Sunday, 4 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 6

Sunday, 4 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 6 

After breakfast a group had the opportunity of driving to the Gomantong Cave but I chose not to go because my leg was causing me problems still. Sounds like I made the right decision as it was quite dangerous in spots – very slippery. There is certainly no occupational and health safety.   We then left Sukau and drove about 120 kms. to Sandakan to our accommodation at the Sabah Hotel. This was a lovely up-market hotel.  We had lunch and later had a very welcome swim.

In lovely Sabah Hotel pool with Chris, Rod and Estelle

It was then time to change and driven for another boat cruise along the mangrove forests. As it got darker, we were able to see hundreds of fireflies lighting up the trees around the forests and village.  After the cruise ended, we then had our evening meal at the local village. We were then transferred back to our accommodation for a leisurely night with some of the other guests before retiring for the night.

Wednesday, 7th and Friday 9th November 2018 – Borneo to Melbourne then home – Days 9 & 10

Wednesday, 7th and Friday 9th  November 2018 – Borneo to Melbourne then home – Days 9 and 10.

After breakfast, we did our last pack before we were taken to the Sandakan Airport.  We had a little time to spare so looked at some information on the Pangalin. Pangolins as a genus are among the most heavily poached and exploited protected animals. Like other pangolin species, the Sunda pangolin is hunted for its skin, scales, and meat, used in clothing manufacture and traditional medicine. Scales are made into rings as charms against rheumatic fever, and meat is eaten by indigenous peoples. Despite enjoying protected status almost everywhere in its range, illegal international trade, largely driven by Chinese buyers, has led to rapidly decreasing population numbers. The Sunda pangolin is currently considered to be critally endangered.  We watched a huge amount of produce on a trolley heading into the plane to be loaded on.

We caught our Flight MH2711 from Sandakan to Kuala Lumpur. (Seat 9A) leaving at 1355.  It was funny, as Christine was designated a window seat, but she couldn’t see out as it was blocked in so I had to give her a commentary of where we were.  She probably would have changed had it been a long flight.

 As our flight didn’t leave Kuala Lumpur until 2150 we spent time in the lovely airport lounge where we could have as much as you required to eat and drink – complimentary.  Nice and relaxing before it was time to then pass through Security once more and onto Flight MH0149 leaving at 2150 (Seat 32A).

The configuration was 2x4x2. Christine and I had window seats – behind each other.  After the seat belt signs went off, the passenger next to me and Christine both moved to other seats so this meant we were both able to stretch out allowing us to get some sleep.  The flight was very smooth and we arrived in Melbourne at approximately 8.45 Thursday 8th November having travelled a distance of 3951 miles.   We caught a taxi to our accommodation at the Mantra on the Park.   After we settled into our room we had lunch at the adjoining restaurant.  We had a “fashion parade” of the people who had been to the Oaks Day at the Melbourne Races.  Christine went and did some more shopping and then it was dinner time so we just ate at the same restaurant as lunch as the food was enjoyable.

So that was the end of several pack filled days of our trip to Borneo.  It was fun watching Christine trying to sort out her luggage as she had made some extra bits of shopping and she had trouble packing and repacking her goodies.  We finally went to bed after talking about our fabulous interesting trip to Borneo.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 8

Tuesday, 6 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 8

After breakfast we departed to visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. It was fun watching these weird looking animals leaping about and then we watched them enjoy their morning feed. They posed one minute and next thing were thumping along where we were walking.   They are the queerest looking animals with their very pronounced noses compared to the rest of their bodies.

Proboscis monkeys are known to make various vocalizations. When communicating the status of group, males will emit honks. They have a special honk emitted towards infants, which is also used for reassurance. Males will also produce alarm calls to signal danger. Both sexes give threat calls, but each are different. In addition, females and immature individuals will emit so-called “female calls” when angry. Honks, roars and snarls are made during low-intensity agonistic encounters. Nonvocal displays include leaping-branch shaking, bare-teeth open mouth threats and erection in males, made in the same situations.  They were quite noisy while leaping around. 

