A Travellerspoint blog

April 2006

On my way back to Bangkok

sunny 32 °C
View Thailand & Borneo on cde3879's travel map.

I'm currently sat in the departure 'room' at Kota Kinabalu airport. Due to take off at 6.50pm so half an hour to go. I've got to say that I'm sorry to be leaving Borneo as I think it's an amazing place, but it gives me a good reason to come back and explore some more :)

Had a really nice, chilled day today - got a boat over to a small island a few miles offshore from KK called Sapi. Golden sand, sparkling seas, and, urr, monitor lizards! That's right - as I was lying on the beach under the palm trees, two huge monitor lizards walked passed! Couldn't believe it.

Anyway was there until 4pm when our boat picked us up and took us back to the mainland. Took a taxi to the airport and here I am now.

So next stop - Thailand again! Here comes the madness :)

Posted by cde3879 18:22 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Poring Hot Springs & back to KK

sunny 31 °C
View Thailand & Borneo on cde3879's travel map.

Apologies for the lack of updates for the last couple of days, i've been totally and utterly crippled be the mountain and in no frame of mind to blog!

Anyway it's now 7.30am on sunday morning and I'm now in KK. After getting to the base of Mt Kinabalu on friday afternoon, we headed to Poring where there are some hot springs - just what my legs were in need of. However as soon as I reached the hostel there I conked out and by the time I woke up it was raining and dark. So decided to write it off for friday and try again saturday.

Got up at about half six on saturday morning and went for a wander around the reserve. It's beautiful at that time of day with very few other people about as the animals haven't retreated back into the jungle yet. Ended up at the aptly named rainforest restaurant for some breakfast (the jungle ants went nuts after smelling my fruit so had to be a bit careful and on the alert!!) and after, picked up my towel and had a soak in the hot spring tubs.

Wow, did that feel good. They do pong a bit though because of all the sulphur, but were good nonetheless. Got out about an hour later - it was then time for the next excursion.

The rainforest canopy walkway is 157 metres long and 47 metres high at its highest point. It allows you to see some of Borneo's wildlife that rarely comes down to the ground and sightings of flying snakes, orang utans and jungle leopards have all been made, alas not by us this time. You really do need a lot of nerve to cross it - it's like something out of indiana jones!!

When we got back down to terra firma we climbed up a ridiculously steep embankment to some bat caves. They absolutely stank but it was awesome to see thousands of bats flying in and out. Not sure what kind of bats they were but the size could have made them fruit bats - they were massive. After this we returned down that same embankment to Poring and like a true pro I landed straight on my arse on a rock, ouch! Fortunately just a big bruise, nothing worse :)

On our way back to KK we stopped at a town called Ranau for some lunch and a look around the local market. Bought some strong honey that I saw the guy on the stall make - very impressive - and then we were on our way again. Stopped off at Peka Nabalu to pick up some local handicrafts (mum & dad got you something from here!) and from there it was back to KK.

Reached KK and met up with Louis (we all met him on our first evening in KK) who had arranged a room for me in the hotel he works in free of charge which was a really nice gesture. Thanks mate! So I got some dinner, chilled out for a bit then went to bed. I'm going to the islands off KK today if I can before my flight, I need some time to chill before the madness of bangkok again!

Next update - Thailand probably.

Posted by cde3879 08:19 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Summit of Mount Kinabalu

all seasons in one day 13 °C
View Thailand & Borneo on cde3879's travel map.

We made it!!! After getting up at 2am we had some breakfast and started the climb at 3. It's a 2.5km climb up to the top from Laban Rata and you'd be nuts to do it on an empty stomach. So even though the toast was 15 ringgits (trust me, that's extortionate!) we had a few slices and were on our way.

The sight of about 50 headtorches bobbing up and down the trail to the summit in the pitch black was awesome. Most of the climb involves pulling yourself up slippery slabs of granite - not easy, especially in the pitch black! Still, some two and a half hours later, we were stood on the very highest point of south east asia.

Not wanting to get emotional online, this was probably one of the highest moments I have ever experienced. As the sun rose above the distant clouds the sky caught fire and the surface of the clouds glistened like frost. In the distance we could see the Philippines, some 100 miles away. Looking the other way we could see inner Borneo's mountain ranges, stretching all the way into the Indonesian state of Kalimantan. Words can't explain how beautiful it was or how utterly awe inspiring it felt - you have to experience it to believe it.

