Sweden: Anitha Svensson & Linn Hedlund.
The Netherlands: Jeroen Jamry & Mari-Jana Couwenberg.
Norway: Cecilie Laland & Suzanne Göl.
Finland: Saara Kovero & Marika Heimo.
Denmark: Teresa Mello, Julie Rasmussen, MereteJosephsen & Jesper Hjort.
Photos from this study trip will soon be shown in aKILROY travellog near you! http://travellog.kilroy.dk/kilroystudytripborneoandkl2007to be more precise.A few interesting factsabout Malaysia
In 1948 British Malayan territories formed theFederation of Malaya.
Malaya became independent from the United Kingdom in 1957.
The Federation of Malaysia consisting of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawakwas formed in 1963. Singapore left the Federation in 1965.
Malaysia covers an area of 329,758 sq km, with a 4,675km coastline and has over two hundred islands. The population is 25 million.
Malaysia shares Borneo with Brunei andKalimantan. The island, comprising of the Malaysian states of Sabah andSarawak, the country of Brunei, and Kalimantan (part of Indonesia), is thethird largest island in the world. It has an area of 743330 km⊃2;.
Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m) in Kinabalu National Park,Borneo, is the highest point in Malaysia and the third tallestin Southeast Asia behind
Tropical climate with warm weather all year round with temperatures rangingfrom 21ºC to 32ºC. Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.
Islam is the official religion but other religions are practiced freely.
Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language. While English is widely spokenhere in Malaysia, the locals are more comfortable with Bahasa. The ethnicgroups also speak various languages and dialects including Cantonese, Hokkien,Mandarin, Tamil and Hindi.
The Great Cave in Borneo is the siteof the discovery of Southeast Asia's oldest human remains, dating from fortythousand years ago.
Malaysia has the world's oldest rainforests. Theforests of Sabah are the home of trees towering over one hundred metres high.
Rafflesia, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, is theworld's largest flower and is found in the Malaysian rainforest.
Day 1, Oct. 5th. MH91 ARNKUL 1310-0645
This is the first day of our Study-trip to fantasticBorneo. Everyone is looking forward for weeks now, so we can't wait to get inthe plane to Asia! We will meet each other for the first time in StockholmAirport at 11.00 and from there on we will travel together all the way to KotaKinabalu. We're colleagues from different countries so some of us have toarrange different flights from our hometowns to Sweden. We're all very excitedand a little bit nervous as well! While we drink our first cup of coffeetogether we chat a little bit and introducing ourselves to each other. Ourflight departs at 13.10 so there's no need to rush. After the check in and somelast shopping in Stockholm we are ready to get on board of the MalaysiaAirlines plane which will bring us all the way to Kuala Lumpur. The flight willtake more than 11 hours. Jesper arranged us some nice seats all together in theback of the plane. Malaysia Airlines offer a great selection of entertainmentduring the flight: we have our own personal screen and can choose from popular TV shows, movies, sportschannels and news , or close our eyes and listen to our favourite music. We arealso able to play over 40 games, or view real-time data on our flight altitude,distance, temperature, air speed, and more. During the flight the service isgreat with a variety of meals and drinks. In our group are a few people whoordered a special meal and also those meals are very tasty. The personnel ofMalaysia Airlines is very friendly as well, and if you are thirsty our hungryyou can easily ask themto serveyou some food and drinks by pushing a button.Last but not least; the aircraft is very well maintained andthe toilets are clean.
Day 2, Oct. 6th. MH702 KULBKI 0915-1150
After a very long flight we arrive in Kuala LumpurInternational Airport. We have some hours to spend here so the first money isgetting exchanged to Ringgits and some of us are doing some shopping. Our nextflight to Kota Kinabalu departs at 09.15. To come to the gate we're leavingfrom we have to take a little train. Unfortunately the departure gate waschanged at the last minute so for some of us it was a little bit hard to findthe correct gate. The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu will only take2.5 hours. The plane isn't fully booked so that gives us the opportunity tostretch our legs and get some sleep. Although it's a short flight MalaysiaAirlines provides some good meals this time as well. Unfortunately the specialmeals requirements didn't come through for this flight.
When we arrive in Kota Kinabalu the exotic temperatureis waiting for us and we will be met by our Intrepid leader andher name is Nicky Henderson. Unfortunately one of our backpacks didn't arrivein Kota Kinabalu but seems to be in New York. At last the luggage is arrivingat day 8 of our trip. From the airport our tour leader Nicky arranged transfersto the Asia City Hotel. There are no planned activities for the rest of theday, apart from our meeting and dinner.
