Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cat statues and more monkeys - 5 days in Borneo


We’re on our way back to the Malaysian mainland after five days on Borneo. Borneo has always conjured images of Survivor-worthy remote jungle frontiers and we certainly caught glimpses in our brief time here.

Being the world’s third largest island, we only nibbled off a small corner (if that). We stayed in Kuching, Malaysian Borneo’s largest city.

It has a distinct Chinese influence along with being a former British colony. The town itself was fairly modern although a far cry from the glitz of Kuala Lumpur.

Kuching is known as Cat City and is adorned with numerous feline statues and even a Cat Museum.

It has a beautiful waterfront walkway and we faired quite well with a number of vegetarian Chinese restaurants.

We are suffering a bit of rice-fatigue at the moment so last night we caved and ordered Pizza Hut to our hotel room. Pizza Hut on Borneo, who knew?

Borneo’s main draw is the wildlife and it did not disappoint. On our first day we visited Semenggoh Nature Reserve.

This is the easiest place to spot orangutans, some of which have been rescued from captivity while others have been born in the wild.

They have a morning feeding where they supplement the orangutans’ diet with fruits if they decide to show up.

Fortunately, a mother and her seven year old decided to swing on down for some bananas and coconuts.

It was very interesting to observe the social bond between these great apes. They would share fruit and had obvious affection for one another.

These orangutans are more accustomed to walking on the ground than Sumatran orangutans as Borneo lacks predatory tigers.

When the mother walked, her baby wanted to keep in close contact. We saw one additional orangutan and felt very fortunate to be in their presence.

It was also gratifying to see the park rangers keeping visitors at a safe distance from the animals and ensuring that no flash photography occurred.

A balance needs to be struck between tourism and conservation objectives and it felt like the reserve was achieving this.

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