How could I come to Sabah and not go to the Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary.
This place is amazing, and what they do with these animals to save their lives is fantastic.
Feeding time is at 10am and 3pm at platform 4 in the middle of the jungle.
The day I was there approx 12 Orang Utan and 1 baby came to feed.
No plastics or insect repellent is allowed inside the sanctuary as the Orangutan try to eat it
The only fault I had with the place was that the giftshop didnt have any credit card facilities so I was unable to sponsor an Orangutan
Being in the military, I have an interest in seeing places that have a place in Australian "digger" history. The war memorial at Sandakan was no exception. This was the place that the famous "Death March" across Borneo which was instigated by the Japanese during the Second World War started. The Japanese prisoner of war camp contained over 1800 Australians, English and Indian soldiers and airmen. Only 6 survived, and they only survived becase they escaped into the Jungle. This a very moving location and a must see for all Australians. There is also other memorials scattered across Sabah to mark the resting spots of the march at Ranau and Kundasang. The main one is on Palau Labuan, the location of the Peace park
Well, this is an average city, but the shopping is actually quite good and the range of accomodation available is simply great. It is a very enjoyable place as a stopover. On one side of the city you can see tropical islands (the Tunku abdul Rahman National Park) and on the other side you can see the Crocker Range mountains. If you are lucky, or wake up early in the morning you can get quite a good view of Mount Kinabalu (depending on where you are of course!)
One thing that I really liked was landing in KK by plane, the runway is a few metres away from the sea and it seems that the plane is landing in the sea, plus you get a terrific view of the islands!
The waterfront is busy in the evening, with oubviously many food stalls and cafes. Still, it did not feel as safe as the Kuching waterfront and there are some poor people who run around the tourists begging for money.
This is a really busy city, with a surprising amount of businessmen running about. There are great (and a lot of) places to eat.
This is a park comprising of 5 coral fringed islands off the coast of KK. They are Pulau Gaya, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Sapi and Pulau Sulug and the reefs in between. It is really easy to get there by boat from KK, just ask for the direction of the jetty. The corals are almost all dead, but they still provide nice snorkelling - and there are plenty of tropical fished to keep you entertained! There is accomodation on Gaya and Manukan and one can camp on Gaya, Sapi and Mamutik. The entrance fee to the park is RM10 (approx $2).
This is the highlight activity to do in Sabah - it is the main tourist attraction of the area. The mountain stands at 4095m tall, making it the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea and the highest peak in SE Asia. For practically all day, for most of the year the mountain is enshrouded with clouds, and if you arrive there in any time other than very early in the morning it is difficult to believe there is such a large mountain ... all you can see is whitish grey clouds. It is only in the early morning, from the Kinabalu Park or the vicinities that you can admire this mammoth mountain, and gawk at the long way ahead if you plan to hike to the summit!
The climb usually takes 2 days and 1 night - you start in the morning, hike up a 6 km trail and spend the night at an altitude of over 3000m at the Laban Rata resthouse or the nearby huts. After a short sleep, the alarms are set to 2.30am to continue the journey to the summit by the light of the torchlight. It is a 3-4hr hike to reach the summit - it is important to reach the summit earlier than 6.30 - first of all to view the spectacular sunrise and secondly because at around this time the mountain starts becoming enshrouded in clouds so you would see absolutely nothing if you arrive later - so get moving!
You only spend a few minutes at the summit, it is so cold everyone heads back down. The feat is not over! The descent is much more difficult then going up and it is a really long way after that climb!! You need to be reasonably fit and have plenty of determination to make the climb. Remember to walk slowly - and do not change rhythm while you walk. You might also experience altitude sickness (nausea, headache) and shortness of breath (due to very low oxygen levels at that altitude)
For more info about the climb and my personal experience, as well as photos please refer to my Conquering the Kinabalu Travelogue.
A visit to the Kinabalu Park does not only mean climbing the mountain, the park in itself has various other trails and is of major biological and botanical interest - not to mention natural air conditioning! It is refreshingly cool up there in stark contrast to the immense heat of the lowlands. As the Lonely Planet plainly puts it, if you have to explore the park trails and climb the mountain explore the park before climbing the mountain! I tried to do it after but with dismal results of aches and pains hampering my hiking. I did see some interesting birds, butterflies and bugs but I wish I had an extra day instead of just a few hours in the morning after the climb and descent (i.e. a late morning) - we had a flight to Sandakan on that day. Look out for the striking Green Magpie - a secretive, long tailed large emerald green bird with a bright red beak and black 'eye-liner', and plenty of other birds in the area.
There are only four such sanctuaries in the world - where orphaned or injured orangutans are rehabilitated and then released back into the forest to hopefully continue to lead a normal life. While places like this are good to raise awareness of the problems being faced by these primates (loss of habitat etc) maybe this centre has had too much success - when I visited there were plenty of tourists, and I kept feeling that I was in a circus waiting for the orangutans to perform some trick. I felt that these animals were being sort of degraded ... not intentionally of course, the centre needs money to perate and help to rescue these creatures that may become extinct in the near future.
The orangutans are fed on a platform at specific times, twice daily and they come to feed out of their own free will, as they are practically living in the wild. If they are not hungry they will simply not show up: so sightings of these primates is not a guarantee!
