Friday, March 09, 2018

LuxLife: A Weekend in Northern Borneo With The Orangutans @luxlifeblog

Jasiminne and I sat at her kitchen counter in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, popping deliciously sweet Pineapple Tarts into our mouths one-by-one. It was Chinese New Year, and we were waiting for our driver to arrive to take us to the airport so we could fly to Sabah, Northern Borneo.

We both wore the same identical red dress, as wearing red over Chinese New Year supposedly brings good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. Goodness knows I needed some good luck after the month that I'd had, and so I went all out - wearing red every single day I was in Malaysia.

I'd dreamt of visiting Borneo since I was a child, I'd always wanted my own Orangutan sanctuary in my back garden, and would daydream in school of my Orangutans coming to school with me.
Unfortunately as a twelve-year-old I didn't realise how cruel this was, but I soon learnt from various documentaries...only those documentaries heightened my need to see a real life Orangutan for myself in their natural habitat; Borneo. At the grand age of twenty six, I finally did it.

After our 24-hour whistle-stop tour in Kuala Lumpur, Jasiminne and I boarded our flight to Kota Kinabalu and settled into our comfy business class seats and promptly fell asleep. The flight was only 2.5 hours, but we slept the whole way (we were both completely worn out after our previous day rushing around the city), awaking with a jolt when the plane wheels hit the tarmac.

Jasiminne's uncle picked us up and drove us the short way to her grandmother's house, where we said hello, and wished the family Gong Xi Fa Cai, which is a greeting commonly used throughout Chinese New Year and is essentially wishing the person a prosperous new year.

We then hopped into her mum's car and drove to her apartment just down the road, where we were staying for the weekend. The apartment is stunning with a view over the ocean looking out to the marine park and Sapi Island, which we visited the next day.

We ended the day getting dressed up and going back to Jasiminne's grandmother's house for a big Chinese New Year dinner. It's pretty much like our Christmas dinner, but with different traditions and food. I'll be telling you more about this in a seperate post though! So for now, I'll take you on our journey to Sapi Island and Sandakan where the Orangutans are...

Visiting Sapi Island

We awoke late on Saturday morning blissfully rested after a busy couple of days, and slapped our lily-white skin with sunscreen. Beach dresses on, we needed some breakfast before we got on the boat that would take us to Sapi Island. Thankfully neither of us suffer from sea-sickness, as the boat was a jumpy-jolting nightmare.

Brunch was Starbucks, which I learnt is actually a sign of wealth in Malaysia as it's too expensive for the average worker. Coming from Australia where going to Starbucks is frowned upon due to the Australian obsession with 'independent' cafes and coffee, it was a bit of a shock to be able to enjoy a Starbucks without feeling guilty!