Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Malaysian Borneo: Hidden From View

We’d made the decision to explore only the East of Borneo after leaving Brunei.

This is mainly because we had the goal of climbing Mt Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia.

Also the cheapest flight out of Borneo was from Kota Kinabalu airport!

Little did we know that nobody is allowed to climb Mt Kinabalu for up to three months following the recent earthquake which resulted in a lot of damage, meaning the trail has to undergo repair works.

Had we known this we may have decided to explore the West of the island too.

A big city greeted us as we left the bus in Kota Kinabalu, something I was glad about after coming from Brunei where it was hard work finding something to do in their tiny towns.

After finding ourselves a nice hostel for a few nights we set out in search of food and came across a tasty and very cheap Indian street restaurant where we dined almost every night during our time in Kota Kinabalu for just a pound between us each time.

On returning to the hostel that night and for most of the following morning we researched about Mt Kinabalu planning our climb, it was only once we talked to locals that we found out we were unable to go.

Once we’d admitted defeat we felt a little lost at what to do, it’s so disappointing to not be able to climb the mountain but I suppose if it’s not safe for us to do then it’s for the best.

To cheer ourselves up we booked on a tour to see wild proboscis monkeys and fireflies.

It’s worth noting at this point that in order to go anywhere or see anything in Borneo it is required that you book onto a tour.

Something we both hate to do, as we’d rather have the freedom to explore something by ourselves than get dragged around by somebody in the company of a load of package tourists.

We did look into seeing the proboscis monkeys without a tour but after extensive research found it wasn’t possible.

The monkeys live around rivers so the best way to see them is on a boat, we could have hired a motorbike and driven to the boat station but all the boats run as part of the tours and wouldn’t have taken us alone.

So the only way for us to get on one was to book a tour.

Reluctantly. Nonetheless we were excited about seeing the monkeys, which are found only on Borneo and are possibly the most unusual looking monkeys, and it would take our mind off being unable to do the Kinabalu trek.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Malaysian Borneo: Hidden From View