Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Malaysian Borneo: Meet The Primates

From trekking through the jungle looking for native Proboscis Monkeys, to diving with Reef Sharks, I have loved every minute of Borneo.

Starting four weeks ago in Sarawak’s capital, Kuching, I visited Bako National Park, the first time I have ever been jungle trekking.

The aim was to spot Borneo’s Proboscis Monkey.

I stayed over night with new friend Milena, where we searched in vein for the monkeys for two days, only for them to show up at the headquarters an hour before we were due to leave.

This was typical given my track record with animal spotting – looking for a monitor lizard for two months, from Perhentian Islands to Bangkok’s Lumphini Park and not spotting one.

To add to my luck, within an hour of arriving at the park, a cheeky Macaque stalked us throughout our breakfast before going in for the kill and swiftly stealing our full jar of peanut butter from the table.

From Kuching, I took a ferry along the river to Sibu, then Kapit, and finally on to Belaga, the last town on the Tanjung Sungai.

All the while searching for a less tourist-orientated, traditional long house.

I came to realise my expectations were too high.

With Borneo also moving into the 21st century, the traditional long houses now have wifi and satelite dishes, sure that’s great for their way of life but couldn’t they have preserved the traditions until I’d visited?!

However, visiting the river towns was still a highlight of Sarawak, the locals were lovely and I didn’t pass another tourist all week.

I did nothing but explore the town, eat at night markets and drink Teh Tarik.

From here, I visited Niah National Park, reunited in Miri with Milena, head torches at the ready, we were prepared for adventure.

After a long trek through the huge dark caves, we came to the real highlight… 1200 year old cave drawings.

Sure they were faded, but amongst these caves, was the evidence of the oldest life in Eastern Malaysia.

It was surreal to think about life in the cave 40,000 years ago, waking up in the mout of the cave to the sunrise, whilst we stood with our headtorches, taking photos on our smart phones. Oh, evolution!

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