So up nice and early to get the bus out of Brunei and into the Sarawak region of Borneo. A pleasant and shortest (4hours) bus journey across the border back into Malaysia. Hopped in, what I think was a taxi, with some randomer from the bus and headed to the Coco Guest House (hostel) and I'm fairly sure I paid for his lift too. Took a while to find the place as the taxi driver didn't know it. Several phone calls to the hostel later I arrived and checked in. I met Jenni and Charlotte from England in the dorm and joined them on a lazy day of walking around the city and watching films. Miri, for a city, is rather small and has very little to do. Even the hostel staff couldn't find 10 decent things to do in Miri.
But the next day I decided to head to the Lambir Hills National Park, 32km out of Miri. Getting there wasn't a problem using the express buses. I was the only one at the park and I didn't see anyone else all day. The rainforest was so humid and the sweat was literally dripping off me. But it was a really scenic and tiring 4 hour walk seeing waterfalls and even an abandoned oil well, where bits of machinery have been left along with the smell of oil. The fun part was getting back, I had to stand at the side of the road and try to flag down an express bus, eventually the 4th bus stopped. I felt a bit sorry for the guy I sat next to, as I'm fairly sure I must have stunk.
It was time to leave Miri the next day (8th nov) and I was so glad I chose to fly to Kuching, I'd met a few people who got the bus and it took 16 hours and cost more than my flight. After a lazy morning in Miri, I set off for Kuching. As soon as I arrived I wished I was staying longer. Checked into Borneo Seahare Hostel (I met a few people on my travels who highly recommended it) and instantly felt like home. As soon as I walked in I recognised a couple from Sandakan, as starts to happen travelling the number of times you cross paths with people. That evening few of us from the hostel headed to the Old Bazaar for some local food - laksa (amazing food!) cooked by Letty - I told her I'm going back to Kuching so she can teach me how to cook it, she wanted me to change my flight and stay longer. If I wasn't meeting my mum and dad I probably would have. Then most of us from the hostel went out for a few beers and a game of pool.
Again, a early start to go get the 8am bus to Bako National Park, at the bus stop I met Davide from Italy, when some guy offered us a lift to Bako so we took it, beats waiting for an unreliable bus! After registering we had to take a small speedboat to the actual park...except the channel was too shallow as the tide hadn't come in. So we all bailed overboard and started to walk to the shore. After about 10 metres of staggering across (there's also crocs and stingrays here!) the water comes up to waist height, the guide hails the boat over but as it was shallow it took some time to reach us. We all get back in and move about 5 metres before it gets too shallow again, so we all bail out and after wading for several more metres we make it to shore. Was a funny experience and the guide was hilarious. I joined Davide on a couple of the trails around Bako, which is a nice pretty national park but we didn't spot any of the dick nosed monkeys which live here. After the humidity of walking around the rainforest it was so nice to reach a beach and the sea but a swim and cool down, before heading back to the boat. The tide had come in so at least there was no issues with the boat this time.
The evening was due to be a very boozey affair as one of the guys working at the hostel was leaving, so I filled up on more laksa and let the drinking commence. Obviously drinking games are started which involved drinking the local moonshine - langkau. After several of hours playing and drinking (and clearly not drunk enough) we headed out to a bar around midnight and then it starts to get hazy after many more beers here. Cracking night and party and who knows what time we made it back to the hostel.
There were a few sore heads in the morning but on the whole we all seemed in pretty good shape (even if none of us could move from the sofas until midday). A small group of us got some energy and decided to head over to see some Orangutans at a nearby sanctuary. We managed to see a few but they don't plan transport well here, the feeding time was 3pm - 4pm but the last bus back to Kuching leaves at 4pm (and it's a 15 minute walk from the feeding area) so it was a rather brief sighting before having to leave again. Shame. As we got on the bus a big old storm hit, luckily we narrowly avoided it. That evening Ben from the hostel was actually leaving so a group of us headed back over to see Letty and for some more laksa. Greg also arrived that evening in Kuching, that morning I promised myself not to drink...but the beers started to flow and a few more bars were visited before I eventually found myself waking up on the sofa at the hostel (I could literally see my bed from the sofa but clearly when I got back I decided that few feet was too far to walk.
And now it's time to leave Borneo, with a hangover, and head over to Kuala Lumpur to meet the folks for some 5* treatment.