Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Top Tip of Borneo

Off in search of the “Tip of Borneo”, the most northern point of Borneo.

Generally  known as the “Tip of Borneo” which is just as well as the name in the traditional language of Rungus is “Tanjung Simpang Mengayau”, which means “the junction to the battle at the tip”, much more of a mouthful.

The “tip” is in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Most people associate Borneo as a land filled with rainforest, much of which is rapidly disappearing. Sabah apparently has greatest percentage of rainforest still remaining on the island.

We decided to hire a car in order to better explore the area. The drive out Kota Kinabalu was easy enough and soon we were driving through  the mountain range which is home to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South East Asia. Once through the mountains we drove through typical Malaysian countryside and village scenery, which gradually gave way to huge palm oil plantations.

Miles after miles of neatly planted rows of palm oil trees, mark the final part of our journey. In fact for the last hour or so of our journey there is nothing but palm oil plantations. There will be no searching for the wild man of Borneo around here! The only people around are few plantation workers. Just before we left Kota Kinabalu we read the newspaper story of a sun bear who had wondered onto a plantation and was clubbed to death by plantation workers as “they did not recognize this wild animal”.

On-line there are few places to stay, so we prebooked a chalet in the rainforest.  As it turned out, it was not a chalet and most definitely not in anything resembling even woodland, let alone rainforest. The expat owner, whose sole aim seemed to be to extract as much cash as possible from his guests, even drives to you to his restaurant so you can buy breakfast/dinner. Really not what we expected or wanted. The chalet was too hot, too tiny and very expensive. Effectively a garden shed at hotel prices! We move out the next day.

Fortunately we have our own wheels and there are a handful of other places to stay so we choose a place run by a local family, a few hundred meters of the actual tip, right by the beautiful sandy beach. The most amazing sunsets captivate our hearts.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The Top Tip of Borneo