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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

Super slickly organised travels to Borneo

MALAYSIA | Sunday, 2 March 2008 | Views [2150] | Comments [1]

I've spent the last two days traveling to get to Borneo, and am now sat on a deck overlooking a pond, surrounded by jungle, using the resorts laptop to update you!

The place I'm staying is a big whack to my budget, but I think I've afforded myself a few days in luxury, and it is literally, right next door to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Sabah, which is world famous (just look it up!). I won't stay in this resort more than a few days though, even if I choose to stay here in Sepilok, as it really is expensive! Lol. It is full of rich Asian holiday makers and Germans seemingly! Anyway, it is nice to have a very comfy room with aircon and TV and a nice bathroom for a change, so I'll make the most of it before heading back to slumsville thank you very much... ;)

I organised my travel half on the fly half the day before I went. I'm getting better at this now... and everything has gone very smoothly indeed. I flew from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumper in Malaysia, then from Kuala Lumper two hours later to Kota Kinabalu in the Sabah region of Borneo where I arrived at 8pm and got a taxi to a central hotel that I'd prebooked. It was a little more expensive, but worth every penny as immediately after I'd showered and switched on the TV in the room, the England v France rugby match from last weekend was being shown in full, total result! Nice one boys, much better performance! I also watched Villa get robbed of all three points at Arsenal... bah! I went to the local store to get some snacks to eat, as I couldn't face a big meal, and tried my arm at what the locals seemed to be grabbing, in the absence of any obvious 'jerky' type things. I grabbed some fish satay with salt, sugar and chilli listed in the ingrdients and some 'oriental mixed' with nuts. The fish things were minging, very fishy, but mostly sweet from the sugar, WTF?! The mix was ok though, and kept me happy through the rugby... I can't complain, the lack of snacking on my trip so far is only a good thing for sure, and this means I won't be trying any more for a while... ;)

The flight from Chiang Mai was interesting, if for nothing else than how I got seated at the front of the plane! It was full of Malaysian people basically, and these guys were queueing to board way before the plane was boarding... bizzare! As boarding started I nipped off to use the bathroom, in no rush to queue with them all and resigned to the last seat on the plane. When I came out everyone had boarded and I went through... on Air Asia flights you can buy an express boarding ticket, which entitles you to get on the plane first and sit in the front two rows, once these people are seated it is a free-for-all for everyone else. When I got onboard I found a woman with a 2 year old boy on her lap in these seats, with no one sat next to them (rows of three seats), so I asked if she minded, which she did not, and I took my seat! Result really... and I had my ipod if the little person was going to scream all the way ;).

Bizzarely, but thankfully, the exact same thing happened on the second flight from Kuala Lumper to Kinabalu, and with the same woman! What are the chances... lol. We had more of a chat this time, seeing as we were old mates... she has studied in England and was going home to Kinabalu after working in Chiang Mai for a few months. Her little boy was so well behaved for both flights, and quite intriguing as he spoke basic words in Thai, Malaysian and English! When we'd landed and people started standing up getting their bags from the overhead lockers, he excitedly tapped me on the shoulder exclaiming, we go mister, we go now, and pointed the way... quality! :)

After another late night (TV's aren't always good things!) I was up at 6:30 to eat some average breakfast, buy some water and snacks (NOT the fish ones) and get to the Northern bus terminal to get a long distance bus to Sadakan (I would be hoping off about 25km before the end though, at Sepilok). As I arrived at the terminal, expecting to wait 20 minutes for the 8am bus there was a rush of activity as several touts tried to get me to go with them. One of them had a bus leaving right now and they were all the same price... rocket science, I think not! A few minutes later and a about 5 quid lighter in the wallet, I was off!

The bus ride was as expected, twisting and turning its way through the mountains to the north of Kinabalu (past the national park and mountain range I will visit later in my trip) and across the countryside. They played some dodgy movies on route, Cyborg with Jon Claude Van Dam, which is a top class 80's flick, Lol! Some weird comedy/kung-fu movie in an Asian tongue and with other Asian subtitles, which was actually pretty good with some very original fight scenes, and just before I got off at Sepilok they played a cheesey American comedy that I'd thankfully not seen before.

Halfway along the trip we stopped for lunch and a toilet break at a bizzare place in the hills. We were precisely in the middle of bloody nowhere by my reckoning! The toilets were small tiled bays behind the restaurant, with a hole in the back, where the floor and wall met, and a tap above the hole... quite possibly the worst toilet I've been faced with yet... Anyway, needs must, and I soiled my shoes accordingly to use the great facilities for a piss! I declined lunch, still full from breakfast (seriously, I think my stomach is shrinking), and after the driver had finished I collared him to enquire about my stop. He said that he would stop at the end of the Sepilok road (which meets the main road through) and I walk from there... I was giving some thought to going to the end stop and getting a cab, but what the hell, its afternoon and its an adventure... walk on! Bizarrely I met the only other foreign person on the bus at this point, who is from bloody Little Stoke!! He said he hasn't spoken to any other travelers for weeks either, prefering to mix it up with the locals... he only stopped to talk to me about the wonderful toilet facilties, lol! Small world, oh yes! He was going on to Sadakan, the bigger town at the coast, where he would travel to Sepilok tomorrow, so I might well see him again. Didn't chat enough to get a name.

After a total of about 4.5 hours on the bus, the little ticket guy walked back to tell me we'd be stopping for me to get off ahead. He'd phoned ahead to his taxi driving friend who was waiting there for me. Typical Asian tactic, as this guy didn't want to take me to my place, but to the one he obviously recieves a commission from... anyway, I was glad after the 10 minute drive at 1:30pm in the height of the heat! In total the trip cost me a round tenner from Kinabalu to Sepilok. In the UK it would have cost me 4 times that amount or more probably! Lol

The resort is pretty damn nice and each chalet is nestled privately in the jungle gardens from the neighbours and reached along wooden decked walk ways lining the lake. Very nice indeed.

I'm going to chill here for the rest of today, and enjoy the restaurant which is touted as the best in Sepilok before getting some quality sleep under my belt tonight!

Tomorrow I am going to make the 10 minute walk up the road to the Orangutan Rehab Center and go make some new friends! They have a jungle walk route and a feeding station with morning and afternoon feedings in public view. Having done a little research this afternoon from here, it seems you can only volunteer there if you're prepared to stay a couple of months minimum, which is a shame! Maybe next time... ;)

Ta ta for now peeps

Sloggs :)

P.S. Malaysia photos will be here on photobucket during my stay (I like organisation, so must have it at least here! ;))

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Don't get to used to that luxury or you'll be home cause you've run out of dosh or in shared rooms wiv strangers in your bed again!!

  Jo Mar 4, 2008 8:41 PM

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