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Borneo April 2015: Primates, Pygmy Elephants and much more….


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Nice pics ..but I think without a visit to sumatera and komodo islands this trip seems to be little incomplete. ..

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I mentioned early that the hotel runs a number of nature related activities. We had booked a night walk for this evening. It started at 7pm we were the only guests and it was very enjoyable walking t

Our guide is called Landrico, but known as Junior. (we find out later that he was a guide for the BBC team that made “Expedition Borneo” about 10 years ago). The boat is low in the water and has two r

Next Day Up at 5.45 – a cup of fine Sabah tea and we meet by the boat to set off at 6.30.   We see a Crab-eating macaque on the mud at the edge of the river and then Youngsters playing in the ea

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Kitsafari

@@gagan I beg to differ. I'm just back from a one-week trip just to see orang utans and it had been hugely fruitful and fulfiling. one of my two main goals was orang utans, and i had achieved that goal. of course you can have a multi-purpose trip to see a variety of wildlife, which is just as enjoyable. but such trips allow you to admire, using an analogy, not only the canopy of the forest, but also a single tree's beauty, purpose, history and its role in the eco system.

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@@Kitsafari...surely the orangutan encounter is a way more captivating than other primates safari...because the way they handle tourist crowd is simply awsome. ..and with calm temprament they try to establish...a relationship with humans...but as far as your goals are concerned I think ...you got what u wanted...so cheers..and keep sharing the pics...

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TonyQ

@@Kitsafari

Thank you. The camera is a Canon 550D, with a 70-300 lens for most pictures. A longer lens would have been helpful in some circumstances but I am not sure I would have like to carry it! I am pleased that you got to see the Orang Utan - I look forward to hearing about it.

@@gagan

Thank you. We all have different ideas about what makes a trip- this is lucky or we would all end up in the same place :) . I am sure the trip you suggest would be interesting but we lacked three things - time, money and energy! We were happy with the structure of the trip we did.

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TonyQ

Day 2 (Continued)

A long relaxing lunch in the heat of the day, a bit of a rest, followed by some more walking in the grounds of the hotel. We saw a Pig-tailed macaque and a few birds, including some sunbirds and

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Yellow vented bulbul

As this day was my birthday, we went to the beach bar and had a cocktail while watching the sunset

 

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We then enjoyed some good malaysian food and a cold beer. On our way back to our room there was still time for a final sighting!

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TonyQ

Day 3

Up at 5.45! We had booked a bird walk at 6.30 so met our guide and 5 other guests. The walk was to be around the golf course area.

 

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Would you play that shot?

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Pink-necked green pigeon

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Purple Heron

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Red-Headed (Ashy) Tailorbird

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Stork-Billed Kingfisher

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Cinnamon Bittern

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Large Water Monitor with very large fish head

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Checking us out...

We found the walk very enjoyable - certainly not a wilderness but with some good sightings. The guide gave us a bird list which MrsQ completed and she recorded 23 species. We were out for about two and a half hours.

 

A good breakfast was followed by our second visit to see the Orang Utans (photos in earlier post)

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TonyQ

After a quick shower, it was time to leave Rasa Ria. If you accept it for what it is - a resort hotel - it is very good. It is not the sort of place we usually stay at, but we enjoyed it. Food was good; it was expensive by Malaysian standards but as we had just come from the UK it wasn't too painful! Beer and cocktails were similar to UK prices but wine was very expensive (we were not tempted anyway!). Staff were very friendly.

 

So, a taxi into Kota Kinabalu. We wanted to stay in the city so that we could eat other types of malaysian food, and it is also much closer to the airport. We stayed at the Hyatt (good deals available online). Reception was very friendly, and as our room wasn't ready they upgraded us to an executive room with a nice view over the sea.

 

Straight out to lunch to a local food court (many small food stalls/cafes.) Very good and very cheap - people were very friendly in helping us choose. A bit of a rest and then out to explore. We wandered alon the sea front, past jettys, fishing boats and to the market area.

 

Warning: This post contains non-wildlfe pictures!

 

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Lemon grass, chilli, galangal, calamansi limes

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Ginger

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Limes

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Dried fish

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Dried chilli

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The market

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TonyQ

We went to the fish market...

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Man of the fish were beautifully arranged...

