walked on into the cave and saw more bat colonies and also a small wrinkled mouth bat that had taken into the path. The were also areas of guano that seemed to be teeming in insects feeding off it.

A bat that was crawling on the ground… Lost?
A colony of thousands of bats on the roof of the cave

Eventually, about 800m into the cave, we arrived at a second large entrance. We followed the path and eventually returned to the main entrance. After a few minutes rest we walked back the 3km to our lodge.

When we got back, me and Ed walked straight to the shop just outside the park to pick up a couple of Tiger beers and as I write this we’re sat on the veranda to our room cooking down while we wait for the keys which are with Peter who decided to walk the long way home!

We had our briefing from Nizam and then ask headed straight to the cafe for food, washed down with a few cans of Tiger, purchased from the off site shop. By 9pm we were in desperate need of a shower and some sleep. No electricity at the next pace so no idea what the washing facilities will be like after a days activities including carrying our bags!

21st April 2019 – Kuching to Mulu

And so it was, that we find ourselves being woken at 4am in time to get up and out. At 4.50am we met our fellow sleepy looking travellers in the hotel lobby and boarded the minibuses for the airport.

We dropped out big bags of at the cargo depot on the way to the airport and checked in. Security was a relaxed affair and we left Kuching on time for the 50 minute flight to Miri. Here we had a couple of hours wait before we got a much smaller plane for the 30 minute flight to Mulu NP.

We were picked up in a couple of pick ups to be taken to the national park. It was only a 3 minute drive and we were soon checking in. The temperature is again very warm with 30 degrees and 84% humidity!

We’re staying in a copy of a long house with 4 rooms each sleeping 4. They’re actually pretty comfortable and have electricity and air conditioning! Our room want ready when arrived though so we left our bags and went to the dining area. Whereas the Bako NP was basic and canteen style, three food here is on a menu and cooked to order. I had a really nice satay dish with an Asian salad with a cold can of beer.

Our longhouse
Our room
Dining area

Went back to use one of the rooms to get ready for an afternoon walk. It wasn’t more some 1.45 and very very warm but as we walked along there was a nice breeze. The first part of the walk was on a boardwalk and after about 1.5km we turned off along a jungle track.

Before…
… And after
Big trees!
Listen to the noise!

The noise of the insects was amazingly loud. We walked along for about another 1.5km and arrived at a few waterfalls with pools where we could swim. It was really refreshing, although I’d have preferred to be able to see the bottom!

After drying off, we retraced our steps to the boardwalk and continued along for another couple of km where we entered a clearing with a big cliff to the left which had a massive cave entrance. Here we sat to wait for bats to leave the cave.

We waited on the seating area for around 2 hours before the sun started to set and the bats began leaving the caves. Up until then we didn’t the time chatting and taking the pi** out of done of the hard core photographers with their massive camouflaged lenses!

When the bats eventually did show up thru out on a spectacular display. They left the cave enmasse and gradually spiralled up wards until they could be seen silouetted against the sky in a mass formation. It was almost like there was some leader marshalling then at the entrance to the cave and letting a group of thousands go at a time. If you were quite you could hear the rhythmic bearing of their wings as they flew overhead.

After about 15 minutes watching we began the 40 minute walk back to the cabins. By now it was dark and the noises in the jungle seemed even louder. When we eventually got back to the cabin, there was a very noisy frog sitting on the path!

Nazim told us that it was far busier than usual at the park and so rather than shower, we went straight to tea. It’s just as well we did as we ordered the last spring rolls and had to share the last two beers between three of us!

After eating, our guide face is the briefing for the next day and then a few of us walked back across the suspension bridge at the entrance to the park where there was a shop at which we could buy a couple of beers. We took them back to the cafe area and Peter, Ed and I sat chatting with Nazim until about 9.30 when we went back to the lodge for much needed shower. The air conditioning in the lodge made it a much more pleasant experience! It had been a long day and so all agreed it was time for an early night!

20th April 2019 – Bako NP to Kuching

We woke at 6 and had a very quick wash before catching a boat back to the port at 6.30. The sun was just coming up and the colours of the sky against the backdrop of the mountains in the distance was beautiful The tide was in, but going out, and so the river up to port was flowing pretty quickly.

On arrival at the port we got back into the two minibuses for a 50 minute ride to somewhere for breakfast, very close to the orangutan sanctuary.

Breakfast was interesting, a sort of food court with individual businesses. Clearly there was nothing Western so I plumped for chicken with mushrooms and noodles! It was actually very tasty and cost less than £1!

After breakfast we headed to the Semengohh orangutan sanctuary which was close by. The sanctuary is open twice a day, for one hour in the morning and two in the afternoon. It’s not a zoo so we were lucky to see a couple of feeding orangutans along with a mother and baby.

The first small orangutan coming for food
Hanging around!
Edwin, the large male
Mother and baby

After spending an hour at the sanctuary we headed back to the hotel that we’d staff in the first night. It took about an hour, but only because of some heavy traffic. We were able to check in despite the fact that it was only 11am. We meet at 11.30 with the rest of the group for a briefing on pushing for the next four nights (were going to be hiking and roughing it a bit!).

After that we had some free time in the afternoon so after a bit shower we walked into the town for some lunch and a beer.

China town building

It was another really hot day and after food, we decided to go back to the hotel to sort packing. However, not long into the walk the heavens opened and there was loads of rain so we did what any right mind traveller would go at that point and ran into a bar for a drink. In there we meet a couple of the group having food and after a quick half, we all walked back to the hotel.

