Borneo, just as you imagine, jungles and brown swollen rivers. Little villages and exotic wildlife, but also modern cities and roads better maintained than those at home!
We have spent 10 days in Kuching, due to flight connections, but we have done lots, met lots of people and its been nice to take things slowly.
We were lucky again to have the chance to see the 'worlds biggest flower' the rafflessia, in bloom. We caught the bus to a town 2 hours from Kuching called Lundu and walked 30mins to the national park. The route to the national park was also the road to a school and at the time we were walking school had just finished. The kids were such in awe to see us in their little town, some stared, some giggled to each other and those who had the courage said hello or good morning, most were pretty shy though. Then riding down the road came this teenage boy who went past and said "wazz up!!". Those who know what im talking about, made famous by the budwiser ad and scary movie 1, it was really funny and so unexpected, it just proves teenagers are the same where ever you are! Even in the jungle. It was funny a guy we were talking to the other day said he went to Hong Kong and someone asked him if they still lived in trees in Borneo and he said 'yeah, but now we catch the elevator up'
Anyways, we saw the flower, it wasnt as big as we thought but still pretty cool and we walked to some waterfalls which were nice. We stayed the night in Lundu which was also nice to get out of the 'tourist belt'. The next day we caught the 'local' bus to a place called Bau. The bus did a top speed of 40kms an hour, it was fun though to be on the bus with all the locals going to town.
We went to Bau to see Wind Cave and Fairy Cave. The bus dropped us off at the corner and we just had to walk about 600m to the cave. Wind Cave was pretty big, probably the biggest cave i have been in and there was a boardwalk through all of it. It took us about an hour to explore so that was pretty cool. From Wind Cave to Fairy Cave it was 6km so as the tourist information centre recommended we hitchhiked. We got picked up by a local, who told us the story about Fairy Cave so that was pretty cool. His ancestors thought that anyone who went into the cave got turned into stone because there are all these rocks that look like humans. Fairy cave was pretty big too, you walk up a whole lot of stairs into the cave which is in the side of a mountain. It wasnt as well maintained inside, the boardwalk was all falling apart. But it was still good to see.
On Saturday we got up early and caught the bus to the Orangatang sanctuary, which i recommend to go to for anyone going to Kuching. It was awesome. Firstly it was only 3 Ringgit each to get in to, compared to the one in Sabah (north Borneo) which is 30 Ringgit each. They have 23 monkeys that are semi wild (rehabilitated) that sometimes come to the sanctuary for a free feed. We got there at about 8.40am and a mother and baby and a 5 year old had just arrived for feeding time. We watched them for about 15 minutes, the young one was showing off and we got lots of good photos. Where they come to wasnt the actual feeding area and at 9.00am which was feeding time everyone went off to the 'feeding area' to see if other monkeys would arrive. We decided just to stay where the mother and baby were. After everyone left another mother and baby arrived and we were watching them too then all of a sudden trees in the distance started moving and bending and there appeared the dominant male orangatang, Richie. He was massive! I could not believe that a monkey could be that big. I would not want to run into one of them in the wild! Richie wasnt interested in eating tho, he was interested in the female monkeys and chased them around for a while, but none of them wanted a barr of him. It was so awesome to see and one of the best things i have seen so far.
Just to any fellow travellers reading this, it wasnt as easy to catch the bus back from the sanctuary. Apparently it is a bus that just arrives when it arrives, if ever! We ended up hitchhiking back to Kuching, which was pretty easy to get a ride.
On Sunday we went with another couple to Bako National Park which is a 40 minute bus ride and 30 minute boat ride from Kuching. We went to Bako to see the Probiscus Monkey which is the monkey with the funny big nose. They come out to feed during low tide, so you can see them most days. We were lucky because the day before we left it poured rain and the day we left it poured rain and they wouldnt of come out. It was hard to get a photo of them cos they were up in the trees but it was cool we saw them. At Bako we just did a couple of hikes, to some beaches and a waterfall, we only stayed 2 days so we didnt have that much time. You can also see the green pit viper there, who according to some french people we met had been living in a tree near park headquarters 'making luv' (said in a french accent) for the last few weeks, but we didnt see them.
We were due to leave Bako at about 3.30pm and at about 2.00pm it started pouring rain and we were still on a hike and we got drenched. It actually got quite cold and we were wet and then we had to catch the boat back in the rain as well. Ive been saying for weeks i just want to be cold again, but i take that back! its lucky we didnt all end up with hypothermia.
We are off tomorrow to Mulu National Park in the middle of Borneo. It is a national park that you can only fly into, or take a series of boat rides to. We will be there until next Wednesday (18th) and im doubting there will be internet, so if you dont hear from us for a while thats where we are. We are planning on doing a trek to a place called the pinnacles so that will be cool. We will write when we get back :)