The sanctuary has a reception, a small restaurant and an exhibition area, one part like a museum and nother part showing a short video about the orangutans.
For more pics of the orangutans visit my Sepilok and Turtle Islands Travelogue.
Sungai (River) Kinabatangan is the longest river in Sabah, 560km long. This is reputed to be one of the best places in Borneo to see the wildlife - and I can confirm this! This is the best place in Malaysian Borneo to see the bizarre proboscis monkey - surely a sight not to be missed! 2 species of macaques are commonly seen, the long tailed macaque and the pig tailed macaque. This is also one of your best bets to see wild orangutans. Another highlight are the elephants, which are quite small when compared to African Elephants.
Another attraction here are the birds, Hornbills are quite common as well as Fish eagles, brilliantly coloured kingfishers amd flycatchers, and the occasional Chinese Egret. Look out for the weird looking Oriental Darter - fittingly known as the snake bird due to its long snake like neck. They often can be found with their wings outstretched drying in the sun on quite visible branches. More elusive are the Storm's Storks - a highlight for even avid birdwatchers.
There are also plenty of snakes here, some of them really pretty. There are also some cute lizards around ... and some of them can even fly (or rather, glide)!
For more pics, and to get a better feel of this are please visit my Kinabatangan River Travelogues : Kinabatangan River Travelogue 1 and Kinabatangan River Travelogue 2
The islands around Kota Kinabalu are charming and picturesque. The five islands of Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug and the surrounding seas covering a total area of approximately 12,185 acres have been designated as the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. (I only went to Manukan Island.)
Crystal-clear waters are just a ten-minute boat ride away from Kota Kinabalu. For the better part of the year, the seas are usually very calm in the mornings. A journey to the islands by speedboat would be an exhilarating ride across a smooth shimmering surface. Those wishing for a quiet holiday will find peace and tranquility especially during the weekdays when there are few bathers around. Water skiers would likewise find the seas of Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Manukan and Pulau Sapi excellent because of the gentle waves.
I have stayed at Pulau Manukan for a couple of days to relax a bit before attempting to climb the Kinabalu. The island is really small, but quite nice with beautiful turqoise coloured sea, plenty of tropical fish, decent beaches and a 1.5km long jogging trail. The jogging trail leads to the Manukan Sunset Point, the best place to view the sunset, to take a good photo of Mount Kinabalu early in the morning if the weather is clear, and to watch White Bellied Sea eagles soaring over the sea. The trail also offers some birdwatching opportunities, though again, patience is needed. We had to walk the trail for about 4 times (really really silently) to be able to catch a glimpse of the megapode - the Tabon Scrubfowl, an elusive and secretive chicken-like bird. The snorkelling was also enjoyable, though in the afternoon the tide was really low and the visibility was poor. Do not miss fish feeding on the jetty - just throw scarps of food in the water and plenty of colourful fish soon arrive to enjoy the feast. You can even snorkel with them, but take food with you as they will think your fingers and bum are food and they will bite (but fortunately not hurt). There is a restaurant on the island serving decent food, and during the day sea food is served on the beach (cooked in what seemed like tanks!?). A day trip should be enough to sample what the island has to offer.
For more pics and info about Manukan, have a look at my Manukan Travelogue.
Situated along signal Hill Road, it was built in 1902 as a memorial to Francis George Atkinson, the popular first District Officer of Kota Kinabalu. This memorial survived the air raids and blitz of World War II and it is the oldest standing structure in Sabah.
Tamu means Sunday market. At Kota Belud, there is this huge Sunday morning Tamu where many people visit. Go there with an empty stomach, fill it up with all the local foodfare. T-shirts can be purchased there as well if you are thinking of getting some t-shirts as souvenirs to bring home.
What you really must do at the Tamu is to observe the people, talk to them; they are really friendly. Most people in Kota Belud are Bajaus, one of the minority groups in Sabah.
Kuday is the most north point of Sabah. When I was there, it was a Sunday and the twon was still sleeping. No tourists, shops were closed, nothing much to see. I went to the Paradise Beach though where the newly constructed Promenade is. At the Promenade, there are seafood restaurants and a big Clock Tower.
In the town, there is really nothing much to see. I did not go to its fish market but I guess it may be interesting to just drop by.
If you are climbing the Mount Kinabalu, then, you will need to get to the Kota Kinabalu Park. This Park is a huge place which houses many accommodations (hostels, cabins, lodges, etc) and the admin office where you need to seek assistance to make arrangements for your climb.
Even if you are not climbing the mountain, simply staying at the foot of Mount Kinabalu at the Park will be nice and cooling.
The Park itself has rather good facilities like restaurants, fitness centre, walking trails, etc.
Most unforgettable was the view of Mount Kinabalu!!!
I conquered Mount Kinabalu on 27 Mar 04. It was the 1st mountain of that height which I climbed. The satusfaction which I got was incredible. I would urge all travellers to also try to go right up on to the summit.
Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in South East Asia, with the height of 4095.2m. It is also the first UNESCO Heritage Site in Malaysia. Mount Kinabalu is essentially very "rocky" near the peak and "green" from the foot to the mid-point.
Fitness is important to conquer this magestic mountain. Do enjoy the process, I mean, the journey. Look out for the pitcher plants and wild orchids.
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