Day2 continued, Oct. 6th. Kota Kinabalu
After a long and wearing trip starting from various pointsthroughoutScandinavia and Europe,we finally arrived in Kota Kinabalu (BKI).Kota Kinabalu, also known by locals as KK, is the capital ofSabah.Luckily for us, the airportis located only 7 kilometers away from the city center, so it was a quick tripby cab into town.The hotel westayed in, Hotel Asia City, was located in the city center.Hotel Asia City is a typical backpackerhotel; definitely no-frills.Therooms are very basic, but there are private bathrooms, plenty of hot water andair-conditioning.Reception wasquite friendly, too.Just rememberto leave your durian fruit at the front door, as it is not permitted to eat itinside the hotel!If you forget,then there is a sign posted at the elevator reminding you.
We were all pretty tired from the long flights, but we weren't put offby the prospect of doing some shopping!We had a couple of free hours to freshen up and do a littlewalkabout.Nicky, our Intrepidtour guide, took us to a local shopping center, where you could just about findeverything you needed.If shoppingis not your game, there are other things to do in KK.There is a Heritage Village, State Museum, and the Sabah ArtGallery nearby.Within the citycenter, you will also find the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary.There are even some small islands offthe coast of KK.These are visitedby both locals and tourists.
Kota Kinabalu is home for about half a million people.It is the largest urban center in Sabahand the 6th largest in Malaysia.Most of KK was destroyed by the retreating British duringWWII, but today it is a very modern city, with all the things that you expectto find in any city.
After a few hours of shopping, we met with Nicky again, who took us outto a local Indian restaurant.Ourfood was served on banana leaves and we had to eat with our fingers.We all made quite a mess.Afterwards, we went out for drinks onthe promenade.This part of townhad a lot of atmosphere; plenty of restaurants/cafes, lots of people.In general, the promenade was just agreat spot to sit, have a drink, and watch the people go by.Just be prepared for rubber time (alocal term meaning that it will take 1 hour instead of 15 minutes, forexample).It took forever for usto get our drinks!
The people of KK are extremely friendly.Just about everyone says hello to you.They want to know where you're from,what you're doing, and so on and so on.We found this a little strange at first, but after we talked to Nicky,we felt better.She said that thepeople of Borneo are just amazed that, out of all the places in the world youcould choose to visit, you chose to come to Borneo.So the people really do want to get to know what you arelike.When visiting KK, stop andtake the chance to chat with some of the locals.
Day3, Oct. 7th. Sepilok
Afteran early wake up in Kota kinabalu at the hostel Asia city, we then traveled bytaxi to the local bus stop, Inanam, we left our big rucksacks at the bus andleft for our breakfast nearby to get some morning pork and noodles.
Thelocal bus left from kota kinabalu around 8.20 and drew for approximately3 ½ hours, then we got coupons fromNicky and had a 20 minutes stop for lunchat Telupid.
Aftera while back in the bus we had to stop at the "checkpoint", a police station. Apolice man came on to the bus and had a look at the passenger's passport.
Thejourney continued, and after a bus switch we arrived at the Sepilok B & Baround 15:00.
SepilokB & B is situated in the forest and has a really nice reception area allunder roof but no walls, there are tables for breakfast and a computer withaninternet connection. Just a fewsteps up there is a grass area with outside tables and beside that the roomswere located, our room hade four bunk beds. Mari-Jana, Nitha and Linn stayed inone room, there was a connecting door to another room which had a twin bed,that Saara and Marika-Hanna was sharing and a single bed for Merete. A showerand a toilet were also there although pretty basic but Ok, all the othersstayed two in each room. The B & B had an electricity generator so we couldcharge all our batteries to our cameras. We left our big bags at the room andleft with only our cameras and some water, you need plenty of water it issweaty and HOT!
Wewent by taxi on really shaky roads for about 45 min, and arrived at Labuk BayProboscis monkey sanctuary, that is located at the center of the mangroveforest along the coastal land near Samawang village at Labuk Bay,
PROBOSCIS MONKEY(Nasalis Larvatus) has alarge prominent nose. They have large,extended bellies, giving them the appearance of being permanently pregnant.Adult males have much larger nose than the female, the monkey`s nose will swelland turn red when the monkey is excited or angry. Proboscis monkeys are alsoknow as the "Dutchman monkey".This to Mari-Jana and Jeromes delight!! The Malayname for the species is "Monyet Belanda". Proboscis monkeys are excellentswimmers. But swim only when necessary and for pleasure. The only place in theworld where proboscis monkeys occur is the Island of Borneo in South-East Asia.And they are not even found throughout all of Borneo.
