Superstitions to be aware of in Sabah Borneo

Superstitions to be aware of in Sabah Borneo

Superstitions need to be aware of in Sabah Borneo

13

December, 2017

Our Kota Kinabalu Tour!

KK city tour

TARP island hopping

North Borneo Cruise

Almost every culture in the world has their own set of rituals, behaviors or beliefs that were set by their own ancestor and some of it requires the need to follow or act out. In addition, these superstitions sometimes refer to any belief or practices surrounding luck, prophecy, and certain spiritual being, particularly the belief of future events which can be foretold through unrelated events. Some people may think superstitions is kind of irrational with the current modernization, but to some, they still practice it until today.

In Borneo Island, superstitions are deeply rooted in the cultures here in Borneo, and some are still widely practiced by the older generations especially. Borneo Island is the third largest island in the world (after Greenland and New Guinea), and it is the largest island in Asia too! Mount Kinabalu is situated in Sabah Borneo, is the highest point in Borneo Island, with an elevation of 4,095m. Still wondering where is Borneo? Click here to see the Borneo map.

The superstitions in Borneo Island, especially Sabah Borneo, were mostly handed down generations by way of Oral Tradition, such superstitions mostly concern on bringing good or bad luck. In addition, the superstitions in Sabah Borneo can be different from generation to generation or places to places, due to the reason of different ethnicity residing in different locations. For travelers who are interested in learning about the cultures here in Sabah Borneo, this is the article for you!

Here are some of the superstitions that you need to be aware of while traveling to Sabah Borneo.

1) Respecting Mount Kinabalu

Going to climb Mount Kinabalu can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience in one’s life. Apart from that, the locals in Sabah Borneo, especially the Kadazandusun tribe, believe that Mount Kinabalu is sacred to them as it is the “the revered place of the dead”. Feel free to read here to know more about “The Legends of Mount Kinabalu“.

Mount Kinabalu climb

Mount Kinabalu summit trail

So, whoever plans to climb Mount Kinabalu, especially for first-timers, these are the things that they need to know beforehand:

  • One should not shout, curse, or make loud noises while climbing Mount Kinabalu, as to avoid bad spirits from disturbing them or whoever is climbing with them.
  • Do not pluck any plants or pick a stone from the mountain and bring it back home; locals believe (and still do!) that some plants or natural objects have “residents” in them. Taking them with you will only aggravate them and cause them to retaliate
  • Ask for permission before peeing or throwing your empty canisters; you’ll never know if the place you’re throwing has spirits roaming around there or whether it’s their home you’re invading

2) Hunting in Borneo Jungle 

Superstitions Sabah Borneo

Wild Boar hunting. Photo by: Kenneth Sorento

In the olden days, it is believed that when a man is going for hunting in Borneo Jungle for food, he will need to be very careful when having spotted a snake. This is because if the man meets a snake along his path, he will need to turn back home. Moreover, meeting a snake is a bad sign, and if the man continues further to hunt, he will not catch anything or worse, get hurt.

3) Sogit 

Superstitions Sabah Borneo

Sogit can be in form of livestock, agricultural produce such as tajau or gongs. Photo by: Rabani HM. Ayub

Superstitions Sabah Borneo

Kadazandusun ritual by a group ofg Bobohizan or Shaman to appease the mountain spirit. Photo by: Arkitrek.com

Sogit is a Kadazandusun term which means penalty or fine, it is also considered as “peace-offering”. Imposing a Sogit depends on what kind of mistake that particular individual did, such as fighting, indecent acts, and so forth. In addition, Sogit is usually in form of livestock, agricultural produce, or items such as knives, machetes, tajau (crock), or gongs. The Sogit is dependant on how serious the individual’s offense is; the heavier the offence, the heavier or bigger the penalty will be. For example, if a man were to marry a woman who is of far relations to them (3rd cousin from either parent’s side), they will need to cut a whole pig and offer the whole village a portion of the cooked pork as compensation as well as to wash away all the bad luck that might hit them in the future (both future bride and groom cannot eat the pork however).

In 2015, there was an Earthquake in Sabah Borneo, which caused death to 18 innocent people. The locals believed that this event was caused by the indecent behaviors of a group of tourists, which angered the mountain spirits (the tourist undressed and were butt naked on the Summit; indecency overkill). The locals were enraged and believed it was the spirits being angry when the earthquake happened. The tourists were caught and was imposed with Sogit, in which the tourists have to pay 10 heads of Buffalo, in order to appease the mountain spirits for their awful behavior.

4) Funeral 

Kadazandusun tribe believed that when someone died in a certain village, everyone must be informed. Thus, nobody should do any kind of work on the day of the funeral (eg: planting rice). They believed that doing any work during this occasion will bring misfortune and disrespect to the deceased. Apart from that, the body will be placed in the house for 3 days before the burial and the occupants in the house must stay awake to accompany the body because they believed that a devil which disguise in form of a large bird will fly away with the body. Some also believed that the spirit of the dead is still wandering around the house for the last time, so by keeping awake will show some respect to the dead. Thus, whoever fall asleep will be doused with water and they should not be offended by it.