We spent the rest of the afternoon packing before having a pre dinner drink in the rooftop bar too sort some of our photos from the trip so far. There was another heavy rain storm which, fortunately, had just about finished by the time we meet the rest of the group to walk for dinner. Back into town where we both had a meal of fried rice.

Before going back to the hotel, we walked along to in front of the legislative building where there was a light show being put on. The waterfront was also lit up with lights on the trees and street food stalls all busy selling food.

Light show

We stopped for a while before walking back to the hotel where we had a final night cap with Peter from our group. We then had an early-ish night as we have to be up at 4.15 tomorrow for our flight to Mulu.

19th April 2019 – Kuching to Bako National Park

We had an early start with the alarm waking us up at 6.30. After breakfast at the hotel we were picked up on two minibuses for the 30 minute drive to the ferry port for our trip to Bako National park. Bako has been a national park since 1957.

The jetty

The boat trip up the river to the coast took about 20 minutes, with the last bit slow going because of the low tide. We had to hop out of the boat at the shore to get to the beach!

Just about to land

After preparing ourselves for the hike, we had a briefing from the local guide, Sali. He explained that Sarawak is about the size of England but with only 2.8 million people. Bako NP itself is only accessible by boat and they have deliberately not changed this, by building a road, as it means that they can better control visitor numbers.

There are 5 animals to look out for especially in Bako; the proboscis monkey which is only found in Borneo, the bearded pig (like a large wild boar), macaque monkeys, silver leaf monkeys and the Borneo keel pit viper. We actually managed to see all five very close to the park entrance.

Bearded pig, near park HQ
Macaque near the park HQ
Map of the park

We started our hike around 10.15am and the rain started, gentle at first, but by the time were about 2 hours in it was hammering down. It did drop the temperature though and neither Ed nor I bothered with a rain jacket. Needless to say we both got pretty wet, although I think we’d have been just as wet had we worn jackets because of the humidity.

The silver leaf monkey
The first part of the walk was very steep…

The first part of the walk to us up a steep hill for about 30 minutes. Then, we walked along some trails, sometimes on wooden piers and other times on tree roots and sand. After a couple of hours we arrived at a cliff with a beautiful view overlooking a beach.

Fortunately the path levelled out
The view was good…
…But we were quite wet!
Pitcher plants

We retraced our steps and came to another look out from which we took some very steep steps down to the beach.

Fortunately it had now stopped raining. Here we caught a boat back around the coast to the park entrance.

The beach where we caught our ride back
Cobra rock formation

It was now time for lunch and so we had food at the canteen, washed down by a cold (ish) Tiger beer before checking into our rooms for the night. They are basic with four of us sharing, but it does have an ‘ensuite’, albeit with a cold shower!

Our accommodation

We had a couple of hours to relax before going for a much shorter walk around the camp at around 4.30pm. We walked along slowly and managed to spot a proboscis monkey, high up in the trees, which we watched for a long time, and got some good shots. We also saw some more snakes and another flying lemur.

Proboscis monkey
Horseshoe crabs travelling together

A quick change, to put on some long trousers and walking shoes before watching a fantastic sunset at 6.45.

Our evening meal looked very similar to the lunch menu! Chicken, fish, some rice and noodles but this time with some crinkle cut chips… Which were actually child and pretty disappointing. There was also no cold beer so we had to do with a soft drink (probably no bad thing really)

The final activity for the day was a night walk. By now it was 7.45 and still extremely humid and warm. We walked along a track into the jungle along a boardwalk.  It seemed to get even warmer we moved further into the jungle. We managed to see a few snakes, frogs and some insects and spiders. Eventually, after what seemed like ages, we turned and and retraced our steps. I was glad when we did as we seem to have done a lot of walking today in hot humid conditions. Just before going back to the room we returned to the jetty and were able to see some fireflys in the trees of the mangrove swamp.

At just before 10 it was time to head to bed, not before having a cold shower to wash the grunge of the day off. An early start in the morning in order to make sure that we get the tides before low tide!

A great first ‘proper’ day on tour!

18th April 2019 – Singapore to Kuching

Our day started with another flight! After breakfast at the hotel we had a taxi back to the airport for a 90 minute hop to Borneo.

First sight of Borneo

Our destination was Kuching (which means cat in Malay.). We arrived at around 2.30pm and after another efficient immigration we met our transfer driver for the 20 minute ride to our hotel. After checking in and a quick catnap, we wandered down to the waterfront. There are plenty of statues to cats!

It’s really warm and humid in Kuching with 33 degrees and 85%+ humidity. Kuching is on the river Sarawak, in the Sarawak part of Borneo.

The legislative building
Meeting the locals!
Islam is the major religion in Borneo
The view along the river

We managed to find a cash point to get some money and then walked back towards the hotel, stopping at a bar for a refreshing beer in the way! Our first beer in Borneo and Malaysia!

By the time we got back to the hotel it was almost time for the welcome meeting and so we headed to the rooftop bar for introductions. Turns out our guesses were not correct and the group consists of 12 people, with 4 British, 3 Australians, one Swiss and 4 Americans.

After inductions and a brief explanation of the itinerary, we all met up for food and walked to an outdoor market area where here was a choice of seafood. On the recommendation of Nazim, our guide for the first part of the trip, we shared a number of dishes including sea bass, a mountain of prawns, squid and jungle fern, all washed down with a giant Tiger beer.

We walked back to the hotel for about 9pm and went back to the rooftop bar for a couple of beers. We were joined by Peter, the Swiss traveller and for one drink by two of the Americans.

On returning to our room, we rearranged our bags as we are leaving early tomorrow to go to Bako national park where we only need an overnight bag! By 11.30 we were tucked up in bed!