To enter the park with camera we paid 55 Myr and to get there by taxi itcosts 30 Myr per/person round trip, At Labuk bay they had a house and a treeterrace that was over looking the forest. We came in time to the 16.30 feedingand from all over they came, mothers with their children hanging under thebellies, big fellows that sat in front and had a good view of the food, Bestviewing time is the feeding when all the monkeys will come leaping from tree totree and eventually coming down to feed on young leaves and plants. thefeedings are in the morning 11.30 and the one we saw in 16.30
We hade the pleasure of meeting Harry otter ,,, Yes an otter pet that wasadopted by the staff in LBPMS when they found her abandoned by the shore ofriverside, he was really cute and we could play and cuddle with himunfortunately he managed to scratch saaras arm and playfully bite Marika-hannain her hand, but no hard feelings they are still alive!
After the feeding we went for a stroll down the wooden path under the treesand saw the Proboscius monkeys in the trees and some of the
Maroon Leaf Monkey(Presbytis Rubicunda) also known as theRed Leaf Monkey.
We also saw oriental Pied Hornbills a bird with a bigbeak.
Lots of squirrels running around trying to get some of the food that wasstill there after all the monkeys left,
Unfortunately some of us missed the monkey's due to suspicious food, butlucky for them they had a good time learning Malay from Tina the housekeeperand Toni the BBQ man and went for astroll up to the rainforest discovery center ,nice gardens and asuspensions bridge. There they foundtermites mounds and a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years andthat is 2105.
Poor Suzanne still hasn'tgother bag so Cecilia and Nicky went with her to sandakan to do some shopping.When we all were gathered, Robert and Melisa that was the owner, had a big BBQwith potato salad, garlic rice, pasta salad, lamb, chicken and tuna home madesauces rode island ,chili and mayo, after that some watermelon.
We sat outside all night with candles on the table andcricket sounding in the dark talking tothe staff and writing postcard and some used the internet and Nicky showed herphotos from Borneo. All went to bed and after a while the biggest thunderingstorm I have ever heard was all over us, we opened our door and laid in our bedwatching the rain that was flushing down, and the lightningwe could see in the dark and thethunder that was shaking our beds, then suddenly the lightning struck down andwe were out of electricity and fan and it was really warm, but no problem itcame back after a while.
This was a great day with my new kilroy friends at the pen this day Linnfrom Sweden.
Day4, Oct. 8th. Orangutans
Wewoke up in the Sepilok resort for our last shower before the jungle.
Aftereating breakfast, we left at 9.15 a.m. for the Sepilok Orangutan rehabilitationCentre where we should see the orangutans being feet at 10 a.m.
SepilokOrangutan Rehabilitation Centre was founded in 1964 for rehabilitation oforphaned baby orangutans from logging-sites, plantations and illegal huntingand then returning them to the wilds as soon as they are ready.
Morethan 4.500 hectares of virgin jungle were designated as forest reserve andsanctuary for these funny and charming apes.
Today,around 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve and there are about 25juveniles and babies living in the nurseries at the centers building.
Thecentre is under supervision of more than 37 staff, including a wildlife Officerand contains a reception centre, information centre, offices for wildlifestaff, an animal clinic, quarantine area and enclosures for the animals.
Thesanctuary is being administered by the wildlife section of the forestry department,which in 1988 was upgraded as a department under the ministry of Tourism andEnvironmental Development and is funded by tourist-adoption programs (Touristcan adopt a Orangutan for 150 MYR a year), the government and donations.
OnMalay: Urang means Man and Utan is forest so put together orangutan is manof the forest.A funny thing: 94,6 % of its genes is identical to humans.Orangutans are the largest primate and the only great apein Asia, but is today only to be found on Sumatra and Borneo. It lives most itslife in the trees and eats fruit and leaves.
Weentered the view platform and on our way we already saw a mother-orangutan withher little baby - off course high up in the trees.
Atthe end of the platform- therewas the feeding spot and we could hear the orangutans getting closer. It wasalmost only young animals, as they is being feed with only milk and bananas, sothey will start searching for more interesting food themselves.
Wesaw several orangutans climbing their way to the platform by rope. Just likeacrobats. And there two men were sitting quiet and feeding them on theplatform.
Aftera while the long tailed macaques arrived to take part in the feeding.
Thenafter viewing the same orangutan throw up its food at least 5 times and eatingit all again, we left and went to see a video of rescuing a orangutan andsetting it free again.
