The Jungles of Borneo!

treehouse.jpg 

 

Everything that you have ever imagined about the famed jungles of Borneo is true!  I have not posted lately as I have been spending time with my parents and two nephews who arrived for a six week visit to Malaysia.  We spent a week in Sarawak, Borneo and it was superb!  We stayed along the Northern coast in Damai Beach which is about 30-45 minutes from the city of Kuching.  While playing in the murky surf where the rainforest rivers empty into the sea, there were many small animals to be seen such as crabs, urchins, sand dollars, anemones, snails, hermits and lots of birds.  The jungle literarily falls into the ocean and it is so dense that you cannot peer into it. 

proboscis-monkey.jpg

 

 

A day at Bako National Park revealed the wonders of the rainforest.  After a 40 minute boat ride out to the old rainforest, we disembarked on a rickety boardwalk amidst the mangrove trees.  Mud Skipper fish hopped up on the land and skidded across the top of the water!  Halfway to the park head quarters, our guide, Eric, showed us a green Pit Viper coiled up lazily in a tree!  A few feet later and we were shushed again because the Silver Leaf Monkeys were playing in the tree tops above us!  These silver monkeys were so adorable with little Mohawk hairdos and tiny red babies clinging to their mothers’ bellies as they flew from tree to tree.  We registered in the park office and headed out for the trails into the rainforest. 

Our main goal was to see the elusive Proboscis Monkeys (see pic above) with their prominent bulbous noses and Buddha bellies.  About 200 meters up the mountainous trail, our guide told us to stand still and just look up into the trees.  We looked up, but our untrained eyes didn’t see the monkeys sitting right over our heads.  Finally they moved and we were able to see some female Proboscis Monkeys and their babies.  They were shy and slower than the Silver Leafs and Macaque Monkeys we had seen earlier.  Continuing into the jungle and up the mountain, it was dark and extremely humid so when we reached the beach on the other side it was a relief to take a refreshing dip in the sea and rest in the shade.  As we headed back to the headquarters for lunch and a break, we saw many Proboscis Monkeys coming down from the jungle and into the mangrove swamp to swim in the water!

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While we ate our lunch, two enormous wild Bearded Boars began to forage in the field outside!  They were about the ugliest animals I have ever seen! Look at this picture and tell me if you agree. After lunch, we hit the trails again straight up to the top of the rocks to search for wild carnivorous Pitcher Plants and wild Orchids.  Eric was able to find four different types of Pitcher Plants and we even saw the ants and bugs inside of them being “eaten.”  It was an amazing day!

 

male-orangutan.jpg Richie

 

The next day, we went to Semenggoh Park to see Orangutans in the rainforest.  The Park is a rehabilitation center for Orangutans who were in captivity.  They are taught to live in the wild again and now the park has three generations of Orangutans who have been born in the wild and live in the park.  During non-fruiting season, the wardens put out fruit for the Orangutans to eat.  They come down from the forest to feast on the free meals!  As soon as we arrived, we saw nests up in the tops of the trees and two females and their babies.  Later in the day, Richie, a smaller, 400 pound male came down to eat.  He was amazing!  It was marvelous to see 8 orangutans up close, but out in the wild in their natural habitat.

 

A river cruise on small boats took us into the mangroves where we saw the rare Irrawaddy River Dolphins, Crocodiles, monkeys and Fireflies that lit up the night.  As for accommodation, we first stayed at the Kuching Santubong Resort, which I would NEVER recommend!!!!!  It was apparent that they cater to conventions and not to tourist. The food was inedible, the staff was rude and the service was unacceptable, the rooms so moldy and rotting and the pool so gross that people had written graffiti in the scum on the sides of the pool!

 

 

high-ropes-course.jpg The High Ropes Course!

 

What I can recommend is the PERMAI RAINFOREST RESORT!  It was amazing! We stayed up in tree houses in the rainforest canopy that overlooked the sea on one side and the jungle on the other. Click on the first picture if you look closely you can see our hut up in the trees!  The “Jungle Pool” was a natural pool fed from a mountain river.  The food was fantastic, the service impeccable and the resort truly unique and a fabulous experience.  We completed the High Ropes Course without anyone falling, we kayaked, hiked, swam, played in the sea and streams and just had a great time.  Check out their website http://www.permairainforest.com/main.html.  If you are ever in Kuching you MUST stay here!  Book early for the resort and the activities though!

 

iban-heads.jpg Iban heads.

 

 

Of course no trip to Borneo would be complete without seeing the Iban headhunters’ longhouses complete with skulls hanging from the ceiling!  A trip to the Sarawak Cultural Museum was well worth it as we saw many indigenous houses and costumes.  The cultural dance show was great.  We had a wonderful trip!  I hope to see Sabah next.

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7 Comments

  1. LIZ said,

    July 23, 2007 at 5:38 am

    I noiced the date in the begining of your site, was that the time of the year you where there, my husband and I are planning to go in October, everything you wrotte sounds so amezing, and want to expirience the pretty much the same. Thank you, great site.
    LIZ from Canada

  2. July 26, 2007 at 4:15 am

    Great blog and pix Anni! I love, love, love Borneo, too! I spent most of my time there underwater in Sabah, but 5 trips in my 3 years in Malaysia is a good indication of how much I loved the place. Magical! You’re making me miss Malaysia (and you) already! Big hugs xx

  3. globalanni said,

    July 27, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Liz,
    We were just there in July. I would really recommend going to Bako National Park! Also staying at Permai Rainforest Resort was amazing! Book early and you will not be disappointed! Have fun!

  4. globalanni said,

    July 27, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Tam,

    You will just have to come back to visit again!!!! Just got back from Phuket and dad and Nick said that diving was amazing! I told them the bachelor story! 🙂

  5. Preya said,

    August 2, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Wow–amazing amazing stuff. I am an orchid collector, and I remember reading a book about illegal trading of orchids from the jungles of Borneo and have wanted to visit ever since (to see, not to steal!). Great post:)

  6. Ann said,

    August 2, 2007 at 3:05 am

    Preya, At Bako Park we went up to the top of one of the mountains to see the orchids and pitcher plants. Our guide said that there were poachers who would take the young plants and smuggle them out. It was amazing to see these plants in their natural habitat and so many different species of them there! Worth a trip when you are back in the region!

  7. Mariana said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks for the post! Maybe you have to know that there’s and international petition to try to save the threatened Borneo Forest. If you care, please sign it:
    http://www.tree-nation.com/community/petition.php?id=28


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