This blog entry details a girls trip I took to Borneo with some of my closest friends here in Seoul. We had an epic noraebang (karaoke) night for Emily's 30th last month and this month, we all went to Malaysia to celebrate Melissa's 30th. We chose Kota Kinabalu, which is in the state of Sabah, in the country of Malaysia, on the island of Borneo.
Very confusing. But very enlightening! The country is not secular and has a large Muslim concentration. It also is one of the biggest exporters of palm oil (second to Indonesia) and has one of the largest concentrations of orangutans, being one of only two places where they live in the wild.
In doing research for this trip, I discovered that there is a reputable orangutan sanctuary on the other side of the island from Kota Kinabalu (KK). Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm not thrilled with this lineage of the animal kingdom, but I would have liked to have seen this sanctuary and learned more about the depletion of the rainforests.
Unfortunately, we were only on Borneo for a long weekend and given the state of the roads and geographical layout, to get to the other side of the island is a one day journey there and a one day journey back. We decided that we wanted to experience more of the culture and stick to KK. But maybe next time.... ;)
Our first day was a tour with Amazing Borneo. We could not recommend this tour company enough and were so impressed with not only everything we saw and experienced on the tour, but our absolutely incredible tour guide, Ryan. It was just the four of us, Ryan, and our driver ("Bus" :), so we had a day pretty much customized to us and what we wanted to do. Our first stop was at a suspension bridge that overlooked another smaller bridge.
Ryan explained to us the superstitious nature of the Malaysian people and how as recently as 60 years ago, a woman was sacrificed and buried under this bridge to appease the spirits and "bless" the bridge.
This was shocking to us, especially when Ryan explained that to this day, people will not walk by construction areas at night for fear of being taken as a sacrifice to "ensure" the construction is sturdy.
Moving on from the suspension bridge, we traveled deeper into the country and stopped at a local market, which also had a beautiful vista of Mt. Kinabalu. Emily tried some pineapple, we bought some souvenirs, and we got to see a converted longhouse.
Continue reading (Incl. Pics and Vids) at: Ang and Leah - Borneo!.