The last stage of our tour through Borneo was to get back from the Kinabatangan River over the hills to Kota Kinabalu. As we didn’t want to risk another crazy eight hours ride, we split the journey in two. We stopped overnight in Kundasang, a mountain village very close to the Mt Kinabalu national park. The feeling up there was completely different to what we had experienced so far in Borneo: Enjoyable temperatures, views of a proper mountain peak and even some green meadows with Friesian cows grazing . Real signs of swissness!
It felt so good to go for walks without being drenched in sweat. We roamed through the lush green rainforest of Mount Kinabalu national park and strode up a steep hill to the Desa Dairy Farm – a proper tourist attraction! – where the girls loved being around some familiar animals for a change: We hardly managed to get them out of the shed where they were allowed to stroke and feed calves and goats. They were not even bothered about becoming a popular subject for photographers (once more!), looking a little bit like Heidi with their light skin and two plats.
Back in Kota Kinabalu – on familiar grounds – there was one more mission to complete: We had to wash absolutely every single piece of clothing we owned. Then after cramming our belongings back into our backpacks and savouring one last roti kaya, we were ready to make our way to the airport and say goodbye to Malaysia. Selamat tinggal, Malaysia!
And here’s what we all thought of our four weeks in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah (Borneo):
John (J): The proboscis monkey sanctuary: I just thought the monkeys were fascinating and the contact with them was much more than what I had expected. Plus, we saw a wild orang-utan while we were there.
Nicole (N): Watching the proboscis monkeys going wild.
Sophie (S): The proboscis monkeys at the sanctuary showing off and running across the viewing platform.
Lilly (L): Seeing the orang-utans and proboscis monkeys. I especially loved it when the proboscis monkeys ran across the viewing platform.
J: Tip of Borneo – because of an accumulation of things.
N: Our time at the tip of Borneo. When reality doesn’t meet the expectations.
S: The three nights at Tampat Do Aman (Tip of Borneo). There was not much to do and nowhere to escape from the heat.
L: Sleeping at Tampat Do Aman (Tip of Borneo). The beds were uncomfortable and there were lots of mosquitoes around.
J: The clifftop AirBnB at the tip of Borneo. Without the rats and the gecko poo, of course.
N: I was positively surprised by Kuala Lumpur. Regarding the accommodation: Cozy Chapter AirBnB No. 1 in Kota Kinabalu. Our cosy Christmas home away from home.
S: Sepilok Forest Edge Resort: We had much room and there was lots to do.
L: Sepilok Forest Edge Resort: I liked the restaurant, our chalet and the pool.
Best meal / food
J: The street food experience in Jln Alor street (Kuala Lumpur) when we ate with our friend Marc. That was an experience I was hoping for. And: I really enjoyed the butter chicken with naan at the Kohinoor restaurant on Kota Kinabalu’s waterfront.
N: Steamed bun with coconut filling on the street food market in Jln Alor street (Kuala Lumpur). And the fresh Zopf for breakfast in Kota Kinabalu, of course. Last but not least: Roti at Zakaria Restauraan in Sandakan.
S: Christmas brunch
L: Roti Kaya for breakfast in a local restaurant at Kundasang.
J: Sleeping on the palettes in Cozy Chapter AirBnB No. 2 in Kota Kinabalu.
N: Cozy Chapter AirBnB No. 1 in Kota Kinabalu
S: Cozy Chapter AirBnB No. 1 in Kota Kinabalu and Sepilok Forest Edge Resort
L: Cozy Chapter AirBnB No. 1 in Kota Kinabalu and Sepilok Forest Edge Resort
J: It’s a fine call between the proboscis monkeys and the orang-utans. But it is the orang-utans. The one that visited us at the Sun Bear sanctuary was looking straight at us and held the gaze. That was pretty special.
N: Proboscis monkeys – they are real characters.
S: Proboscis monkeys – I loved their noses and the sound they made when communicating.
L: Proboscis monkeys, orang-utans and the baby crocodile.
People I will remember
J: Howard, the manager of Tampat Do Aman (Tip of Borneo) – we had a lot of contact with him and I was kind of impressed with what he is trying to achieve with his projects. And Mr. Jacob, the captain of the river cruise boat on Kinabatangan river. I just liked his face and he could spot a kingfisher from 400 yards in the rain.
N: Unfortunately, we have not had contact with many locals. The only one that comes to mind is Mr. Jacob, our Kinabatangan river cruise captain: He was so calm and has got the sharpest eye-sight ever.
S: Miffi and Locklen who I had fun with at the Myne Resort on Kinabatangan River.
L: Miffi and Lochlen who I made friends with at the Myne Resort on Kinabatangan River.
What I’ll miss
J: The relaxed driving manner. Nobody is in a rush.
N: If I will miss something at all, it will be the “roti kasong”.
S: Roti telur.
What I won’t miss
J: Plastic on the beaches – all over.
N: Mosquitoes and leeches.
S: Litter on the beaches.
L: The mattress with the massive dip.
I didn’t expect…
J: … so much plastic on the beaches.
N: … the traffic to be so organised. In Kuala Lumpur and Borneo. And so many palm oil plantations.
S: … to see so many palm oil plantations.
L: …that the people drive so carefully. I thought it would be more like driving Sri Lankan style.