Borneo... a remote jungle paradise
I think everyone has heard of the orang-utans in Borneo at least once whilst growing up. I never actually imagined that one day I'd be boarding a plane in Kuala Lumpur and heading for this remote jungle island. Divided between Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia Borneo is mainly jungle filled with a variety of plants and animals. The majority of my visit was in Sepilok and surrounding areas. The orang-utan sanctuary can't promise sightings of these little orange critters but if you get lucky, it certainly is a 'wow' moment. I was there in November and I'm not sure if it's the same year-round but the humidity was awful. I think even my sweat was sweating so do be prepared if you venture into the jungle. It'll be a sticky and rather unenjoyable experience - until you see the orang-utans. Then it's all worth it and you don't mind standing crying from the sweat that's dripped into your eyes.
My only regret from my time in Borneo is not making it to the top of Mount Kinabalu - Malayisa's highest mountain. It needs to be booked in advance and is quite expensive. At least I have a reason to return.
In Sepilok, there's also a sun-bear rehabilitation centre. Again, nothing is guaranteed but if you're lucky you'll get to see the world's smallest bear, most probably, at the top of a tree. With giant claws, these critters are able to perch for hours at a time at the top of some 40m high treetops. Hunted for their paws for use in Chinese medicine, they're one of the most endangered species in the world. The folks at the rehab centre here are doing a great job to increase numbers and prevent them from going extinct.
Sailing down the River Kinabatangan on a river cruise, you'll be in for a treat with all of the proboscis monkeys that are around to admire. With their funny faces and human-like actions, they're a treat to see swinging through the treetops. The cruises run on little boats with 10-20 people and you can even stay overnight in several lodges dotted along the riverbank. These do get busy in peak season so do your research if you're looking for a quieter experience. I didn't stay the night and was relieved at that decision due to the busy-ness of the lodge where I hopped on the boat.
I stayed in a lodge, further inland, and arranged all my trips through the team there.