...10 days in Malaysian Borneo...
15.10.2009 - 26.10.2009 -32 °C
We arrived in Malaysian Borneo having spent at least 10 hours in Indonesian airports (Denpasar, Bali and Jakarta, Sumatra respectively). We flew into Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, a city famous for its mountain, 180 degree sunsets, and as we soon found out, extortionately priced alcohol. A teetotal visit to Borneo ensued... We did, however, eat well. This culinary experience started with the seafood food court which we frequented regularly over our time in Kota Kinabalu. Our first experience saw us choosing our own crabs, which were cooked in a tomato sambal (chilli) sauce, and eaten without cutlery (who needs cutlery?!), but delicious. Many a meal of exceedingly cheap, fresh and delicious sushi was to follow.
A glowing recommendation (thanks Dave) led us to a jungle retreat close to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. The orangutans were incredible, so human in their movements and facial expressions. Despite loving being spectators at their feeding frenzy, we may well have enjoyed our jungle stay even more (www.paganakandii.com). Consisting of several small huts set amid lush jungle, the resort featured a great chef, friendly owner, swing seats and a viewing tower hovering over miles of greenery. Our hut itself was great - sliding doors on all sides opened it up to the jungle breezes, an outdoor bathroom and a little balcony for spotting odd looking insects and birds. We made it up the tower for both sunset and sunrise - amazing, the photos do not do it justice.
Jungle japes were followed by a stay in nearby Sandakan, a port town with many colonial remnants. A trek up to the highest point in Sandakan took us to the house of Agnes Keith, who wrote extensively about her time in Borneo, her book 'The Land Below The Wind' was made into a film that our older readers may have heard of (we hadn't). The neighbouring English tea house drew us in and we very surreally dined on tea and scones (although, like us, the cream struggled to cope with the jungle heat), overlooking both jungle and sea, there was even a croquet lawn!
Our Malaysian Borneo stay ended back in Kota Kinabalu where we joined the locals in their alcohol free pastimes - bowling and pool - they all seemed to be pros at both and our comparatively feeble attempts at times had them in stitches. We have now arrived in the Philippines, where beer and rum are cheap, so we will definitely be having one or two to celebrate my little brother's 21st on Monday (as, I'm sure, will he) xx