Moreover, no cats are not allowed to be near to the dead body. This is to prevent the cats to jump over the body, which Kadazandusun believed that the dead body will awaken but obviously possessed by an evil spirit.

5) Moths/ Butterfly fly into the house 

Superstitions Sabah Borneo

Huge moth outside the house. Photo by: the longerthebetter

Some locals in Sabah Borneo believed that when a big moth flies into the house in the middle of the night, it is actually a spirit of their recently departed relatives coming for a visit. The old folks will advise not to chase the moth out from the house or kill it, as a way to respect their departed relatives’ spirit.

Apart from that, the locals also believed that when moths/ butterflies came flying into the house during the day, it means the house owner will be expecting guests, either from a long-lost relatives or friends, coming to the house.

6) Tapun  

For Kadazandusun people, the concept Tapun is basically about food and it is still practiced until now. There is no easy word to describe the word Tapun, but it is the locals’ way of saying this word when they could not eat some food that they thought about or when offered by others. By saying the word Tapun, they can avoid any harm when going out from the house.

7) Other Superstitious  

There is also a minor superstitious which some Kadazandusun people still believe until today. Such as, whistling at night is prohibited, because it will invite the devil in a form of a snake to come. Apart from that, children are not allowed to point the rainbows using their fingers, because if they do, their fingers will be bent and become stiff.

Picnic by the river in Borneo Jungle can be so much fun and excitement, however, Kadazandusun people believed that some of the food must be “shared” with the guardians of the place before they eat, in order to avoid getting sick when they return home.

Such superstitions among Kadazandusun tribe in Sabah Borneo is not all that bad, but it is best to have some of the knowledge of the superstitious and do respect it. Moreover, it would make your trip to Sabah Borneo much more interesting after knowing some of the superstitious, and it can be a good story to share with your family and friends back in your hometown! 

Get to know more about Kadazan tribe, one of the major tribe in Sabah Borneo, here in our other blog post!

KotaKinabaluTravelGuide

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.

Things to do in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo – Jesselton Artisan Market

Things to do in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo – Jesselton Artisan Market

Things to do in Kota Kinabalu,

Sabah Borneo – Jesselton Artisan Market

29

November, 2017

Our Kota Kinabalu Tour!

Mari Mari Cultural Village

 

Taste of Borneo Cooking Class

Jesselton Artisan Market

A trip to Sabah Borneo will grant any of us (as travelers) a promise to experience the wildest adventure in our life by going for a trekking expedition to Borneo Rainforest or spot some wildlife that is endemic in Sabah Borneo. Our Sabah Borneo Holiday will begin in the capital city of Sabah Borneo, which is Kota Kinabalu City. Kota Kinabalu City was formerly known as Jesselton City and is located on the northwest coast of Borneo, facing the South China Sea. Some might think staying in Kota Kinabalu City can be tedious, but with its own modern hip vibe, well-developed infrastructures, delicate taste of local food, breathtaking sunset view, its diverse local culture, the exquisite locals’ handmade of arts and craft, eventually will make us fall in love with Kota Kinabalu City in a day. Some might consider on extending their holiday just to explore more of the charms of Kota Kinabalu City.

One of the activity that we should not miss out to do in Kota Kinabalu City, is a chance to visit the Jesselton Artisan Market. Jesselton Artisan Market is an inspiring arts and craft bazaar, which showcases the locals’ own skilled and handmade of decorative arts, jewelry, clothing, home decorations, furniture and more interesting stuff that might amaze us. Moreover, there will be food stalls, food trucks, mini handcraft workshops, and class sessions by the artisan itself will be held during the bazaar.

A visit to Jesselton Artisan Market for a day will never make anyone feel bored. I have gone to many Arts and Craft Bazaar before, but I always end up feeling bored after spending about half an hour there. Unlike Jesselton Artisan Market, I can literally spend half a day walking around there! My last visit to Jesselton Artisan Market was on 7th October 2017 and I can say that there was never a dull moment! I was in awe to see some of the creative handmade arts and crafts, as well as listening to the music performance by the local bands/artists.

Jesselton Artisan Market is a new event in 2017 and organized by Salt X Paper. In addition, the Jesselton Artisan Market sometimes collaborate with other creative groups (such as Doodle Malaysia, Inktober Malaysia, etc) for this event.

Let me share with you some of the interesting things that can be expected in Jesselton Artisan Market:

Jesselton Artisan Market

Handmade coin purse and pieces of jewelry by The Pink Dinosaur

Jesselton Artisan Market

Handmade jewelry and crafts by iCare Crafts

Jesselton Artisan Market

Aren’t these cute cupcakes? But these are not edible cupcakes, these are handmade soaps!

