North Borneo

Our 3rd tour with George took us and 24 other blind, vision impaired and guides to Borneo – Sabah – Kota Kinabalu. This trip was a little different, avoiding large cities and getting a bit more eco.

Sabah – North Borneo

Monday 21 May 2012

We flew out of Perth on Malaysian Airlines at 1.25 am; touching down in Kuala Lumpur at 7.05 am. We then transfered to another Malaysian Airlines flight leaving Kuala Lumpur at 9.20am and arrived in Kota Kinabalu – Sabah at 11.55am.

Transfer to our digs went off without problem; staying at the Pacific Sutera Harbour Hotel, Kota Kinabalu. This was a fantastic resort. So our get down and dirty exploits during the day were very well balanced with a little pampering in the evenings.

Tuesday 22 May

After breakfast in the hotel we met up with the rest of the group, and our guide, in the lobby. We did a bit of a get to know you session each day with a couple of us telling a bit about ourselves. We then walked down to the hotels Marina Jetty for a ferry ride out to Manukan Island, a 10 minute jurney out to the island of TunkuAbdul Rahman Park. A nice wander around the island, then a BBQ Buffet lunch, while other more adventurus in our group Snorkeled around the reef just off shore.

Ferry trip approaching Manukan Island

Ferry trip to Manukan Island at TunkuAbdul Rahman Park

After lunch another relaxing walk to let lunch settle, a quick swim then back on the boat to return to the hotel.

Wednesday 23 May

Breakfast out on the patio this morning, and then a Meet up in the lobby.

The bus picked us up and took us into town to the TANJUNG ARU Train Station where we boarded one of the original steam trains for a North Borneo Railway Ride

Opening of the North Borneo Railway on 3 February 1898.
Construction of the then North Borneo Railway began in 1896 under the command of engineer Arthur J. West with his assistant Gounon, a member of the Murut people from Keningau. The railway was built by workers who were brought in from Japan, led by Akira. It was originally intended primarily for the transport of tobacco from the interior to the coast for export. The first line built was a 32 km track from Bukau River, north to Beaufort, and south to the port of Weston. This was then extended with a further 48 km route in 1903 to Tenom, the works for which was completed in 1905. The line was extended again in 1906 with a further 16 km from Tenom to Melalap. Engineer Arthur J. West also planned to build another railway line heading to Keningau, but he was transferred to Australia, causing the construction to be interrupted.

Greg and Erika sitting inside North Borneo steam train

Having a cold beer inside Borneo Steam Train

We Enjoyed a Tiffin Lunch and cold beer served on board the train while We traveled from Tanjung Aru to Kinarut and Papar, then return back to Tanjung Aru , via the same towns. The bus picked us up from the station and back to the hotel for a swim and later that night a great dinner at the hotel.

Thursday 24 May

Baby Orangutan hanging from a rope between trees

Baby Orangutan hanging from a rope between trees

an Early Breakfast today so we can get on the bus to Visit the Dalit Nature Reserve and a face to face experience with the famous Orangutans, of North Borneo. It was a bit of a climb up to get to the Canopy Walkway where we were so close to the Orangutanss you could hear their movements all around us.

Orangutan hanging from tree

Orangutan hanging from tree

We had lunch in the resort that is part of the park, then back on the bus to our hotel.

Friday 25 May

today is a busy day so we started off with a big breakfast out on the patio. the bus picked us up and took us up into the mountains where we met up with our 3 rafting masters for a white-water raft trip on the Kota Kinabalu river. A wonderfully exciting trip down off the mountain.

Image of our crew in life jackets with inflatable raft ready for downstream action

Getting Ready for White Water Adventure

We had lunch at the end of our river rafting, but not much time to relax as we were then back on the bus for a visit to the botanical gardens on the slopes of mount Kota Kinabalu

Significantly, Mount Kinabalu along with other upland areas of the Crocker Range is well-known worldwide for its tremendous botanical and biological species biodiversity with plants of Himalayan, Australasian, and Indomalayan origin. A recent botanical survey of the mountain estimated a staggering 5,000 to 6,000 plant species (excluding mosses and liverworts but including ferns), which is more than all of Europe and North America (excluding tropical regions of Mexico) combined. It is therefore one of the world’s most important biological sites.

Kota Kinabalu Mountain Range

Kota Kinabalu Mountain Range

After some hands on of some of the plants found in this paradise and a wander around the grounds it was back on the bus and back to the hotel.

Saturday 26 May

As this is a day at lesure we again had breakfast on the patio and then spent the day swimming and exploring the hotel grounds.

At 7pm we were picked up by the Bus for a dinner and Cultural show at the Kampong Nelayan Resturant.

Sunday 27 May

We Fly home today so Breakfast at the hotel, pack and Check out at 12 noon.

Bus pick up at 1 pm to take us to the airport for our flight firstly through to Kuala Lumpur then transfer to our flight through to Perth where we Arrived at 12.15 am.