Day4 continued, Oct. 8th. Jungle Camp & MESCOT
Weleft Orangutans and Sepilok and took a minibus to our next destination: KampungMengans, which is a small village in the Kina Batang area. Our journey to thejungle was about to start!
Weheaded to a community center, where our "jungle guides" were already waitingfor us. We had a briefing about our itinerary for the following few days and alsoabout MESCOT (Model Ecologically Sustainable Community BasedConservation & Tourism). The MESCOT Initiative was started in 1996 by agroup of about 30 people from the different villages of Batu Puteh, Malaysia.The main purpose of the initiative was to create an alternative source ofincome for the local people in the area and simultaneously protect the lastremaining vestige of rainforest and traditional indigenous cultural heritage.
We headed into the jungle by a speedboat, which took approximately 10-15minutes. After the boat ride, we had a short walk to our campsite in thejungle. We were going to sleep in hammocks, so the first thing to do was tobuild up the campsite. After that we all went for a speedboat ride by theriver. During the ride we saw plenty of different animals: 4 types of monkeys(Longtail Macaque, Red Leif, Silver Leif and Proposcis Monkey), 5 types ofbirds (Stork Build Kingfisher, Giant Egret, Pide Hornbill, Sprinte Hawk Eagle,Bee Eatea), water buffalos and even a pair of crocodiles eyes. After the rideit was already dark. We had dinner at our base camp and afterwards, at about8pm, went for a "night walk". It was really exciting -and also a bit scary- tosee all the animals at nighttime. We were able to see many insects: spiders,glowing warms etc. We walked to a lake nearby and saw animal footprints, pythonholes and again -a pair of crocodile's eyes. The sound of the jungle wasamazing -a sound that helped us -more or less- to fall a sleep in our ownhammocks after a long, intriguing day in the "wild" of Borneo.
Day5, Oct. 9th. Time with the locals and Homestay
After a few hours of sleep we woke up at 6 and had breakfast. During thenight monkeys had actually stolen our eggs, so we settled for bread and tea instead.We had a morning walk in the surrounding area and headed back to the communityCenter.
Our guides showed us howto make fishing traps, we had the opportunity to make some Henna Tattoos withthe local girls and we had a chance to see this wonderful cultural performance.Group dancing and teaching us the basics of their traditional dance.They also held a cooking class to us where we made in separate groups chickenand vegetable dishes as well as some desserts with the afternoon tea. Boysshowed us some card tricks before the lunch and we had some time to relax andsee the sun at the peer as well.
After the lunch we went toAgop Batu Tulug Museum nearby the village, where we discovered the unique caveswith hundreds and hundreds of bats. Batu Tulug and its caves are special in itsown way. The caves contain ancient coffins, which became historical evidence ofSabah over 500 years ago and therefore are suitably preserved as Sabah´sheritage. We heard fascinating stories about the local burialceremonies held in the caves ages ago. As we climbed to the top of the hill,the views up there were amazing!
Beforeheading to the Homestay families in the Kampung Mengans we luckilyhad some time to spend in the village with the local people. We played soccerand volleyball and just played with the smaller kids who were happy to get somenew company. Or at least it looked that way. This was a nice and differentending to this very long day we had had.
TheSabah Homestay Association was set up through the support of the Sabah Ministryof Tourism Culture and Environment in 2004. Homestays Programs have been established inSabah since the early 1990s. More recently Homestay programs have been startedby individuals or community groups in many different locations all over Sabah.In Sabah homestay programs are meant to be a village based initiative and aremeant to involve more than one household. A minimum is ten host families in arespective village are required before the group is eligible to register as aHomestay Program. There are however private businesses that use thewording "homestay" in their company name but these places are onlyprivate lodge houses and should not be mixed with the definition and concept ofhomestay as defined by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism.
Homestaysat Borneo means that people stay in someones home. By definition a home is "adwellingplace together with a family unit that occupies it, a household". Homestays are not merely a place of accommodation for travellers, and shouldnot be confused with "Bed n Breakfast", "Inns" or"Lodge Houses". Homestays provide a uniqueopportunity to experience the way of life of local people of an area along withindigenous and traditional cultures. Homestays also provide an opportunity forvisitors to experience a place in an authentic, comfortable and homely setting.Visitors learn about environments and cultures through these families. Familytraditions, food and for example homes its self give a rich view of the lifestyle these local people have. Homestays also provide an opportunity fortravellers to support sustainable development initiatives.