We left the summit once the sun was all the way up and the clouds started rolling in. Got back to Laban Rata at about 9am, had some breakfast (again), and then left to descend the rest of the mountain at about half past.

On the way down we saw some fantastic specimens of Nepenthes Kinabaluensis - picked one up and it must have weighed a kilo it was so full of liquid. Aside from the plants, the rest of the descent was extremely tough, knees and ankles getting a good hammering. We finally reached park HQ at about half two.

Minibus awaiting - next stop, Poring Hot Springs.

Posted by cde3879 15:15 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

From Kinabalu Park HQ to Laban Rata

rain 20 °C
View Thailand & Borneo on cde3879's travel map.

Finally made it to Laban Rata resthouse at 2.45 this afternoon. Got up this morning at 6 as some malaysians were being really loud in the room! Spent a bit of time sorting my stuff out and then headed to park HQ for 7.30.

Had a bit of a wait for the guide but eventually got going around ten. There were only three in my group - Eva from Sweden who I met in the café last night, and Caroline from Kent.

After about half an hour on the summit trail, the guide pointed out a beautiful example of Nepenthes Tentaculata, one of the many species of pitcher plants that grow on Kinabalu. This was to be the first of many, and before too long we'd also seen N. Alata, N. Kinabaluensis, and some absolutely enormous N. Villosa traps.

The climb was an extreme one to say the least, and with my backpack on too I was really beginning to suffer after about 4km. The altitude was taking its toll too and so we slowed right down. We eventually made it to our resthouse, Laban Rata, at about 2.45. Not bad considering the bag I was carrying!

The rain on the way up was absolutely torrential - I got soaked through and through. And it went on and on and on - not stopping until we got to about 1km from the end. My camera unfortunately got completely soaked too - so that's drying out now and hopefully will hold out long enough to take some pictures tomorrow at the summit. Not counting any chickens tho... What a bummer!

Going to bed now as up at 2am for the summit expedition! I must be crazy... Well let's hope it stays dry.

Next update probably from the hot springs in Poring!

Posted by cde3879 18:13 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

KK to Mt Kinabalu

sunny 26 °C
View Thailand & Borneo on cde3879's travel map.

Was picked up from my hotel (the Hyatt in KK) and taken to Kinabalu Park by two really nice people, one called wilbur and one called veronica. Veronica is from Hong Kong and used to live in Caversham! It's a small world!

Stopped off at a small town on the way where the local dusian people (one of the native bornean indiginous groups) were having their weekly market. Absolutely fascinating - selling everything from spices to fruit, tobacco to dusian uniforms (black suits with gold sparkly bits sown onto them). There was even a witch doctor there!

After the market we stopped in a small café for some traditional malaysian noodles - they were delicious. The specific type of noodles served were special to the town - you won't find them anywhere else.

Next stop was at a place called Pekan Nabalu. They sell all kinds of local handicrafts here - I bought a really nice photo album and some beads for a little over £3.

Finally arrived at Kinabalu Park at about midday. Booked in and was shown to my accommodation, a dorm style hostel called Grace Hostel. Seems fine, I've put my net up already tho as I reckon I'll need it later!

Took a walk down the Silau Silau trail - not far, but still reasonably arduous. Saw tonnes of orchids even at this low level - slipper orchids included. Apparently there are countless more along the summit trail.

Also went to the Kinabalu Mountain Garden. Here they have planted quite a percentage of the mountain's native species so you can see them in a small area. Saw Nepenthes Kinabaluensis, the mountain's native pitcher plant, found nowhere else in the world. It's a natural cross between Rajah and Villosa - pretty big traps with a ribbed edge.

Pretty tired after that, long day already, so got some supplies and am now back at the hostel. Just started absolutely hammering it down - sheets of rain but as with most tropical storms, doubt it'll last long! Quite a lot cooler here actually because of the altitude - upper twenties at a guess.

Looking forward to the climb tomorrow (even though my body may not be!!!) :)

Posted by cde3879 16:57 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)