Exploring Malaysian Borneo (6-15th August 2017)

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Malaysian Borneo is famous for its orangutans so we started a tour (organsied by Borneo Sandakan Tours) based around Sandakan (Sabah) at the far northeastern end of Malaysian Borneo. We saw orangutans, moon bears, proboscis monkeys, silvery lutungs, smelled the swiftlets in a huge cave at Gomantong, and saw plenty of bird life along the Kinabatangan River (stayed at the Myne Resort). In the city, we visited Agnes Keith’s House and the Sandakan Memorial Park where we learnt about the Japanese atrocities here in World War II. I also visited the central market and, as usual in Malaysia, had groups of young men asking me to take their photo! If you are used to driving in Malaysia, I would recommend hiring a car and driving yourself to these sites, since then you can go at your own pace. We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton hotel in Sandakan, which I thoroughly recommend with a lovely infinity pool to relax in/by after a hot day in the jungle!

The Air Asia flights from Sandakan (in Sabah) to Kuching (in Sarawak) did not match well, so we opted for a couple of nights at the Nexus Resort in Kota Kinabalu for some R&R. The beach here was gorgeous and the sea was warm and good for swimming, but the food was disappointing. I guess we have got used to the spicy tasty Johor Bahru-style of Malaysian food.

Lastly, we spent three nights at The Ranee Boutique Suites in Kuching. We happened across a street parade on our first evening which was followed by a night time marathon run, so it was a little noisy all that night. We explored quite a bit of the city, mostly in search of museums relating to the White Rajas of Sarawak (James Brooke and his empire). Kuching was a pleasant city, with a good river walk and excellent buskers in the evening. There were plenty of excellent dining options as well. There are also National Parks and more orangutan rehabilitation centres near Kuching, and being just over an hours flight from Senai airport in Johor Bahru, makes this an ideal place for a short get away.


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