8 Quick Tips About Borneo

8 Quick Tips About Borneo

8 Quick Tips About Borneo

29
May, 2017

What Makes Borneo Special?

Here are 8 Quick Tips About Borneo that makes it a special place to visit:

1. This island comes in a great size.

Borneo is the third largest island in the world, behind New Guinea and Greenland. The island has an area of 748, 168 km² which is double the size of Germany! 

8 quick tips about borneo

2. And it is tall too!

Borneo is home to Malaysia’s first UNESCO world heritage site Mount Kinabalu Park. Inside the park boast the tallest mountain (Mount Kinabalu) between the Himalayas and New Guinea at 4,095 m above sea level.

 

8 quick tips about borneo

3. Do you like history? We have history…

The rainforest in Borneo rainforest has an estimated age of 130 million years, making it one of the oldest rainforest in the world. WOW….. 

8 quick tips about borneo

4. Wanna find something different?

Borneo is home to 44 endemic species mammals (meaning they are not found anywhere else in the world), 37 endemic species birds, 6,000 endemic species of plants, and 19 endemic species of amphibians and fish. Not to mention the rafflesia which is the world’s largest species of flower.  

8 quick tips about borneo

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5. Meet cool people

The island has more than 40 ethnic groups on Borneo, speaking 65 languages or dialects which make it one of the most diversely populated areas in the world!  

8 quick tips about borneo

6. Discover something new

During the last 10 years, 360 new species have been found in Borneo. Sir Alfred Russel Wallace who was the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution spent 1854 – 1855 here while developing the theory.  

8 quick tips about borneo

7. What is Borneo?

Borneo isn’t a country, in fact it’s the only island in the world divided between 3 different countries ;– Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia.  

8 quick tips about borneo

8. Lots of space to explore.

Borneo has a population of 18.59 million which makes it relatively unpopulated compared to most of other parts of asia. 

8 quick tips about borneo

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Trip to Kinabatangan River

Trip to Kinabatangan River

Trip to Kinabatangan River

05

May, 2017

“Sabah Borneo is well known for its beautiful nature and wildlife that is still protected and undisturbed.”

Trip to Kinabatangan river

Yes! living in Sabah, Borneo, as my hometown is a privilege for myself and every local people that live here should also feel the same.

My life as a nature tour guide was never a burden or boring for me. In fact, it made me fall in love with God’s Nature and wildlife that comes in different type, size, sound, and shape. Every single day of my life I go for touring and of course, I am proud introducing my own heritage to the tourist that come from all around the world that puts Sabah, Borneo, on their bucket list as a place that they MUST VISIT!

There are so many places I’ve been in Sabah, but one place incomparable to the rest is Kinabatangan River which is the longest river in Sabah;- 560 kilometers in length. Why? Reason being, this is the best place to have such a great escape from a busy life and stressful work. Along Kinabatangan River, you can see beautiful lodges to stay and to calm your mind away from cities and problems! You might choose any resorts or lodges, or even bed & breakfast to stay, depending on your budget or demands. It is up to you as all the lodges along this river do the same activities and program!

Talk about the cruise? Yes . It’s such a fun relaxing excursion cruising in our little amazon. Hahaha.. I always get fascinated even when I’ve been doing this cruise every single day, learning each day on how the wildlife lives in their own habitat. I mean for real! They have to find their own food, shelter to sleep and avoid from being hunted by predators, and it’s totally different with the animals that you see locked in cages at the zoo or sanctuary. 

Trip to Kinabatangan river
Trip to Kinabatangan river

I just love the sound of the Proboscis Monkeys jumping from one tree to another, with the smell of the Borneo Pygmy Elephants popoh which was a good possibility the elephants are coming out and when it does come out… Booyah! Everybody’s super happy with a big smile on their faces and yeah! It’s like a party fever in the river, all boats from different lodges will speed up their boat ride and come to the area where the Pygmy Elephants are as it’s one of the highlights of Kinabatangan River to see them in the Wild.

Trip to Kinabatangan river
Trip to Kinabatangan river
Trip to Kinabatangan river

Not only that, different types of monkeys such as Silver Langurs, Macaques, Crocodiles, and birds, can also be found along this river. In other words, all you want to see, you might see it here!

