Saturday, May 25, 2013

Top 5 things to do in Malaysian Borneo

Adventure, jungle, wildlife and beauty are the first words that spring to mind when I think of my travels in Borneo. This place should definitely be on the list of places to go for the adventure-hungry traveller. It's just waiting to be explored.

The island of Borneo is the third-largest in the world, which includes Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The two provinces of Malaysian Borneo are Sarawak and Sabah, where I spent most of my time travelling.

I'd like to share my top things to do here, guaranteed to give you memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Climb Mount Kinabalu

This mountain in Sabah is the tallest in South East Asia. A fantastic 2 day/1 night hike will lead you up an impressive number of steps, through jungle and nature to a breathtaking (literally) view at a peak of 4095 metres. Although I wouldn't call it easy, most people will be able to climb this mountain without a problem, confirmed by the large amounts of tourists on the trail that I must admit I wasn't expecting. Our guide had climbed it over 1000 times!

After a well earned rest at the only accomodation near the top, a 3am wake up call will start your steep hike to the top. After several hours of a rope-assisted climb by torchlight, you'll emerge at the peak piercing through the sky. Be welcomed by stunning views of a mountain-scattered landscape perfectly lit by sunrise, a view that has been gratefully imprinted in my mind.

Instead of getting back down by foot, we decided to start our descent by attempting the world's highest via ferrata with MountainTorq. Clutching on metal brackets to make our way across a cliff face, being exposed to a mindblowing view, this is a very safe and thrilling adventure to embark on.

2. Dive in Sipidan Island

This legendary island has to be one of the top dive sites in the world. Frequently seen are turtles, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, manta rays and eagle rays to name a few. In fact this island is so popular that only 120 permits are issued each day to get here. Hence plan and book ahead for this one.

3. Meet Wild Orangutans

A visit to Sepilok's Orangutan Rehabilitation centre is a must. Borneo is one of two places in the world where wild orangutans can still be seen. This wonderful centre nurses the injured or orphaned animals. There is a boardwalk winding through the jungle leading you to a large feeding platform, where you can watch these delightful and adorable animals relax and play in their own habitat. This is a big highlight on most people's trip to Borneo.

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