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However we did decide to give the meat market a miss. We walked to the jetty to join many local people watching the sunset

 

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A cold beer (you may spot a theme) followed by avisit to the food stalls

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Grilled fish, grilled prawns, rice. A spicy home made sauce is on the table along with more chillis and calamansi limes (new to me -smaller than limes at home and flesh can be a bit orange), salt and sugar so that you can adjust the balance of flavours in the sauce. Delicious and cheap.

 

We walked along the jetty a bit more, had another beer and called it a day.

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Kitsafari

Happy belated birthday @@TonyQ!

 

fabulous sunsets!

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xelas

Food courts in Malaysia (and Singapore) are still on top of best eateries; but definitively avoid if you do not like spicy food :wacko: !

 

@TonyQ: great photos from the market! We have missed this one but got our share of colours and smells (not always pleasant ones) in Kota Bharu.

 

Did you try durian :P !

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Gambarnya bagus laa ( pics are awsome) ..it seems you were hunting for food also ...by the way did u enjoy nasi goreng ( fried rice of indonesia)...:)

 

Snapshots of monkeys and monitor lizards are fabulous. ..

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Tom Kellie

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~ @@TonyQ

 

We love the feeling of being spoiled by you! Such lavish imagery and commentary transports anyone viewing this trip report to a very special corner of the globe.

I HUGELY ADMIRE your crystal-clear Nelumbo nucifera — lotus — flower image!

It's one of the finest lotus images I've ever seen.

Gotta love those food market shots. Chilies, limes, ginger — sigh...

Such a safari...such commentary...such images. When any of your trip reports appear, I'm hooked from the outset.

Many hearty thanks for your care in presenting your experience in such an appealing way.

Tom K.

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kittykat23uk

Great stuff! I think your squirrels are Bornean black banded. Prevost's is the black one with the reddish belly.

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Sangeeta

@@TonyQ - fabulous shots, Tony! You get the 'backlit photog' award for these forest pics - they are really eye-catching with the russet/red fur of the orangs who look like they are on fire!

 

Nice non-wildlife pics too :) Looking forward to more.

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Atravelynn

Nice pics ..but I think without a visit to sumatera and komodo islands this trip seems to be little incomplete. ..

Or Java and Bali. A stop in Thailand on your way there. PNG after the Indonesia part. And it's just a hop, skip, and jump to Kaziranga! ;) Now that would be a full-bodied itinerary!

 

You are a genius with ginger, limes, and many variations of fish at the market. You must be an artist, graphic designer, interior decorator, or similar--if not for a profession, then for a hobby!

 

The seed-head shot--can it even be real? And the seedpod below it is such an exquisite creation.

 

Looking again at the tarantula, it is different from any I've seen. It appears to have extra armor or accessories. How common was a tarantula sighting?

 

Sunsets are breathtaking. Birds are outstanding. Your orangs are superb. The variety just keeps getting bigger and better!

Edited by Atravelynn
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TonyQ

@@Kitsafari

Thank you - not a bad place to spend a birthday :)

@@xelas

Thank you -we do like spicy food and were very keen to try different sorts. We did not try Durian but we have heard of its reputation!

@@Tom Kellie

Thank you for the kind comments, and for your identification of the lotus. I didn't recognise it at the time, but as soon as you named it I could see the similarity to those seen in Buddhist paintings.

@@kittykat23uk

I hoped your small mammal expertise would come in (combined with your knowledge of this area)!

@@Sangeeta

Thank you -there was often no alternative to back-lit! (Are you changing your avatar picture? - it seems to have disappeared)

@@Atravelynn

Thank you - your comments about design are very flattering. However, the artists were the market stall holders who arranged their food so attractively. All I did was take a picture of it.

Tarantula -we saw a couple at Rasa Ria and also saw some at Danum Valley on a night walk. I haven't compared them to see if they look like the same species - I suspect my identification skills might be lacking! (I have just een using Google, and it may be a Malaysian Earth Tarantula.)

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TonyQ

Day 4

Breakfast at the Hyatt was excellent – in the top 3 I have eaten in a hotel. The choice and quality was very impressive; really good fruit, Malaysian, Chinese and Indian dishes. Very enjoyable.

 

Taxi to the airport and at 11.30, a short, 40 minute Malaysian Airlines flight to Sandakan. We were met at the airport (the start of arrangements made by Naturalis) and transferred to Sepilok, where we stay 2 nights at the Sepilok Nature Resort.