Trip to Kinabatangan river

When you’re surrounded by nature, you will definitely have the feeling to explore it by doing the Jungle Trekking activity! Don’t ever miss it! It’s normally done in the morning at the oxbow Lake. It’s a beginner’s trek, so no worries to the first timers! The trek takes around two hours in which you will have the chance to see Orang Utans up on the trees in their nests, but most of all, you’ll gain knowledge on Borneo plant species and trees along the way to the jetty. Touchdown! It’s paid off your efforts to reach to this jetty as its time to enjoy the natural Borneo fish massage at the river while enjoying the calming nature and experience that you will never get anywhere else.

What else is interesting apart from the wildlife and nature? For sure it’s the culture of the villagers that live there which is mostly the riverine people. During your free time in the afternoon, it’s the perfect time to go for a walk around the villages and see the houses built on stilts. Sometimes you will have the chance to go inside of the house that belongs to the villagers there and witness their daily routine.

Trip to Kinabatangan river

Being a nature lover, at the same time share it with my guests, is such a great opportunity as it makes me appreciate more of what we have in our own place and share priceless information that will open up the eyes of every guest that come a million miles away to visit Borneo and catch their attention on the importance of protecting and preserving animals and nature. Besides, I always tell each of my guests that if they are looking for a perfect gateway, this is the best place for relaxation and they’ll definitely have such an unforgettable memory to bring home!  What else is there to it? Start planning and put this on your list!

You can join our Kinabatangan River Safari to experience it yourself! Click here for more information.

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Mari-Mari Cultural Village Trip

Mari-Mari Cultural Village Trip

Mari Mari Cultural Village Trip

25

April, 2017

“Kota Kinabalu is famous all over the world for its rich cultural heritage”

 

This is a phrase I’ve been telling my clients many times but sadly, I myself have never been to visit or experience my own heritage. So one day, I decided to join a trip with my guests and visit one of the famous places in Kota Kinabalu where I can know more about our own unique Sabahan culture and ethnicity, and honestly I was quite excited I was finally visiting Mari – Mari Cultural Village.

Mari Mari Cultural Village Trip
Mari Mari Cultural Village Trip

We drove from Kota Kinabalu City with my three other guests name Victoria, Gemma, and Kelly, for about 30-40 minutes to Mari – Mari Cultural Village. We finally reached Mari Mari Cultural Village located deep in the countryside, away from the modern and developing Kota Kinabalu city.

As we were reaching, I could see the amount of tourist and local people coming to visit Mari – Mari Cultural Village as well. It was a total shocker for me as I never imagined it to be so packed with people of all ages. At the counter, we were greeted by the friendly in – house guides and we were split into smaller groups of four. Our guide, known as Nursey, was our cultural guide for that day.

We made our way to the hanging bridge above a beautiful small flowing river, which I managed to get a great panoramic view of the landscape. As we walked by, we stopped at the first house of the biggest tribe in Sabah;- the Kadazan tribe. The house was made from rattan and bamboo materials with a river flowing behind it;- my guests and I felt like we were transported back in time. Our guide was very informative whilst bringing us into the Kadazan ethnic house, and showing us how the Kadazan tribe lived and their daily routine life. I was quite surprised seeing the bed layouts of how families lived back in the day;- for a single lady, she will have to sleep above the parent’s bed. So every night, the single lady will climb up a rattan staircase that she later removes so nobody can go up, for added security.

Mari Mari Cultural Village Trip
Mari Mari Cultural Village Trip
Mari Mari Cultural Village Trip
Mari Mari Cultural Village Trip

We were given demostration in making the rice wine or in Kadazan language, it’s called as ‘’Tapai’. Like other guests, I tried the rice wine as well with my other three guests. We took a selfie before we took the shot. HAHAHAHA! Totally insane! The taste was different than other alcohol that I have tried, and a good experience to have too!

Then, we continued our journey to other tribe houses, all different than the other. What really caught my attention was the Lundayeh house. We were all told to stand in one line and before us, was a man in Lundayeh’s full attire, creepily staring at us from head to toe. The said man spoke to the person in front of the line (he was a Japanese tourist) who basically didn’t understood a word he said.

So our guide translated it for us, he was asking questions like,

Who are you?”,

Why are you here?”.

