30.05.2009

Sabah of Borneo

Much have happened the last 10 days since I left Koh Lipe. I took the plane from Penang to Kota Kinabalu, where I stayed at my new friends place, Kinu from Japan. I met Kinu through Couchsurfing.com where you can find places to stay, people to meet worldwide. A brilliant concept for those who have a certain type of budget, those who want to hang out with locals, and those who dont like all these hotels and big resorts taking over all nice places.

I stayed at Kinu's place a couple of days while at days I did some sightseeing around town. I can mention Atkinson Tower, Signal Hill, City Bird Sanctuary, Cinemas every day, the Jetty and the local village. After strolling the streets of KK, I took the bus to Mountain Kinabalu.

This mountain is the biggest mountain in South-East Asia, 4095m at the highest peak (Low's Peak). Instead of pre-booking a trip there, I bought all the tickets on the route myself, as I always do on travelling, because you can ALWAYS save on this. All the mountain tickets I got almost more than 50% cheaper than the other climbers. Sweet. When I got there, I stayed at Haleluyah Retreat Center, sounds conservative, hehe, but was the cheapest and nearest place to headquarter, and I met some other climbers there. The night was freezing because of unaccustomed temperature on around 28 degrees.

Climbing day: I met a swiss guy named Basil who joined my group, so were sharing guide. We got a really nice local guide who have been working at the mountain for 19 years. That mean that he have been climbing the mountain 2-3 times a week in 19 years, yeah, imagine! So, because of our guides experience, he took a look at us and started walking fast. He knew our body was fit for a quick trip up the mountain:)
We used 3 hours on the first route up to the mountain huts, where we stayed over night, pleasured with tasty Malay food, socializing with other climbers and getting warm again. Around 03.00am we started walking up the the highest peak. The Laban Rata camp where we stayed is at 3200m approx, so we had almost 1000m to climb in darkness at night. We moved up really fast, and was first at the Low's peak after an hour and half climbing, accompanied with a interesting guy from Essex, we called him Bear Grylls. Anyway, we all had to wait for the sunrise at the top for about an hour and a half, so at 11 degrees, it got a little bit cold after a while. But, sunrise was beautiful, we could even see all the way to Kota Kinabalu (2-3 hour by car) and the ocean. It was a especially happy moment for me, summit at my 22th birthday!
The way down was ridiculously boring, nothing to write about, expect that my legs feel broken now, and that my group was first up, and first down. Speeders...

After climbing one of my first tough and highest peaks in my life, I took the bus to Sepilok and stayed a night to catch a glimpse of the Orang-utan's at the rehabilitation center. But when I went there, I met another traveler that had just watched the feeding, and it was to hot for the Orang-utan's to come out in public that day. So, in a quick brief, I literally turned foot around and started heading for Sukau, wildlife heart of north Borneo. I got to Sukau after a couple of buses and hitchhiking. Sukau is a really nice and local place, offering a lot of homestay places, which after my principal, is the best way to stay anywhere. I took in with a family of 8, father, mother and 6 kids. I learned a lot about Sabah and Malaysia after talking with them and their friends, much because Malay people are excellent speakers of English. In all ranges of age, kids to old people, because of a good school system. All the kids in the neighborhood gathered around the white guy with a weird haircut and black earrings, and we laughed when we tried to teach each other our languages. It is really a nice way to visit a place, stay homestay, hang out with the local kids and youngsters, eat local homemade food, sleep with the family local style and talk with them and teach them what you can about your experiences.

I also met the local coordinator of the homestay, and he was a really nice champ. He took me to their own Orang-utan Rehabilitation Center, where I took a look at the facilities, and later that day he took me for a boat trip at the famous rivers of Kinabatangan. We saw proboscis monkeys jumping from tree to tree, longtail macaque, monitor lizard and the Borneo Pygmy Elephant. That was a special day I can tell you, since people are usually lucky to see the special elephant. And when we saw a group of 20-30, my heart pumped a little extra. We were at the riverside in our small speedboat, watching them from 10 meter distance. They were eating grass, pooping, playing and singing with their instruments, the long nose (called snabel in Norwegian, dunno the English). We also observed two youngsters playing together in the water, that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I took some nice pictures, also when an elephant came down to the river to drink, and our boat was in the way, the rope attached to the nearby tree, and I had to unleash the rope, only 2 meter from the BIG thing with a snabel approaching me. My heart beated, and I wanted to touch, see, feel, smell, give a hug. But, remember the laws of the wildlife, dont touch, take only photos and leave only footprints... Or waves:)

Now I'm at an internet cafe in Kota Kinabalu again, waiting for tomorrow: the Harvest Festival of the local Kadazan people of Sabah. It contains thanksgiving dedicated to the rice gods, agricultural shows, exhibitions, cultural programs, buffalo races, and other traditional games. There is much merrymaking and feasting with rice wine flowing freely throughout the festivities. I have a local friend (friend of my Japanese KK host btw) taking me around tomorrow, so its coming some colorful pictures later.

Check out these nice pictures from my last 10 days. Will also upload a sweet portfolio from the last days of Koh Lipe later :)

Singapore 2nd of June, coming in the nearest future. Expecting: expensive, nice monuments, lots of temples and mosques, nice people, singlish, tasty food and a bus ticket to Johor Baru (Malaysia) after a couple of days. Heading for the jungle train!!!

(Pictures coming in reversed order from story)






This guy came to close when our rope got stuck in the tree where he wanted to drink from the river, 2 meter from my arm, reaching the rope!














Their nice and big nose is special for this monkey. Males have bigger noses than the female. Nobody know why...


The proboscis monkey jumping from tree to tree to find the right place to swim across the river.


Kinabatangan River


Fishermen at Kinabatangan river, actually, 8 days before I came a crocodile ate a fisherman at the river. But he was stupid enough to fish from the water, and not from the boat. Anyway, R.I.P. fisherman from Indonesia


My homestay house in Sukau


Then I'm in Sukau, hanging out with kids at the mosque




Sunrise at Mt. Kinabalu


Me and Toby who joined us from Laban Rata camp


Me and Basil at the top, first off all climbers. Its around 04.30am and 11 degrees at 4095m.


My climbing partner, Basil


Our guide to the top and down again...


Mountain Kinabalu


Jungle in Kinabalu National Park






Chinese sunday market


Local made masks


Signal Hill




Sabah State Mosque




Kids at village in KK


Kota Kinabalu's islands from plane

4 kommentarer:

  1. Gøy å lese, Kjetil. Utrolig mange flotter minner og bilder fra jungelen, hadde ønsket jeg kunne vært der!

    SvarSlett
  2. Skal si du opplever mye. Fantastisk å se så mange ville dyr. Flotte bilder. Lykke til videre!

    SvarSlett
  3. Nice photos...It's so similar with Kalimantan... :)

    SvarSlett
  4. hi...wow all yr pic's looks fantastic! :)

    SvarSlett