A visit to Borneo, beautiful islands, amazing culture and kadazan headhunters (3/3).

zoo Our final destination that day, the Kota Kinabalu Zoo.The Zoo was quite new. It was an excellent attraction ,so I was surprised how empty it was.

Our guide said it hadn’t caught on yet, but by the same time next year it would be full every weekend.

The layout of the Zoo, gave the animals plenty of room to move around, unlike the Zoo I saw in Beijing.It was also obvious that the Sabah climate was more suited to the Tiger’s than say the UK. tiger
belephants As we wander around, we see baby elephants.
This animal is called a brown bear, which is a bit daft, considering its obviously black. blackbear
snake A few days earlier, some of the people on the trip, had flown to Sepilok Island, to see the Orang Utan’s.This is a picture of a 23 foot python, taken at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in 1999.
The bird house was enormous, and had fine wire mesh around the outside, and netting across the top.The birds were very friendly and accommodating, and as you can see, this Crane, hardly notice we were there. birdhouse
uu1 The thing I really wanted to see. Orang Utan’s.Roughly translated from Malaysian, Orang Utan, means literally Wild Man.

They are some of the friendliest creatures I have ever seen.

If you visit Sepilok, you actually get to hold them, and stuff like that, which we didn’t get to do in the Zoo.

On the other hand, that requires a flight to Sepilok Island, and the Zoo is just a taxi ride away.

As I saw this, I was reminded of my bushcraft training.The things that separates humans from most of the animal kingdom, is a posable thumb (which Orang Utan’s have) and the ability to fashion tools as needed.

Here the Orang Utan uses a carefully selected sharp piece of rock, to break open this piece of bamboo.

pmonkey Much less talked about, and unique to the Island, are proboscis Monkeys.They have quite a unique shaped nose.

After I returned from the day out, I spent a couple of days relaxing around the town, getting sunburned, sitting by the ocean etc.

I wasn’t massively looking forward to half a day of climbing, but I wanted to get back into the adventure stuff, after a few days of r and r.These excellent guys from Mountain TORQ were the same company that run the highest Via Ferrata in the world on Kota Kinabalu. climbing
meclimbing I had decided a few weeks before heading to Borneo that I would give up climbing (the truth is, I was never very good at it anyway).I was booked on the climbing anyway, and I hate to waste an opportunity.

I had a quick go that morning, and reconfirmed, that I really don’t enjoy climbing at all, and that it does nothing for me.

There was a superb waterfall nearby.

While enjoying the waterfall, I shouted encouragement to my friends still climbing.The waterfall, was raised up from the jungle floor, so I was able to get this superb picture of Gill climbing.

Gill was virtually never at the hotel, and spent every available moment, either in the jungle, or doing some other activity.

She worked as a chemist, and joked that when she went to see the Dr, she was always able to tell him what medication she needed, rather than what was wrong with here 🙂

jharbour I was running out of free days, and I really wanted to have an intro diving session.I got the mini bus to drop me at Jesselton harbour on the way back from climbing, hopped on a boat, and headed out to the island.
I had a bad experience on the barrier reef some years ago, and ended up being rushed into my first dive.I found the experience extremely frightening, and decided not continue.

Considering that not every outdoor pursuit is for me (I don’t like Skiing for example) I had always wondered if I would have enjoyed the dive, given a little more time.

I met up with Richard from down bellow divers. He gave me a 40 minute brief on theory, we had lunch and then I got suited up.

Intro dives, are a bit more expensive in Borneo, than they are in say Wales, but I think the background of this pictures, shows you why.

divinglesson1 Richard showed me how all the equipment worked.He really was excellent at teaching.

We got into the water, and I had a go at holding my breath under the water and breathing.

Unfortunately, after 40 minutes, it was obvious, that I wasn’t going to be able to do it.

Each time, I could hold my head under, until my breath ran out, I couldn’t get used to breathing, and ended up panicking each time.

I was slightly disappointed, but as Richard reasonably pointed out, you came here to find out if you could do it, and now you know.

Diving isn’t for everyone. Its definitely not for me.

On the subject of things that are for me, during the evening, I talked a couple of the lads into joining me for some fusion food.We went to the internationally renowned Secret Recipe restaurant.

Their Irish Lamb Stew (which combines the traditional Irish meal, with Malaysian sauces) is one of their signature dishes and has won several awards internationally.

Without realising it, I was sat in front of a picture of the same meal I was eating !.

The following day, Richard and I, along with Dan and JK, headed of to the Salt Route.

kr When I returned from the Jungle, I was exhausted.I got showered, and had a bit of an early night

The following morning, I decided not to go White water rafting as I had planned, and instead spend the day relaxing on my own.

I was spending 2 days in Kuala Lumpur on the way home, and Its important to make time for yourself when travelling.

I’ve found if you don’t, you can burn yourself out and end up going home more exhausted than when you set off.

As I wandered around the shopping centre, I saw some unusual sights.

A cash machine was being re-filled, and a shotgun armed security officer stood guarding it.

Also, this extremely “cheesy” Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant chain, are a rave industry in Borneo.

As I crossed the road, I saw this sign, and was reminded of Singapore (which like Borneo and Kuala Lumpur is part of Malaysia).Life without vandalism is pleasant.

I suppose to some of the chattering classes, this would seem like propaganda and brain washing.

If any of them are reading this, I’d like to ask a question ?. Isn’t life without vandalism pleasant, or do you think it isn’t ?.

irish I continue pottering around the shops, buy a few bits and pieces, like a picture of Mount Kinabalu and some new trainers.Because it was daytime, the Irish bar was much quieter and I had something to eat, and a few drinks, by the ocean.
The Menara Tun Mustapha.On the last night of the trip, we had a superb Steak at a restaurant frequented by the locals (forgotten camera so no photo’s unfortunately).

The evening before that, I decided to collect up some volunteers and have dinner at the Atmosphere, revolving restaurant at the top.

towerdinner Gill and Sarah came along, and the excellent Johnny Crocket.It was dark outside, so the view didn’t really work that well.

The service and food were superb (they even did mashed potatoes).

One memory of the evening that will stay with me, is the floor.

Although the outer floor moves, the inner floor doesn’t.

After only a few minutes, the bar we were sat next to started to drift away, and it was 20 minutes before we were re-united with it.

Equally, a visit to the bathroom involved deciding which way round was quickest, at that moment in time 1.

What a fantastic trip and what an amazing place.I just wanted to take a moment, to say thanks to all the people who helped to make this trip so good.

Mr Micky and his gang, our guide on Kota Kinabalu Johan, and the excellent JK for putting it all together.

Of special mention, are Ms Jumaina (pictured) and all the staff at our hotel.


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