Our guide told him that we came for a visit, in which he responded,

Can you take care of your people?”,

Ay ay” said our guide which meant yes in their dialect.

We were finally given permission to get into the Lundayeh house and while making our way into the house, we got the shock of our lives;- a really small and old Lundayeh lady was at the side of the door giving her blessings to all of us while we made our entry! I didn’t even realize she was there until I was close by! She seemed like a high priestess as I got closer to her, and I thought to myself, being that old, she might know some ancient magic!

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Once we were done visiting all the tribe houses in Mari – Mari Cultural Village, we were entertained by several tribal dances which attracted my attention;- they were using bamboo sticks! This dance is called Magunatip dance. The dance was so enthralling and fun, they also wore different traditional attires, representing different ethnicities here in Sabah. It really made me realize how beautiful our culture is, and how we should all preserve it before it gets extinct.

Lunch you ask? I assumed it was going to be a simple lunch, but I was wrong. It was a huge buffet spread dude!! HAHAHA! We were super excited when we saw the spread because we were starving by the time the tour ended. We ate loads! There were so many different delicacies found and I was excited to find my favorite BBQ Chicken with spicy sauce there. DELICIOUS!! HAHAHA (yes, I get excited when it comes to food).

After lunch, we took the opportunity to take more photos before we left. My guests and I really enjoyed ourselves on this trip. The great hospitality of the in-house guide and how well informed they were of the tribes here in Sabah, Borneo, made the experience and money spent totally worth it! Can’t wait to visit Mari – Mari Cultural Village if I have the opportunity again.

If you are interested in day tour in Sabah, then, Mari-Mari Cultural Village is a place you should go to! Check out our tour for more information, click here.

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Travel Guide to Sandakan

Travel Guide to Sandakan

Travel Guide

to Sandakan

07

April, 2017

Don’t have any idea where to go in Sandakan? Some guides for you to make your Sandakan trip exciting!

Sandakan, the second largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu, is located on the northeast coast of Borneo. Sandakan was the former capital of British North Borneo until 1946, due to its busy port with visiting traders from around the world. Sandakan town has a history that is very important to the Australians and British for its infamous Death Marches which commenced here in 1945 during World War II (WWII). After WWII, the capital moved to Jesselton ( now Kota Kinabalu).

Not only does Sandakan hold precious history to the Australians and British, it also serves as the gateway to Sabah’s best ecotourism destinations for travelers. Read here for more information on Sandakan. In this blog post, we will share some of the attractions around Sandakan and food to try.

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

Sandakan is so worth visiting for its proximity to some of Borneo’s most accessible wildlife attractions. Just over 30 minutes drive from Sandakan town, Sepilok is one of the main attractions in Sandakan. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is the place that travelers should go to watch Orangutan up close in their natural habitat. Beside to it, travelers can go to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Just nearby to Sepilok, Rainforest Discovery Centre is also worth a visit by travelers when in Sandakan, as it offers jungle trails and magnificent canopy walk for travelers to get intimate with nature, as well as get in some birdwatching activities.

In addition, travelers can go to the Turtle Island Park for a rare experience to watch turtle nesting and laying eggs, as well as witness turtle conservation at work. Travelers can check out our tour information on Turtle Island Borneo Conservation Project for booking. Other places of interest in Sandakan which can be visited by travelers would be the Sandakan Crocodile Farm which is located at Labuk Road and have over 3000 reptiles. If travelers want a chance to see the big-nosed Proboscis Monkey, then Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is the place travelers should visit on a combo day trip tour.

For more wildlife destinations, travelers should head to Kinabatangan River – Sukau and Bilit for more Proboscis Monkey sightings or head to Gomantong Caves to see how the edible bird nests are harvested. Travelers can also continue overland and south of Sandakan to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and Danum Valley. Our company does provide these tours for travelers to get the chance for a wildlife adventure in Borneo.

 

Sandakan was the major port for early settlers to Sabah. It is nicknamed as “Little Hong Kong” due to many Chinese settlers coming from Canton to Sandakan. Thus, this is the reason that until today the Chinese people in Sandakan have a stronger Hong Kong – Cantonese accent compared to other parts of Malaysia. A spillover effect of this, one of the places of interest in Sandakan is Puu Jih Shih Chinese temple, built for the Chinese people in Sandakan, a majestic temple definitely built to awe as it faces the Sandakan Bay.