It was then onto the Sandakan War Memorial Park.   I didn’t go up the steps but enjoyed being in the lovely gardens.  The Sandakan War Memorial Park commemorates the suffering endured by and the tragic sacrifice of  approximately 2400 Australian and British prisoners of war held by the Japanese in the Sandakan POW camp between January and August 1945.  Early in 1945, the Japanese decided to move the POWs 260 kilometres west into the mountains to the small settlement of Ranau. On three forced marches between January and June approximately 500 prisoners died. The remainder died at the Ranau and Sandakan camps. Of all those who had been alive in January1945 by the end of August, only six – all Australians – survived. With the help of local people, they were fed and hidden from the Japanese until the end of the war.

Escape was no easy task, as all prisoners were  suffering malnutrition and wer affected by tropical diseases including beri beri, malaria and dysentery. Escapees were also at risk of being turned over to their captors as the Japanese offered large rewards for the recapture of escaped POWS.  This small group of survivors was able to testify against their tormentors to ensure that the world received eyewitness accounts of the crimes and atrocities committed at Sandakan, on the death marches and at Ranua.

It was onto the beautiful English Tea House for lunch. The grounds were immaculate and we had lovely views of the harbour. Was very relaxing.

 

We had a rest before our farewell dinner at the Sandakan Hotel. It was one of our companion’s birthday so we made a toast to Leesa.

It was a very good night – full of laughs and sad that it was our last night with a great friendly group of people.  Onto the coach once more back to our hotel after another enjoyable day.

 

Sunday, 4 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 6

Sunday 4 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 6

Monday, 5 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 7

This morning we departed for an excursion to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

We had a quick trip to the Rainforest Discovery Centre through the Botanical Gardens and the canopy walkway.

We then proceeded to the orangutans feeding platform to witness their morning feeding in their forest environment. The orangutans gave a good show swinging from tree to tree or on the ropes or hammocks. Very entertaining. We spent quite a lot of time viewing the young orangutans in the outdoor nursery.

We then visited the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre where we saw a couple of the world’s smallest bear in their natural forest environment. The vegetation is just beautiful – so green and the trees so dense. Was lovely to see how the different vines were entwined through the tall trees.

Jan and I at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

We returned to the hotel for lunch and then it was more orangutan feeding in the afternoon before we were taken to the Mango Restaurant for our dinner. Our group was in a separate section of the restaurant and in the next section there was a performance being acted out – a musical/opera. A couple of the performers came into our area and posed for photographs with our group.  It was quite hilarious.

In the room next to us, a Borneo group were performing and after they had finished a couple of the cast joined us to pose for some photographs.  We were quite tired when we arrived back to our hotel but it was a very enjoyable first day in Kota Kinabalu.

We were driven back to the hotel and had a couple of drinks with some of the group before going to bed. It was another very enjoyable day.

Saturday, 3 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 5

Saturday, 3 November 2018 – Sabah – Day 5

This morning was an early wakeup for a sunrise cruise in the long boats to search for the proboscis monkeys. Not long into the trip, I lost my unused new tablet overboard in the very muddy water.  After about an hour we headed back to the Lodge for breakfast.

It was then back onto the boats for another cruise and to watch the antics of the monkeys. While some of the group went for a short jungle walk, I stayed on the boat and the boatman gave me a very delicate wild flower – very prolific along the bank. We also checked some of the pots trapping prawns and crabs. It was back to the lodge once more for lunch.

The rest of the day was at leisure – there were some monkeys wandering around the grounds .

While at the Borneo Lodge we did lots of in and out of the long boats.  It was dinner at the lodge and then bed after another very enjoyable day.

 

 

Friday, 2 November 2018 – Sabah – Borneo – Day 4

Friday, 2 November 2018 – Sabah – Borneo – Day 4

After breakfast, we left our lovely cottage and took in the beautiful countryside and a terrific view of Mt. Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Sabah . There were tea pickers in the grounds. It was into the Tea Factory to hear about the different processes and then into the Sabah gift shop – made some purchases and received a free sample of the refreshing Sabah tea.

It was then onto Kampung Luanti where we stopped off to enjoy a fish spa (foot massage). We laughed and laughed as it was a strange feeling having the fish nibbling away.

We travelled for about 4-5 hours through the Labak and Sugut area to Sukau for lunch. Sukau is on the Kinabatangan River, the longest river in Sabah. It is an area that’s home to 10 species of primates, 8 species of hornbills and a wide variety of other animals and birds.

It was then a short boat transfer to our accommodation in Borneo Nature Lodge. After checking in, it was down to the river bank for a river cruise in the long boats in search of proboscis monkeys and other wildlife along the river bank. We spent quite awhile watching the antics of the monkeys bounding from tree to tree.