Jesselton Artisan Market

Travel quote postcards

Jesselton Artisan Market

Woven Rattan of Sabah Borneo Mini Bag

Jesselton Artisan Market

“ I solemnly swear that I am up to no good”…
A wood engraving of Marauder’s map from the movie of Harry Potter by YBcuts

Jesselton Artisan Market

A drawing of Malaysian favorite desserts, ABC or shaved ice

Jesselton Artisan Market

“Colourful drawing of Mount Kinabalu as a postcard

Jesselton Artisan Market

Pick your favorite characters of lego keychain

Jesselton Artisan Market

Handmade metal necklaces based on Borneo motives by Pogunsavat Craftwork

Jesselton Artisan Market

Aww…so cute the watercolor drawing of a baby Orangutan…

Jesselton Artisan Market

A hand-drawn mandala on wood by Henna Sapok

Apart from that, handmade arts and crafts are not the only attraction we can see during the Jesselton Artisan Market, there are also some food stalls and food trucks to fill up our hungry tummy. The food itself are creatively designed and the taste are oh-so-delicious! One of the interesting food that I have tasted (and it was my first time too!) during the Jesselton Artisan Market is the beef bacon flavored popsicle (yikes!) by Pops and Pints. They do have other flavors of ice cream, such as strawberry, yogurt, sweet potatoes, and laksa flavor too.

Jesselton Artisan Market

Lime Mint flavor(left) and Beef Bacon flavor Ice Cream (right)

Jesselton Artisan Market

Unicorn Yogurt Ice Cream by Gelato Lab

For this coming Jesselton Artisan Market, it will be held on 2nd-3rd December 2017, this time the organizer will do a Christmas themed event! (yeah!) There will be about 100 local artisan brands selling their original handmade creations, a chance to participate in a sing-along Christmas Carolling, Christmas theme of art installations and displays, as well as a Christmas Charity where we can donate to the poor and needy. Feeling excited? Save the date and see you there!

Missed out on this event? Worry no more, there are other things that we can do in Kota Kinabalu city. Read here for a travel guide to Kota Kinabalu.

KotaKinabaluTravelGuide

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.

Don’t be a Borneo tourist, be a Borneo traveler!

Don’t be a Borneo tourist, be a Borneo traveler!

Don’t be a Borneo tourist,

be a Borneo traveler!

27

November, 2017

Our New Tour Packages!
Discover Borneo Scuba Diving

Danum Valley

seaventures dive rig

Don't be a Borneo Tourist, Be a Borneo Traveler

Borneo, is the third largest island in the world, after Greenland and New Guinea. It is divided into three states, which are Malaysian Borneo (Sabah & Sarawak), Indonesia, and Brunei. In addition, Borneo Island is dominated by one of the oldest tropical rainforests (estimated about 140 million years old), making it home to many rare species of wildlife and plants. Being an island that has an abundance of natural wonders, it is not a surprise that Borneo Island has become one of the favorite holiday destinations for many people from around the globe.

Before visiting Borneo Island, think over your purpose to visit Borneo Island. Are you going for hiking to Mount Kinabalu and see Orangutans in Sandakan? Or are you going to discover and learn the diverse culture in Borneo? If you are only interested to go for popular sightseeing in Borneo island, then you are considered as a Borneo tourist. In contrast, if you are keen to experience the culture and seeking for off-the-beaten-track in Borneo, then you can consider yourself as a Borneo traveler. Both trips provide the clarity and refreshment for your trip to Borneo, but have different ways of travel approach.

So, what makes Borneo tourist and Borneo traveler different from each other?

1) Group/ Solo travel

Don't be a Borneo Tourist, Be a Borneo Traveler

Borneo tourist usually will travel in a group, while, Borneo travelers will travel solo

News flash! If you are traveling in a large group or with families/friends, then you are a Borneo tourist. While, traveling solo or with one other person, you are considered as a Borneo traveler. Traveling in an organized group can be daunting, as you may not have any privacy while traveling, or clashing personalities and self-interests for you to deal with. For example, you want to taste out the delicious noodle that you’ve seen from other travelers posts, but you have to follow the majority’s decision to go to a specific restaurant to eat. In contrast, being a Borneo traveler, you are the BOSS! You can decide where and what you want to eat while traveling in Borneo.

Being a Borneo tourist, you will always travel in your own circle and eventually restrain yourself from asking locals or random person for any piece of informations. While, being a Borneo traveler is fun as it can ‘force’ you to engage conversations with locals, as well as sharing personal experience or hobbies together.

2) Sights/ Attractions in Borneo

 

Don't be a Borneo Tourist, Be a Borneo Traveler

Borneo tourist visit the popular attractions, while, Borneo travelers will go for non-touristy part in Borneo

A Borneo tourist doesn’t go on trips to experience something new or unknown places. They will be very comfortable with a guided tour in Borneo, and simply just stick to places that are popular attractions in Borneo. In addition, if you are a Borneo tourist, you may not get the chance to meet different people or locals except those who you were traveling with. A Borneo traveler will also go to see some of the main attractions in Borneo, but they tend to seek more than the usual attractions in Borneo. They will be looking for more authentic Borneo culture, non-touristy part of destination, as well as to discover local stories that they won’t find in any travel guidebooks. Therefore, a Borneo traveler will know that the locals are the best tour guide to explore some of the off-the-beaten places in Borneo. 