Another must-visit attraction is the Sam Sing Kung Temple – the oldest temple in Sandakan that was built by the four main Chinese communities in Sandakan, namely Hakka, Cantonese, Hainanese, and Teochew.

Travel Guide to Sandakan
Travel Guide to Sandakan

Sandakan also was known as Sabah’s most historic town, has many other places of interest, which travelers can go through while doing the Sandakan Heritage Trail which covers the historical points of interest and sights around the city. The walk can take about 2 hours or more, and it commences at the 100-year old Masjid Jamik, then to the Pryer Monument –  a granite structure erected to honor the founder of Sandakan, William B. Pryer.

Travelers can climb up to the Stairs with Hundred Steps which will lead you to see a panoramic view of Sandakan town and bay. Along to that, travelers can also visit the Agnes Keith House – which used to be the home of the famous American writer who penned “Land Below The Wind” in 1939, and next to it is the English Tea House and Restaurant. Travelers will have the option to have refreshment and enjoy the view overlooking the town.

Next stop, travelers can go to the remains of an old staircase, that was once a part of the Chinese Consulate before the war. Visit the Goddess of Mercy Chinese Temple, which was built in the 1880s. Then, continue the journey reaching the St Michael and All Angels Cathedral, which was erected in the late 19th century and one of the oldest stone buildings in Sabah. The Sandakan Heritage Trail ends when travelers pass the Malaysia Fountain and can see the Harrisons Trading Building and two oldest banks in town, HSBC and Standard Chartered.

When in Sandakan, trying out Sandakan food should not be missed! Since Sandakan is located next to the sea, seafood in this town are so much fresher, and it makes up the town’s favorite and popular eats. Drop by to Sim Sim Water Village (Bridge no.7) to try out the tasty springy noodle, served with dim sums, century egg dumplings, and curry laksa. Travelers also can try grilled fresh fish at Pasar Sim Sim, served with amazing home-made sambal chili. Moreover, travelers should stop by at Nam Chai Restaurant for the famous seafood Bak Kut Teh or travelers can eat more fresh seafood at the 1Malaysia Steamboat Restaurant located at Trig Hill for only RM30.00 per person.

Travelers can drop by at Pasar Kim Fung located at Mile 4 for a quick delicious bite, available for dinner or supper too! Another do-not-miss food item is the Sandakan famous UFO tarts – a thin butter sponge cake as the base, top with a meringue enclosing a yellow center of eggy custard, which is so yummy to eat with a cup of hot tea/coffee and can be found in any Chinese bakeries in Sandakan.

Travel Guides to Sandakan

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Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount

Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

22

March, 2017

Mount Kinabalu and other mountain trekking tours are the ones you should not miss during your trip to Borneo Sabah! To summit Mount Kinabalu, you will need to hike for two days and early reservation is required in order to reserve a spot. Since Mount Kinabalu is famous for it being the highest mountain on the island of Borneo, it has become one of the main reason for travelers to visit Sabah. However, if you are planning to hike Mount Kinabalu at the last minute, expect those chances to be slim as climbing spots are very hard to come by. Not only that, you will need to pay the expensive price of a last minute Mount Kinabalu tour. And well, that would be a bummer now wouldn’t it?

Fret not, as Borneo island has so much more to offer for avid mountaineers and adventure seekers who plan to do hiking and jungle trekking. Here we give few suggestions of places that can be an alternative to Mount Kinabalu for your mountain trekking desires.

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

1. Kawang Forest Reserve Jungle Papar, Sabah

If you are an adventurous nature lover, then Kawang Forest Reserve is a must to try out for trekking expeditions. This is one of the alternative adventure places for you to go, if you missed the chance to experience Mount Kinabalu Jungle trekking adventure. Kawang Forest Reserve is also an excellent spot for camping and other recreational activities. Whilst engaging in the activities, you will get to experience a peaceful, natural and beautiful Borneo rainforest adventure just outside of Kota Kinabalu city. Moreover, you will get the chance to acquire survival skills and some introduction to the Borneo wildlife in the Kawang Forest.