We came back to the Lodge to relax before it was time to have our dinner.  This was a very long day driving for about 250kms but certainly had varied activities and magnificent scenic views of the villages and the beautiful Mt. Kinabalu.

 

Thursday, 1 November 2018 – Sabah – Borneo – Day 3

Thursday, 1 November 2018 – Sabah – Borneo – Day 3

This morning after breakfast we drove through the Crocker Range with amazing scenic views of Tuaran and Kota Belua. We stopped at Nabalu Village market with local hand crafts, souvenirs and snacks and then to lunch at the Nabalu Restaurant.

It was then onwards to the beautiful Kinabalu National Park. Jan and I stayed behind and rested up. The countryside was just spectacular with villages nestled in the mountainside.

While the group went to the War Memorial Park, I went to a nearby market.

It was then onto Ranau to our accommodation at the Sabah Tea Gardens. We all had different cabins and ours was the Alfred Dent Cottage. The gardens were beautiful and had lovely views of the mountains.

We didn’t have to go far tonight for our meal as it was at the Tea Gardens.  There were some nasty beetles flying around and entertained us for some time. It was then back to our lovely room and an early night to bed as it was a full day again.  

 

Wednesday, 31 October 2018 – Kota Kinabalu – Day 2

Wednesday, 31 October 2018 – Kota Kinabalu – Day 2

After breakfast, we went by our coach to the Marina Jetty to catch a ferry to Manukan Island. After a short walk, we came to our designated huts. It was lovely just relaxing before I decided to put my feet in the water but the current was very strong and ripped my flip flops off. Fortunately, they were retrieved. Knew why we were warned not to go swimming in this area because of the strong rip. It was interesting watching a couple of Japanese girls in their high heels walking into the water to have about 5,000 – ha ha – photos taken. Lucky they did not get swept out because of the current. Some of the group walked further along to go swimming and snorkelling. After a super buffet lunch we headed back to the jetty to get the ferry back to the mainland.

We were then driven to the Mari Mari Cultural Village (MMCV). The village operates as a museum that preserves Borneo’s ethnic cultures, which features five different ethnic tribes in one village – including the rice farmers, longhouse residents, the hunters and fisherman, the cowboy and sea gypsies and the famously feared head-hunting tribe. Because of the difficult terrain, I stayed behind and was entertained by a lovely group of volunteers.

After the MMCV, we were then driven to the Sri Melaka Restaurant for another super meal and then it was back to the hotel for an evening of leisure and then it was off to bed. Another great full day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 29 October – Tuesday 30 October 2018 – Melbourne – Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) via Kuala Lumpur

Monday, 29 October 2018 – Melbourne to Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) via Kuala Lumpur

After breakfast, Chris and I said goodbye to Mary and Jan and we then made our way to Flinders Street Station to catch the free City Circle No. 35 and then onto another tram to meet up with Chris’ son Dion and his two little girls.

We spent time at Dion’s until 6.00 when Dion drove Chris and I to the International Airport. I took advantage of wheelchair assistance as my left leg was so painful to walk and stand. We booked our luggage through and stayed in the Old Town White Coffee restaurant until it was time to be met by the wheelchair assistant lady who took us through the necessary formalities for flight Malaysia MH0128 departing Melbourne at 00.40 to Kuala Lumpur.

After our meal, it was time to settle down for the long flight. I found it very difficult to get comfortable so was pleased when we arrived at Kuala Lumpur after 8 hours 20 minutes at 6.00 a.m. – 3951 miles.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018 – Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo – Day 1

We proceeded to Zone C for Malaysia MH2610 – Boeing 737-800 Jet, Seat 16C departing Kuala Lumpur at 9.35 a.m. It was a smooth 2 hrs 40 min flight arriving in Kota Kinabalu at 12.15 p.m. (1018 miles).  We met the rest of our group on the tour, our guide, Brendan and our coach driver. We were driven to our accommodation at the Dreamtel Hotel. 

We settled into the hotel until 2.00p.m. when we were then taken on a scenic tour of Kota Kinabalu city, passing the Sabah Foundation Building, University, Sabah State and City Mosque and the Sabah Museum to mention a few.  It was then onto the night markets and then to the Sri Tanjung Restaurant for a delicious seafood meal with a cultural show.