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A Dream Come True Finally I am off on a dream trip that I dreamt of for many, many years. I flew from London Heathrow on 2 October 2008 to Delhi I will continue my journey to explore many places for the next 8 months:) And years to come......

Borneo- Malaysia

INDIA | Friday, 27 March 2009 | Views [432]

My high spirits are back again, Borneo what an amazing place. I arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah which is the Malaysian part of Borneo. My experiences here has been so different to any of the other places I have been to. I have seen huge amounts of wildlife, some that I didn't even knew existed, it has been very educational and I have loved it.

After I landed in Kota Kinabalu I spent a couple of days there taking it easy, visiting one of the islands called Manukan, I did a bit of snorkeling there and saw a variety of tropical fishes, every time I get surprised about the colours of these fish, so beautiful.

My next destination in Borneo was to climb Mt Kinabalu which is 4095m high, you do this in two days. The first day you trek up to Laban Rata  where I slept. The first part was hard, although only 6km, it was more or less up hill the whole time, sometimes with some very steep steps, it took me 5 hours to trek this section.

The actual climb to the summit we started at 2.30am the following morning so that we could reach the summit in time for sun rise. When I woke up at 2am, I thought to my self "I must be absolutely mad doing this, why am I doing this, why am I putting myself through this in the dark and the cold?" Anyway once we started the climb it was magical. The sky was covered in stars, looking behind me I could see the lights from Kota Kinabalu, I could see a lot of lightening flashing over the ocean, silhouettes from the mountains and trees below us, and a trail of lights where other climbers were coming up behind me with their head torches, it really was a beautiful sight. It was a tough climb as it was steep up hill all the time, holding on to ropes, the air was getting thin so I had to stop often to catch my breath. However I was reaching the summit at 5.10am so I had a 50 minute wait until the sun rise. It was amazing watching the sky changing colour into an intense red colour as the sun was rising. I was about the 8th person reaching the summit but by the time I left after the sun rise there were probably 50 people there fighting for space to take pictures. The walk down was the hardest part as it was steep down hill for 8km, taking me about 7 hours, I was in agony, my legs, toes and knees were so painful. My toes got bruised and infected and as a consequence I am now about to loose a big toe nail. When I had about 2km left I felt so sorry for myself I just burst into tears and then when my guide came I shook my hands, making 'Grrr' sounds and taking deep breaths to fight away the tears and gather more strength. Looking back at this moment I laugh as I think the guide must have thought I was completely bonkers:-) I did manage to get down but suffered for the following three days, I think this definitely has been the hardest physical challenge I ever done but I am so glad I did it, the beauty was worth all the pain.

I then had company by some lovely Australian and English people on the bus to Sepilok. I arrived late at night to the Sepilok Jungle Resort and it was just the perfect place to recuperate for a few days. Very peaceful, with a lot of insect and animal sounds. I came here to visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, this was quite a moving experience. They take Orangutans here that need to be rescued from the wild for various reasons and the aim is to eventually get them back into the wild, this can take up to 10 years. It is wonderful to see these creatures, looking so different from each other, each with individual personalities and acting so much like us humans. Apparently they match humans DNA by 94.6%. The best time to see them was during feeding time. They don't all come here for food as some manage to get enough food in the jungle. We were lucky to see three Orangutans on the day when I was there. There was a mother with her 4month old baby and I cried when she put her baby down on the platform where they were being fed and stroked her baby in such a loving way. It was such a caring and wonderful thing to see.

I then continued to Sungai Kinabatangan, this is Sabah's longest river with ten pockets of secondary rain forest along the part of the river we traveled, sadly a lot of palm oil plantations have destroyed much of this rain forest leaving just small pockets of forest. An example of what will happen when rain forests are being destroyed and only pockets remaining is that inbreeding will occur, and eventually genetic defects will occur among some of these animals, very sad and frightening reality.

I stayed at Uncle Tans Jungle Camp and it is one of the best tours I ever done. I still feel high from this experience. We slept in very simple wooden huts out in the open, we were a group of 13 wonderful people ranging from Australians, French, Swedish and English and American people. I never come across such a professional guides and staff, making us feel very welcome, providing us with fantastic food and they all had enormous enthusiasm and knowledge about this area and it's wildlife.

We did 3 river tours (one in the night) and two jungle walking treks (one in the night) Over the three days we were there we had seen 51 different species of animals such as wild Orangutans, (I have fallen in love with these beautiful animals), Monitor Lizards, a Tarantula, Long tailed and Pigtailed Maraques, Probosas Monkeys, flying foxes, Civets, bearded pigs, frogs etc. We also saw some beautiful tropical birds such as Blue eared Kingfishers, Stork billed Kingfisher, Coloured Scarlet Rumped, White Bellied Fish Eagle, Owls and the list goes on.

From Uncle Tan's I moved on to Uncle Chan's on Mabul Island just outside of Seporna. I stayed in a longhouses here, this was a wonderful place with such a layed back atmosphere where everyone talked to everyone. Again I met some wonderful people here with very sociable evenings. I did some fantastic snorkeling  and saw so many different kinds of weird and wonderful fish and corals. The most amazing though was when I saw this enormous turtle, when it started to swim I was following him/her for quite a while, so wonderful. When I didn't snorkel I relaxed with my book, talking to other travelers and walked through a very interesting village with lots of happy and friendly people wanting to have their pictures taken. After 3 days I had to go back to Kota Kinabalu as I got a flight to catch to Bali on the 2nd April, so the journey continues.

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