Homesvary from each other as the facilities and people as well are a bit differentfrom each other. Home environment is different in each home so we cannot callthese homestay homes hotels or other lodging. And as the families andactivities are different in different families, can the experiences be far fromeach other as well. Our experiences were different for some families hadchildren, some not. Some people spoke English, some not. Some were veryreligious, some not. Some interested in our culture and us, some already knewsomething and wanted to spend more time with us and do some activitiestogether. Surroundings and facilities were anyway quite the same for all of us,for it is required that the families have for example proper beds for guests.We knew that the bathing etc. facilities were very basic, so no big surprisesthere. Overall the experience was pleasant and gave us much to think about. Mostof the families gave us the feeling that we were welcomed to their homes,though the time with the families wasn´t too long.
Day6-7, Oct. 10th - 11th. Mt Kinabalu. Kiau and the DusunpeopleSuzanne
After at night at the home stay we went on the bus for about 5 hours toget to Mt Kinabalu, being the highest mountain between the Himalayas and NewGuinea, here we stayed at Sonny's Village located just a few minutes from KtKinabalu's head quarter, the place was clean, cozy and had showers that was verywelcomed by us, we needed it!,
We had a short visit to head quarter were all the walks starts from andwhere the climbers start and finishes, we had a stroll around and a chance toenjoy a little something to drink in the restaurant or shop in the souvenirshops around, the evening was spent eating out together and ended with a coupleof beers back at the guest house getting ready for tomorrows walking,
Up early, putting on walking gear, driving to head quarter where westarted the walk, in this beautiful nature most of us could only care aboutavoiding to get leaches attached, the trails were full of hungry leaches andbeing in a group with 10 ladies you can only imagine all the screams along theway, we all had our tricks to escape them and only one of got really "stuck"with a leach (Mari-Jana) but handled it with pride! During the walk we did spotwild bananas and wild orchids as well as stunning views. We had lunch down bythe river and after half a mile of walking we enjoyed the burning sun withsomething cold to drink before hading back to Sonny's Village to have quickshowers and getting in the open trucks that took us to Kiau Village.
After 45 minutes of bumpy roads up the mountain we arrived in Kiauvillage and where very warmly welcomed by the village with traditional danceand music performance, we all joined the dance adding our own moves to theexperience J
After dinner in home stay the rice-wine was brought out,it's a tradition in the village to enjoy every Sunday and when they havevisitors, rice-wine is made of rice, water and yeast. We all sat in a ring andhad to drink a cup of rise wine, turn it up-side-down without making any drops,if a drop was made you had to drink one more cup, we all had our turn and someof us made drops which really amused the "village-people", after the firstround the rice wine was free to drink and they had loads of it, all boys fromthe village joined with guitars and all evening we had live boy band playingsongs after our requests, this was a truly genuine experience that all of usenjoyed highly and a good example on why we should offer the Intrepid tour toBorneo. I could write a lot about this evening but you can all imagine the restof the night considering that they had a rice-wine and tobacco factory in thegarage.
Thisnight most of us stayed in bunk beds in a little house own by the church,because it was double booked (apparently happens everywhere!) some had to sleepin the home stay and could just crawl in to bed that night.
Day 8, Oct. 12th.Kinarut,Seaside Travellers Inn
Aftera couple of days inn the jungel and the Village in Kiau, we arrived at "theresort" Seaside Travellers Inn. Swimmingpool,showers, "normal" toilets, beer and wine! We just arrived heaven!
Wearrived farely late so a couple of the white scandinavians hurried so theycould work on their tan, before the dark clouds sorrounded the resort. Theafternoon was our leisure time, so people went about their own business. Someslept, a few went swimming, writing some postcards, waiting for the sunset. Thesunset was beautiful, and quite a few pictures was taken by those who sat inthe restaurant.
Weall got together for dinner in the evening, and I don`t think to many ordednudles or rice. Personally I had the best meal on the entire trip!
Thenight ended around eleven/twelve for most of us, since we had a fligth to KualaLumpur the next morning.
SeasideTravellers Inn has a good location and is not too far from Kota Kinabalu andthe airport. The beach was so so, propably because of the huge tide, but thepoolside and restaurant was excellent.
Day 9, Oct. 13th.MH87 BKIKUL 1145-1505Mari-Jana
After a great week in Malaysia Borneo we have to catcha flight back to Kuala Lumpur again. In the plane the last pictures are madefrom the great view of Sabah. This flight will again take about 2.5 hours andalso this plane isn't fully booked so we can lie down and rest. We arrive inKuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) by MH 87 in the afternoon.