21.10.2009 - 23.10.2009 94 °F
Borneo miles traveled 1146
When you hear of Borneo, you probable think of jungles, beaches, and wild animals well you would be right. We landed in Sandakan in the Malaysian Province of Sabah on the northeast side of Borneo. From our hotel, we made our arrangements to travel via bus to the fishing village of Semporna- the nearest point to visit the Sipadan Marine Park. The next day, in Sandakan, we took the mini bus to begin our journey to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. This center was created to rehabilitate orphaned, captured, or wounded orangutans. Their biggest threat at present is the elimination of their habitat due to palm oil plantations. We ended up arriving after the first feeding, but this gave us time to go for an amazing jungle hike. The Dipterocarp trees towered hundreds of feet over our head and had roots as tall as my lovely wife. The sounds of the forest all around us and the density of life were mesmerizing. We ate a leisurely lunch, watched their introduction video, and toured the exhibits before the main event: viewing orangutan feeding time.
We walked about twenty minutes into the rainforest.
The following day we grabbed a taxi to the intercity bus terminal just in time to grab a bus to the seaside town of Semporna. English has been a little harder to come by in Borneo, but I picked up a couple of phrases in Malaysian. “How much is it?” “Where is…?” “Thank you.” and “Good bye.” These phrases used strategically invariably get a smile and a little bit of help. During our five hour bus ride to Semporna we saw the huge majority of unprotected forest on the island that is being destroyed for oil palm plantations. These trees, after seven years, produce 13 years of fruit which can be made into biodiesel. After this they have to be chopped down for the cycle to begin again. It was a little sad to be driving across Borneo and as far as the eye could see in every direction was covered by neat rows of the same tree…the African palm.
We finally arrived at the Port town of Semporna and settled into Global Backpackers lodge to find a way to get away for tropical island bliss.
The next entry…What is Singamata?