Related article: 5 Off-The-Beaten-Path Destinations in Borneo

3) Food in Borneo

Don't be a Borneo Tourist, Be a Borneo Traveler

Both Borneo tourist and Borneo travelers tasting the local dishes in Borneo

Travel to Borneo will offer you a chance to taste some of the dishes that you won’t taste in your hometown. Apart from that, having taste the food in Borneo will give you an insight of history and cultures in Borneo. Both Borneo tourist and Borneo traveler will go to eat some of the local dishes of Borneo in a local cafe. However, some Borneo tourist will prefer to eat the dishes that are familiar to them. While, some of them who are adventurous enough, they will tend to taste the exotic Borneo dishes once in their life. Meanwhile, a Borneo traveler, seeking to learn more on Borneo’s culture, is always ready to challenge themselves, to step out from their comfort zone, stay at the homestay and try out some of the exotic dishes that are served in the homestay.

Want to know what kind of exotic and traditional dishes offers in Sabah Borneo? Read our blog entry here.

4) Languages in Borneo

Don't be a Borneo Tourist, Be a Borneo Traveler

Borneo tourist will not speak with locals as they will be on a guided tours, while Borneo travelers will ask the locals for directions

Being a Borneo tourist, they will be always in a guided tour, making it hard for them to get the chance to speak with locals and learn some of the local languages in Borneo. While being a Borneo traveler, they are free to go anywhere they want. Therefore, they will need to learn and know at least a few phrases to use to communicate with locals while traveling in Borneo Island. The main language that is spoken in Borneo will be the Malay language. So, learning to say simple things like “Selamat Pagi” (Good Morning), “Terima Kasih” (Thank You),“Di Mana” (Where),“Berapa” (How much), and many more, can make a difference when trying to communicate with locals. Borneo locals tend to feel nervous when a visitor trying to communicate with them because not all of them can speak English very well. Therefore, if any visitor could speak with them in language that they are familiar with, they will feel at ease to converse with them and eventually this will develop into friendship.

Check out this information for you to learn one of the Sabah Borneo’s colloquial terms – “Bah”.

5) Packing Style

Don't be a Borneo Tourist, Be a Borneo Traveler

Borneo tourist will pack a lot of things to travel, while, for Borneo travelers, they chose to pack light

Here’s one quick question for you. Have you ever pack a lot of unnecessary stuff, such as extra clothes, jeans, shoes, electronic gadgets, toiletries, travel guidebooks, and more before coming to Borneo? If your answer is YES, then you are a Borneo tourist. In addition, you should know that not every item in your bag are needed for your trip to Borneo. It’s better to lighten your load by removing some of the unnecessary stuff so that you will feel the ease and flexibility while traveling to Borneo.

When it comes to packing for Borneo travel, a Borneo traveler will pack as light as possible. They would only need to bring their camera and few necessary items for their trip. Apart from that, Borneo traveler will not only pack comfortable clothes, but they will choose the best outfit that can match in any destination. For example, packing practical pants for trekking, hiking, or even walk in the park that suits the climate in Sabah Borneo.

Check out our tips for packing when traveling to Borneo :

6) Buying Souvenirs

Don't be a Borneo Tourist, Be a Borneo Traveler

Borneo tourist will buy souvenirs at the souvenir shop, while, for Borneo travelers, will take small things (eg: entrance ticket) as a memento

A Borneo tourist will be easily drawn to the awe of the local souvenir shops, which some of the souvenirs tend to be overpriced! Although from the outside, you may think that the souvenir shop is the perfect place to find some of the unique items that you can bring home, wait until you see the souvenirs’ price. Moreover, the same souvenirs are often available in other souvenir shops but with a different price. For Borneo travelers, they will be looking for smaller items ( because they want to avoid heavy baggage!), but with great memories to cherish. For example, keeping entrance tickets from Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre or Kinabalu National Park, they will either frame it or stick it into their travel journal. Apart from that, Borneo travelers will choose something that is not more than their budget for souvenirs, knickknack of any sorts such as keychains or seashell bracelets.

After reading this, which one of the categories that you think you fall into? Whichever it is, being in both of the categories will also grant you the chance to enjoy your trip to Borneo. Being a Borneo tourist will also give you a memorable experience that you will not get from anywhere. In addition, it would be a double bonus for you if you can meet an English-speaking local that can provide you with some good advice and tips for your travel in Borneo. Apart from that, don’t stop being a Borneo traveler. Continue to learn more about Borneo culture, develop friendships along the way, as well as seeking some of the off-the-beat destination that can be found in Borneo!