Top Peak Travel provides several tour options to Kawang Forest Reserve in order to quench your thirst for adventures! We offer two types of tour for your convenience, you can choose either Kawang Borneo Trekking Day trip or 3 days 2 nights Kawang Rainforest Adventure.

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

2. Salt Trail Crocker Range, Sabah

On the island of Borneo, it’s obvious attraction is the dense rainforest jungle and nothing can compete with the experience of spending a few days in the jungle. Salt trail Crocker Range can be an alternative for you to go for an adventure as well as to hike across the Crocker Mountains. The Salt trails also have a more historical significance on the island of Borneo, due to its function as a trade route for remote villagers to barter their local-made products to the outside world for items that they require.

The salt trail requires about 4 days to complete. During which, you will get the chance to get close to nature, going through trees and grass covered high-lying peaks, low-lying areas with muddy paths, dense jungle, several river crossings and some local hospitality. Here you can really get a taste of the authentic feel of nature in Borneo. Rumor has it, if you are lucky, you might even encounter wildlife there too!

If you or your group are interested in doing the Salt Trail Crocker Range expedition, contact us or email us directly and we would love to arrange it for you.

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

3. Long Pasia Sipitang, Sabah

Another alternative to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo, would be Long Pasia in Sabah. Long Pasia is located in the south-western part of Sabah, adjacent to the border of Sarawak and Kalimantan. With an altitude of 1,000m above sea level, unknown to many, Long Pasia is teeming with hidden gems of the natural and historical heritage of the heart of Borneo. Moreover, Long Pasia is where you can also experience an exciting adventure whilst immersing yourself in the age old culture of the Lundayeh people.

Going through the Long Pasia Trekking expedition in Sabah, there would be no resorts or hotels. Instead what you will get is an authentic home stay experience where you will live with a family or a host. Undoubtedly it will be a tough journey to reach the isolated villages but what you get is a rewarding experience with the rich abundance of nature – the untouched mountains, rivers, jungles, waterfalls, caves to explore and a great wildlife viewing. You will be in good hands as there will be a guide with you throughout your journey ensuring that you experience nature at its best and purest.

You should definitely put Long Pasia on you must visit list when you are in Borneo . We offer Long Pasia tours if you are interested to experience the adventure trip of your lifetime. Click here for more information on the tour.

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

4. Headhunter’s Trail Mulu, Sarawak

Headhunter’s trail is a great way of entering or leaving Gunung Mulu National Park, and it is considered one of the most worthwhile trips in Mulu area, as you will gain the ultimate adventure at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Headhunter’s trail tour will combine a visit to the main caves, jungle walks, climb the limestone Pinnacles, staying in a longhouse and hopping on the beautiful longboat journey to leave from Gunung Mulu National Park. Thus, you will get the chance to experience caving in the largest cave chamber and most extensive cave systems in the world – which is the Deer Cave and Clearwater Cave. Along the Headhunter’s trail, you will see the fascinating array of flora and fauna, with excellent introduction provided by the guide.

If you are interested to be amazed on this adventurous trip as an alternative to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo, you can check out our website for more information on Borneo Headhunter’s Trail.

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

5. Walk with Penan Tribe, Sarawak

Apart from immersing yourself in the nature and wildlife of Borneo Island, spending time with the people is also a great way for you to gain the experience of your lifetime. Penan tribe is a small ethnic group of Borneo, which are still living their traditional nomadic hunter – gatherer existence in Sarawak. Thus, living with the Penans is such an amazing experience as they are in tune with their natural habitat, being the last of the true hunter-gatherers and are noted for their practice of ‘molong’, which means never take more than necessary.

You will have the chance to spend time with the Penan people, live their daily lives and have meals together with them, as well as exploring the rainforest, all with Top Peak’s Borneo holiday tour packages. One important thing for travelers to know is jungle trekking with the Penans is so incredible as they really know the jungle inside out, they can navigate the rainforest with their eyes closed, find the ripest fruit in the jungle and slice it open for you, bringing you to the most beautiful places. Thus, this tour would have no set routes to trek, unlike in the National Parks, so the guides will just cut a way through the jungle for you to discover the rainforest of Borneo in its purest form.

 

“Only one who wanders find new paths.”
― Norwegian Proverb

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