Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Traveling Actuary: MountKinabalu

As my time in Hong Kong begins to wrap up, I’m trying to fit in as many last minute activities as possible. 

I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Asia, so I’m trying to cram in as many places/experiences as I possibly can. 

With this in mind, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a long weekend trip over Christmas with my friend Ewoud to visit Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia on the island of Borneo

I’m going to apologize in advance for the length of this post. 

If you just want to see the pictures and not get all the juicy details, just skip to the bottom. 

But I promise there might be one or two interesting facts if you bother to read the long version.

Sabah is one of two Malaysian states on the island (which is also shared with Brunei and Indonesia), occupying the northern portion of the island while Sarawak makes up the western part.  

It’s interesting to note that these two states have autonomous laws from the other states of Malaysia, and it is definitely noticeable after having previously visited the peninsular portion of the country. 

For instance, Christianity is much more noticeable here, with Christmas billboards scattered all around. 

Malaysia as a whole is a Muslim country (see the flag), so I found this very interesting. 

This differs from some stories I heard from Nicole where she wasn’t allowed to wear anything with a cross on it because that was seen as an attempt to convert people. 

In contrast, I talked with one shopkeeper who told me that Christians make up a large portion (nearly half) of the population.

Borneo itself is a fascinating place that’s full of interesting history with British background, ties to the neighboring Philippines (currently not for good reasons), and some of the greatest wildlife and nature to be found in the world.

Many people come here for the great diving, but unfortunately I don’t have my PADI license so I can only snorkel for now (more on that later). 

However, if sea life isn’t your thing, there is a great collection of land dwelling plants and animals such as orangutans, proboscis monkeys (big nosed, also known as Dutch monkeys, and are possibly the ugliest in the world), and pitcher plants. 

Many of the plants and animals that live on Borneo can’t be found anywhere else in the world, and the island’s rainforest includes many world heritage sites and national parks.

One of these world heritage sites is the famous Mount (Gunung) Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in SE Asia at nearly 14,000 feet (4,096 km), and the 20th tallest mountain in the world in terms of topographic prominence. 

This mountain towers over the nearby peaks and is a sacred place for the indigenous people.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Traveling Actuary: Mount Kinabalu