Planning to travel Borneo in 2018? Check out our Travel Hacks to Borneo!

Contact us page CTA

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.

People of Sabah Borneo – Kadazan Tribe

People of Sabah Borneo – Kadazan Tribe

People of Sabah Borneo –

Kadazan Tribe

24

November, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages

Taste of Borneo Cooking Class

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

A group of Kadazan tribe. Photo by: Willbord Sikodol

Kadazan is one of the biggest indigenous ethnic group in Sabah Borneo. They are predominant in West Coast of Sabah Borneo; Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Tuaran, and Ranau.

What is the meaning of “KADAZAN”?

As a Kadazan myself, I never knew the history of the word “Kadazan”. After reading several articles on the internet, I found out there are many theories on the origins of the word “Kadazan”. A former principal of SMK Majakir Papar in 1979, Mr. Richard F. Tunggolou, stated that the word “Kadazan” comes from :

1)  “Kakadazan”, which means “town”, in Tangaa’ dialect due to the reason that Kadazan people mostly live in towns. We need to know that there are several Kadazan dialects predominant to different districts.

2)  Kadazan term was adapted from the word “Kedayan”, which is an ethnic group from Brunei and Labuan. However, there is no valid explanation and it was just an assumption which is in a linguistic way that the word “Kedayan” sounds similar to “Kadazan”.

3)  According to a high priestess or Bobohizan, the true meaning of the term “Kadazan” means ‘the people of the land”.

In short, the Kadazan term means “the people”. Thus, I will be sharing some of the values that are practiced among the Kadazan people.

Paddy Rice as their source of income

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

The tapai will be put in a jar to preserve the taste of the alcohol

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Tapai drinking session

The Kadazan people, originally Borneo headhunters, are the first Borneo people that uses the plow for farming rice and it became as their main source of income. Prior to that, they are known as agriculturalists, where almost all the rice cultivated in Sabah Borneo is grown by them. As a result, they can create the rice into various delicacies and alcoholic drinks through home-brewed fermentation processes. Tapai and Lihing are an example of Kadazan alcoholic drinks that are made from rice.  Therefore, these alcoholic drinks are usually served during any festive season (Kaamatan or Harvest festival), social gatherings and wedding ceremonies.

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Performing ritual by a group of Bobohizan( priestess of Sabah Borneo) during the Kaamatan celebration

Kaamatan or Harvest Festival is the main festival for Kadazan people, making it one of the main highlight of annual celebrations done here in Sabah Borneo. This festival is not only to honor Bambaazon, which is the spirit of rice paddy for the beginning of harvest, but it is also as a thanksgiving to Huminodun, the daughter of Kinoingan (which means God) for sacrificing her life to save her people from famine. Read here to know more about Kaamatan story.

Today, Tadau Kaamatan festival is celebrated with a lot of interesting and fun activities, such as exhibitions of Borneo culture, sports competitions, traditional handmade crafts, food and beverage exhibition, performances by local artists and traditional musical group, as well as the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant.

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

One of the important ritual during the Kadazan wedding, Miohon Pinisi, as a symbol of a reunion of two people

A long time ago, Kadazan culture believed in arranged marriages, as the children in the olden days did not have money or dowry required to get married like today, making them highly dependent towards their parents for choosing a lifetime partner for them. Initially, the parents from the young man side will go visit the family of a prospective bride and discuss to wed their son to the future bride. The parents of the bride will be left to consider the proposition, sometimes they will ask for a picture of their future son-in-law. Most importantly, they will want to know if the young man’s family will be able to come up with the required nopung (which means dowry).

Once the parents of the bride agrees, there will be a second visit in order to arrange the date for engagement and the discussion of the dowry. Some parents of the future bride may ask for a higher price on dowry and bargaining will be expected until reaching to both side’s agreement. I was told by my grandmother that Kadazan women from Penampang are known to have the most expensive dowries! (How lucky I am! Hahaha…)

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

The gongs are beaten by some of the local Kadazan women

When there is a wedding ceremony or any festive seasons, you will have the privilege to witness the Kadazan tribe’s own traditional dance. We called it “Sumazau”, and usually, we will dance with the sound produced by “Magagung” (gong beating), “Bungkau”, “Sompoton” and “Suling” (Flute). The dance consist of a couple of males and females, dressed in beautiful traditional attire, accompanied with the rhythm from the traditional music instruments. However, different districts in Sabah Borneo will have different ways of beating the gong and dance style.

Want to learn the Sumazau dance in Sabah Borneo? Participate in any Harvest Festival or get invited to a Kadazan wedding ceremony!

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Kadazan delicious delicacies. Photo by: Tourism Malaysia

For Kadazan people, the food is basically cooked in a healthy way. Either we boil or grill using a little bit of cooking oil, and use some of the locally available ingredients, such as bamboo shoots, sago, and freshwater fish. One of the famous traditional dishes would be “Hinava”, a raw fish salad that is freshly cut fish into small slices, mix, and marinate with diced red onion, ginger, red chilli, bitter gourd, grated Bambangan seeds and lime juice. Apart from that, there are also Tuhau (wild ginger), Pinasakan ( Braised fish mixed with wild fruit, takob akob, turmeric, and salt), and more. Read here to know more other traditional dishes in Sabah Borneo.

