Sunday, September 23, 2007

Going wild in Borneo ...

Time to go feral again.

We were headed for Kuching, the capital of Malaysian Borneo to look for wildife in the jungle.

Our two day trip to Bako National Park started out as it meant to go on. After taking the incredibly cheap (but even bumpier) local bus to Bako, we transferred to a small motor launch. Setting off we looked back at the jetty and saw the signpost asking us to "beware of crocodiles" quite clearly. Yikes.

After 20 minutes heading down the river estuary and into the South China Sea, we reached our destination. Well almost. The tide was out, so our launch couldn't get any closer than 50m from the shoreline. As we waded to shore I reflected that now would probably be a good time to beware of the crocodiles ...

Trekking in the jungle was hot, hot, hot. In fact so was sitting in the room, eating in the park canteen or even taking a cold shower. But the amazing wildlife we saw really made up for any discomfort we experienced. We saw snakes, a bearded pig and loads of macaques - one of the highlights being able to track troops of the bizzare looking proboscis monkey's through the jungle and mangrove's along the coastline.

They generally kept their distance from us, but as we headed back to camp we came across a juvenile proboscis (above) scampering along the man-made walkway through the mangroves. We followed him and after a while he got quite used to our presence, enabling us to get within a couple of metres as he munched on mangrove leaves for half an hour.

If we'd doubted the crocodile threat beforehand, we didn't after seeing this one on the boat journey back just a few hundred metres down the coast from our drop-off point the day beforehand.
Our last day in Borneo we headed out to Semmenggoh Wildlife Centre hoping to catch Borneo's most famous forest dweller - the Orang Utan. Due to some inclement weather only one turned up for feeding (apparently they like a lie in now and again too) - fortunately for us it was the largest in the reserve.

This was our last stop in Malaysia ... 2 weeks wasn't nearly long enough to experience everything this country has to offer. Still, we'll be happy enough to come back here another time ...

Malaysia is the only country so far where I won't be adding a local beer to the league table - they just didn't sell one in any of the bars we visited (it most certainly wasn't for lack of trying) - so I guess I'll just have to try extra hard in our next country. You can see all the photos from Malaysia by clicking through on the flickr graphic on the sidebar.