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Welcome to the Jungle

MALAYSIA | Tuesday, 15 June 2010 | Views [859] | Comments [2]

It is now one week into our trip, and I haven't bathed in 3 days. Nice. Ok no, I don't have latent neanderthal tendencies; this is because we spent the last three days hamming it up deep in the Borneo rainforest.

From Semporna, we made our way to Sepilok Junction to Uncle Tan's Wildlife Adventures. Uncle Tan's runs river safaris down the Kinabatangan river. This is one of Sabah's longest rivers, and I believe the forest around it hasn't suffered as much from logging activities that have devastated much of Borneo's rainforests. Still, on the boatride down the river to the accomodation in the forest, I could see huge chunks of cleared land behind fringes of trees, or areas covered by palms (which are not primary trees) due to palm oil plantations.

A 3 day 2 night trip with Uncle Tan's costs RM 380 inclusive of transportation into the jungle, river safaris, treks through the jungle, and all meals; considering the cost of most day trips or activities in Borneo, this is incredibly reasonable. However, don't expect any creature comforts. Accomodation in the jungle consists of three-sided huts (which are shared by three people and any other manner of creatures from the forest that decide to trespass) and matresses on the floor with mosquito nets.

There is no running water except water from the river (which is chocolate brown in colour), the toilets don't flush (you have to use a pail and the water from the river), there are no communication devices, and the generator for the lights only works from 6pm to midnight. However, the kids that run this place (and most of them really are no more than 18 to 20) are just fantastic. They are incredibly enthusiastic, cheerful and boisterous, running wild with no adult supervision. The food at each meal was scrumptious, and after dinner each night, they would sit around with a guitar and sing loudly. However, they do go back to civilization far more often than I would have preferred, as they knew all the latest Lady Gaga songs and would sing them over and over and over....I am going to die with Bad Romance permanently burned into my brain.

Our guide, Loy, was also excellent and very knowledgeable; we saw plenty of Long Tailed Macaques, a few Proboscis Monkeys, a large indolent orangutan in a tree eating figs, oblivious to all of us standing below taking pictures, some crocodiles in the river, civet cats, plenty of birds (hornbills, eagles, owls, kingfishers, a Storm's Stork), frogs and insects, and a little fruit bat in a tree eating a fruit that looked too big for him to finish.

I had an absolute blast at Uncle Tan's and am going to go back over and over again as long as I stay in Asia.

We're going to climb Mount Kinabalu day after tomorrow (I'm slightly freaked out), so will not have access to the internet again for a couple of days. From the mountain, we are going to head back to KK on route to Brunei, for a day, and then to the Niah caves near Miri. From Niah, we will head to Sibu for our flight out to Bali where we will be doing a liveaboard to Komodo, and then back to Singapore for a day or two.

Tags: crocodiles seem scary but are apparently very shy, jungles, not showering for days, river safaris, sungei kinabatangan, sunrise, sunsets, uncle tans wildlife adventures



the pics are lovely, as is the writing. keep them coming!

  amod Jun 16, 2010 7:23 PM


Good luck in KK! I am STILL very envious of your trip

  Erlina Jul 2, 2010 11:49 AM



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