Wherever we travel, understanding one’s culture is what makes the travel worth it. So, when traveling to Sabah Borneo, don’t be surprised to meet few other cultures in Sabah Borneo, as there are about 32 recognizable ethnic groups in Sabah Borneo that you need to discover, and Kadazan is one of it. Isn’t this interesting to know some of the Sabah Borneo cultures? Kadazan culture is definitely the biggest representative culture of Sabah Borneo, the land below the wind.

Travel Health CTA

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.

DERAMAKOT, THE BORNEO WILDLIFE ADVENTURE

DERAMAKOT, THE BORNEO WILDLIFE ADVENTURE

DERAMAKOT, THE BORNEO

WILDLIFE ADVENTURE

11

November, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages
Borneo Wildlife Adventure Tour

Borneo Wildlife Tour

At 5am, I woke up and realized in another few more hours, I will be without any source of communication with the outside world. I couldn’t think of another great way of getting a digital detox and at the same time, getting my fix with nature. Score!

I started my way with my trusted driver, Arman, to Telupid from Penampang at 6 am. Since it was a weekday, traffic was already building up and it took us nearly two hours to reach Tuaran where we stopped by for breakfast for the famous Mee Tuaran (Tuaran Noodle). It was absolutely delicious, especially when I already had it in my head that I was going to “roughen it up” in the forest for a couple of days.

We sped through Kinabalu area, it was quite chilly, but fortunately for us, it wasn’t foggy. Mount Kinabalu was awake and smiling at me, wishing me well on my wildlife expedition. I was happy (or probably senile for thinking a mountain can smile and wishing me well). As hours went by, I finally reached Telupid area at around 1 pm, thanks to Arman. I had my last meal (kidding!), at one of the cafes there and waited till 2 pm, where I would be transferred into Deramakot Forest Reserve. I was quite lucky to travel with 3 more travelers, all from the United Kingdom, and all girls. So it was like a girls trip for me (only I didn’t know any of them).

Deramakot , Borneo Wildlife Adventure
Welcomes you with the fresh air of nature in Deramakot

Seeing the fact that I knew a bit about Deramakot, and the driver who brought us into Deramakot was shy, I started talking to the other travelers about Deramakot and other places of interest in Sabah. Deramakot is the longest certified tropical rainforest in the world, since 1997 till today. Deramakot Forest Reserve is over 55,000 hectare, where 90% of the land is set aside for logging production, and the remainder is for conservation as well as community forestry.

What amazed me about Sabah Forest Department is their objective to lessen commercialized logging production, and they have made Deramakot as their “golden child” for this main project. Deramakot Forest Reserve practices Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) which is a collection of techniques combined together to minimize damage to potential crop trees, regeneration and soil to maintain its production capacity, as well as to protect the environment, as quoted from Sabah Forestry Department.

Gravel road before reaching Deramakot
Deramakot lodging area
A basic lodgings for visitors
My place to sleep for my adventure here in Deramakot

As we drove further in from Telupid, we passed by two massive Oil Palm Plantations. After a forty minute drive in, we were finally at the border of Deramakot Forest Reserve, it took us another one hour thirty minutes to reach the base where the Forestry Department had build several lodgings which were quite comfortable I might say. I was actually looking forward to roughing it up by building my night stays out of sticks and leaves, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

I got cosy in my room, which was equipped with water heater, a nice bathroom and washroom, an aircond, a closet with mirrors, and clean sheets. I was like hey, I feel like i’m living like a King here, because days before my trip, I was amping myself up that I was going to be camping in the wilderness, having wild animals come up to my tent, and sniffing out food (probability of me being food was there too!). The whole chalet had three rooms, and living room which you will have the privilege of sharing it with other guests. There were a few chalets scattered around the base, which definitely gives that privacy and feeling that you are in the middle of the jungle (especially at night when walking back to your room).

It was magnificent. The air while the vehicle cruise down the dirt road was cool and refreshing. There weren’t much animal sounds that can be heard during the night, but I was enjoying how our Guide, Mike, was spotting for animals through his “hawk eyes”. It was quite hard to keep up with him, after a few minutes following his spotlight hit each tree trunk along the way, I got dizzy, so I sat back and tried my best to hear for animal sounds instead. I did encounter a few “bug related incidents”, but not as bad as one guest who got her lip stung by a wasp.