 

Sepilok

 

I will write this section based on the places we visited (Sepilok Nature Resort - our base, The Rainforest Discovery Centre, The Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre), rather than an hour by hour description. (Our driver very helpfully showed us where the latter 3 sites were even though this took a short diversion)

 

Sepilok Nature Resort

 

This is really well located, a short walk from The Orang Utan and Sun Bear centres. It was a lovely place to stay, with wooden walkways leading through gardens, alongside and across a lake to wooden cabins. These were basic, but had everything you need. We stayed Bed and Breakfast (good) but also bought lunch and dinner here; the food was good quality and well- priced. Free cold drinking water was available. There were a few short trails through the gardens which were very pleasant for an early morning walk.

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Fruit bats roosting under the roof of our balcony

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View across the water towards the dining and reception area.

 

 

We really liked it!

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TonyQ

And a few pictures from walking in the garden.

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kittykat23uk

That place looks familiar ;)

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Sangeeta

And now these macros too :o How on earth do you lot do these things??

 

Yup, looking to change my avatar. Got tired of that one but can't decide what I want.

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Atravelynn

Sepilok Nature Resort looks lovely, especially the resident bats.

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TonyQ

Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC), Sepilok.

This centre is in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and is run by the Forestry Department. It is an environmental education centre and open to tourists. Official opening hours are from 8am until 5pm. However, as we learned from @@kittykat23uk you can walk into the forest at any time. (In our original plans we were going to spend only one night at Sepilok – but the trip report from @@kittykat23uk led us to rethink this and spend two nights – good decision!).

 

So on our first morning at Sepilok we were up at 5.30 – we had arranged with the hotel to book a taxi a 6.00 to take us to the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RM 10, which is about £2).

It takes about 15 minutes – so it is walkable – but we were glad we had a taxi and saved our energy. We arranged with the taxi to pick us up at 9.00.

 

It is very easy to walk into the forest – there is not a gate. Entrance fee is RM15 (£3) which we paid on our way out. You walk past some buildings that include the education centre and into the forest. We had downloaded a map showing the trails from the RDC website

(http://www.forest.sabah.gov.my/rdc/index.html ) - they give you a copy when you buy a ticket.

 

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Looking back towards the education centre

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Forest in early morning mist

In addition to the forest trails, there are also some canopy walkways (about 25m above the ground) and three towers which are probably twice this height.

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It was a lovely place to be as the forest woke up, with increasing noise from insects and birds as the light got stronger. We saw some distant Rhinoceros Hornbills with huge red and yellow beaks.There were very few people as we wondered about.

 

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Fruit on vine

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Wallace’s Hawk Eagle at kill (seen from one of the towers)

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Canopy walkway as seen from tower

 

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TonyQ

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Amazing cauiflory fruit (but I don’t know what sort)

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Prevost’s Squirrel

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Bushy Crested Hornbill

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Asian Black Hornbill

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TonyQ

We loved being in the forest. If you were a proper birdwatcher who knew what you were doing, I am sure you would see many more birds (as @@kittykat23uk showed in her trip report!).

 

As we passed the education centre, there were many excited children visiting. We met our taxi and returned to the hotel for a good breakfast, and visited the Sunbear centre (which I will discuss later).

 

After a very good lunch and a rest, we set out again in the afternoon to go back to the RDC (your ticket lasts all day). We had to go and find a taxi (and it cost RM15 when we negotiated it ourselves!). We walked along different trails, seeing a pygmy squirrel and then some Rhinoceros Hornbills in flight. We were then thrilled to see

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Diard’s Trogon

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Slender Billed Crow

 

We carried on wandering along trails and walkways, just loving being there. We aimed to be near a particular tower as the sun was setting as MrsQ had found out that a flying squirrel regularly flies from here. A short time after we arrived, a tourist arrived with a guide (a good sign). The guide immediately saw the squirrel up in the tree (helpful for us).

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Red Giant Flying Squirrel (not flying!)

 

We waited quite a while, but two Wallaces’ Hawk Eagles were waiting also, so the squirrel chose not to fly. We left as it was getting dark and relied on torch light to get back to the gate where we had arranged to meet our taxi (7pm). If you go to Sepilok, we recommend that you go to the RDC.

 

Back to the hotel for a shower, a very good dinner and a cold (Tiger) beer.

Edited by TonyQ
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