Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sandakan - Borneo, Malaysia


So since we left Indonesia everything just seems to be flying by! After a night in Kuala Lumpur we arrived in the Malaysian part of Borneo, in the northern part, a place called Sandakan

The town itself is extremely quiet, not what we expected at all with virtually 0 tourists.

Although it was nice to be away from some of the more tourist centred and commercial places we’d been to it felt a bit strange to have people staring and feeling so alien.

It was like being back in Phu Kradueng again! We had planned to get a bus from the airport to the centre where our hostel was but after walking up a hill with no path and over a roundabout to get to the bus stop in what felt like 200 degrees, when a taxi came along and offered us a ride for £4 we jumped straight in.

The humidity in Borneo is something like 90% and boy do you feel it. I suppose it’s expected being pretty close to the equator but that heat is on another level!

For the first day we went to an orangutan rehabilitation centre. We walked through part of a rainforest towards a platform where bananas and all kinds of other fruit is laid out.

They say this is the only time you’ll really see them in the centre, as normally they will hide up in the trees and only sometimes come down for food.

We were quite lucky in that 4 orangutans came down to be fed before climbing around on the ropes and wandering off.

We visited the orangutan nursery where the babies are orphans are kept separate from the adults so that they can learn to climb and eat and generally get used to their surroundings.

Orangutans are the only monkeys that live solely in the trees without touching the ground which is why they are so in danger from deforestation.

So when the baby orangutans go on the ground a keeper has to run out and shoo them back up into the tree so they don’t get too used to it.

The rehabilitation centre is actually very small so we didn’t spend as long as we expected there.

Right next door though is a large rainforest centre for sun bears. Sun bears are a small black bear with a distinct yellowish marking round their neck that looks a bit like a necklace.

They’re pretty cute and after searching for a while we could see a few hiding in the trees and wandering around.

The workers at the centre had big telescopes as well so when a bear was insight they would position it and you could see them so clearly munching away on some honey.

There was not a lot else to do so we caught the bus back and lied in the air con.

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