Malay Palm Civet. Photo by: Mike
Tarsier. Photo by: Mike
Island Palm Civet. Photo by: Mike
Black Flying Squirel. Photo by: Mike

The first night’s highlight for me was when I saw the Flying Fox; the largest bat in the world! I was amazed by it because of its size. It has a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters, that’s huge people! I wasn’t sure how big was the one I saw, but it seemed quite big from where I was which was about 30 – 35 meters away. I also saw a few Malay, Island Palm, and Small Tooth Palm Civet. The most enthralling one for me would be the Malay Civet (also known as Malayan Civet). They’ve got black spots covering their body and black stripes around their neck and tail. It was a beautiful sight, I nearly mistook it to be the endangered Sundaland Clouded Leopard (one can only dream right?).

Sambar Deer grazing in the middle of night

I also saw a few exciting animals such as the Sambar Deer grazing the tall grasses, Dark Eared Frog, Black and Red Flying Squirrel, and Slow Loris. Towards the end of the Safari, we had a short walk further up to look at frogs. The frogs were mating (only reason why people will walk on a really muddy dirt road filled with carnivorous insects [okay, none when we were doing our walks]) on top of trees! I’ve never heard of such a thing, but apparently they mate on top of trees so when the rain comes, the frogspawn will slowly fall from leaf to leaf, reaching closer to the ground. So by the time it reaches the ground, the frogspawn is ready to hatch into tadpoles! Oh how beautiful Mother Nature is.

This is my ride! (kidding!)
Mike, our guide taking picture of Borneo Wildlife
4WD vehicle to go for wildlife sightings
Encounter this rare insects

We woke up early the next day to try our luck at finding more wildlife. We were greeted by very enthralling sounds of birds singing, and Gibbons greeting each other from afar. The sun was rising slowly from a distance and bursting high in the sky in between the old dipterocarp forest. As we rode deeper into the forest, we saw an Orang Utan! It was basically going from tree to tree in search of food. It amazes me at how serene these animals look and how they jive with other animals living in their habitat, yet, being the most intelligent species on planet Earth, we snatch this away from them and banish them from their natural habitat, slowly endangering them into extinction. How reckless and cruel can we be? Very, I should say.

My favorite bird that we came across was Rhinoceros and Wreathed Hornbill. The Rhinoceros Hornbill had a very striking bill and casque, which was red and orange in color. It has white legs and white tail with a black band across its tails. Its whole body is predominantly black in color. The Wreathed Hornbill, however, got its name from the wrinkled band formed at the base of its bill, each hornbill are able to have more than one band in a year. Distinct way to identify male or female is through the pouch below its bill; yellow for male and blue for female. All hornbills are categorized as ‘threatened’ due to major habitat loss.

Mike, our guide taking picture of Borneo Wildlife

We came across a very old and unused logging road and drove through it. The forest was denser here compared to the road we were at before. Before we know it, we were greeted by thick vegetations from both sides of the vehicle. We had to keep ducking in order not to get hit by some of the plants which were quite heavy in thorns! One was lucky enough to attach itself to my backpack which I clung on to very strongly, to the point where it was already outside of the vehicle’s vicinity! I laughed when it happened, but in my heart, I was also thinking that maybe this was Mother Nature’s way of telling us to leave them be. My bag got torn up of course, and I was cursing inside after that. Apparently, a guest had it attached close to his eyelid once; he bled profusely. Thank goodness my bag couldn’t bleed!

We also came across loads of elephant poop within this less-traveled-road. I was getting my hopes up of meeting a herd of them whilst being in the thick dense forest, but a part of me was also afraid. What if the elephants went on a rampage? What if we couldn’t turn the vehicle on time? The road was already quite narrow, and a probability of being stomped by an elephant was 50-50 if we were to encounter some angry ones along the way. Thank goodness for us all, the elephants only left their poop behind without having so much said hello” to us. Once the vegetation grew too thick for the vehicle to go through, Mike, our guide, decided to have the vehicle turn back to base camp. I was quite stoked of the idea trekking into the jungle, but the rest of the guests weren’t as much. So having to respect everyone’s decision, we made a turn back.

On the way out, after being hit several times by overgrown wild ginger and other plants (forgive me, my knowledge on plants aren’t much), one of the guest had a very weird looking liquid (I’m being nice here) from the top of her head, all the way towards her back. We were laughing of course, and we were about to gag as well after closer inspection, it really looked like vomit (imagine vomiting after having too much to drink on an empty stomach), but it was also quite starchy when touched. It was foamy, yellow to brown in colour, and had some white remnants in it. It was quite hard not to laugh and gag at the same time. After she had herself cleaned up (thanks to her amazing friends), Mike told us it was frog eggs, thousands of ‘em! Everyone literally got a bit of a “gift” that morning stuck to them in unimaginable places.

Fancy for a wildlife adventure in Sabah Borneo? Check out the video below:

Travel Health CTA

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.

Borneo Holiday Travel Tips : Essential Items for Travel Photography

Borneo Holiday Travel Tips : Essential Items for Travel Photography

Borneo Holiday Travel Tips :

Essential Items for Travel Photography

07

November, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages
Long Pasia trekking expedition

salt trail crocker range

Going for a Borneo holiday in Sabah Borneo has been a dream to most of the travelers out there, especially those who are wildlife and nature lovers. There are some travelers or professional photographer, willing to visit Borneo Island just for travel photography activity, as they find Borneo Island an exquisite place in the world to capture the wonderful pictures of wildlife and nature. Unfortunately, some of us are not professional photographers, but we do love taking pictures of our travel at Borneo Island.

As the “newbie” of a travel photographer, packing the essential items for photography is our main concern, because we would want to pack light rather than overpack when traveling. Therefore, we should limit some of the photography items that can fit in our carry-on bags, that are equipped with anti-theft and water-resistant features. So, what kind of essential items that are fit for us being the”newbie” travel photographer in Borneo, as well as cutting down the weight of our luggage?

1) Choosing the suitable camera type for travel

Essential Items for Travel Photography
Choosing the suitable type of camera for you to bring for Borneo Holiday

Since we will be traveling, capturing photos of the places we go is kind of part and parcel for traveling. We can just use our own smartphone or a compact digital camera that can carry around easily while walking around Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah Borneo. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to beautifully capture many different scenes in Sabah Borneo by using only our smartphone or compact digital camera. When going for Sabah Borneo rainforest or river, it would be best to bring a Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera to capture some great sharp images. Who knows, we might spot some rare plants or wildlife while jungle trekking in the Borneo rainforest.

Planning to capture travel video blog in Sabah Borneo? Using a GoPro to capture our diving adventure in Sipadan Island, because it is light, small, and the image quality is remarkably good. However, this is depending on our own budget and needs to choose the suitable camera.

2) Appropriate Camera lenses

Essential Items for Travel Photography
Choose the appropriate camera lenses that are suitable for capture the surrounding view in Sabah Borneo

Usually, cameras are available to purchase without the lens. Thus, we will need to buy the lens separately. To save some budget, a standard lens(24-70mm lens) is a good range to start, because it has sharp optics and able to capture almost in any environment. So, using the size of the lenses should be enough if we want to capture the surrounding view of Mount Kinabalu or capturing a portrait of the locals wearing traditional attire. However, when we are going for wildlife adventure in Deramakot Forest Reserve, it would be hard for us to capture photos of Orangutans on the tree during our safari walk. Using a telephoto lens (70-200mm) will be sufficient for us to capture photos of Orangutans from afar whilst respecting their space.

3) Photo Storage

Essential Items for Travel Photography
Having extra memory cards enable to capture more photos on Borneo trip

While we are so into taking pictures of the Orang Utan in action, suddenly the notification pops up telling us that the memory is full? Oh No! That’s a huge bummer. Having only one memory card is not enough, we should be having an extra memory card about 2-8 Gb (depending on your memory usage) and put it in a little protective case (so, we won’t lose it!). An external hard drive and a memory card reader are optional items to bring for travel in Sabah Borneo, provided we can easily find a laptop or cyber cafe nearby. My suggestion would be, bring extra memory cards, so you don’t panic when you run out of memory!

4) Travel Tripod

Essential Items for Travel Photography
Bring travel tripod for easier to carry around while travel

Thank God for the technology today, there is a travel tripod that is designed to fold up into a compact package or in some cases, can fit into a carry-on bag. A travel tripod is very useful especially when we are trying to capture photo of Borneo Pygmy Elephants from the riverboat or capture the sunset view from Kudat Beach; capturing photos from unstable movements or ground will result in poor quality photos. A travel tripod is light, durable, easily adjustable, and has the same function as any other three-legged camera support.

5) Photographer Bag

Essential Items for Travel Photography
Using a durable photography bag that can tolerate any conditions in your trip to Sabah Borneo

Going for holidays in Borneo, there will be a lot of activities that we can do such as trekking expedition in Long Pasia, overnight trek through Mount Kinabalu, cross-country using a bus, walking around in Kota Kinabalu city, and more. Therefore, it is essential to have a durable photographer bag that can tolerate any various conditions that we may face in our trip in order to protect our camera, lenses and other little accessories, such as lens cloth, card reader, and extra memory cards.

6) Lens Cleaning Kit

Essential Items for Travel Photography
Bring lens cleaning kit to make your photo look sharp

No matter how carefully we are in handling our camera and lenses while traveling in Borneo Island, it will still get dirty (boo hoo!). Bear in mind the condition of the camera lenses can affect the image quality, because clean lenses could help to produce sharp and crisp photos. So, if we did not clean the lenses, when we take pictures of Orangutans, it will result in poor quality. Thus, we will need to clean the camera lens regularly in order to take good quality pictures while traveling.

Having these 6 essential items for travel photography should be enough for Borneo travel. There is no need to bring a lot of photography equipments(We’re not professional photographers anyway!), because we are going to have fun and capture memories of our vacation in Borneo!

Travel Health CTA

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.

 
Facebook
Facebook
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
http://toppeaktravel.com/category/sabah/page/3
Pinterest
Pinterest
Instagram
Tripadvisor