Borneo. Borneo, Borneo
Borneo, Borneo, Borneo. Well I wish I could say it was amazing here and well worth the visit but so far, not so good! Arrived in KK (Kota Kinabalu) in the middle of the night and found the hostel fine. First Hostel the Red Palm was actually okay though a bit pricy. Next day when the girl at the hostel asked me what I planned to do in Borneo I realised that apart from going to see the apes, and hopefully a bit of Scuba I didn't really have a clue about Borneo. You know when you get a mental picture of a place and then once you get there it's just nothing like what you expected. Well my mental picture was Borneo being some sort of small tropical island off the mainland coast of Malaysia, and that everything would be pretty close, plenty of travellers, and I'd spend most my time on a beach! Wrong wrong wrong. Borneo is actually the third largest island in the world. Making it way bigger than the UK. It's actually split by four regions two of which belong to Malaysia, the other being Brunei, and finally the fourth section belongs to Indonesia. So the main place to go is the region called Sabah which in itself is still huge.
So met some guys staying the my hostel, the first day we went and looked around the town, the second day we spent on a beach on an island just off the coast of KK. Was actually pretty damn beautiful. So then my plan was to go to an island (Labuan) and dive a wreck, I got recommended a trip to Brunei, so then after then I'd do the Orang-Utan sanctuary and then maybe spend another couple of days on this island just of KK. I ran this past the hostel person who said that was a good plan.
I arrived in Labuan, now though I'd met some guys there really is not many people travelling over here, and Labuan seemed like I was the only traveller person. I found tourist info and after a little struggle explaining the dive I wanted she rang the dive company and they weren't diving this week and even if I did want to do the dive I'd have to pay for four persons. Humm ish don't think so. I quickly realised that all literature over here is about 9years out of date and not to rely on it. I decided to cut my losses and head straight to Brunei at least this was a recommendation.......
Brunei please what ever you do don't go. There's nothing there and it's expensive for really shit accommodation. I took a water taxi around the water village (surprise that hey), which was quite an eye opener, the place was massive and by far my favourite picture is of a Shell Garage on stilts! Though massive with temples, schools, etc it was a dump and looked completely polluted and poverty stricken. After that I went for a walk around saw the temple which had a solid gold roof that was on the borders of this poverty stricken water village, why oh why do they need a gold roof when people are living in their own shit next to it is beyond me, but apparently they chose to live that way. Yeah I'm sure they wouldn't take a gold brick from the roof and buy a nice house! Anyway after a couple of hours looking around I was completely bored and completely on my own. I got some disgusting food and just read my book for the night. This was about a 12hour round trip in total which wasn't that cheap. I wanted to slap the guy who told me to go but he was nice so I just said it was okay. Also it's worth a mention Brunei is Muslim country and so I couldn't even get a beer.
A couple of days back I took a 6hour bus ride to Sepilok and stayed in a jungle resort. Upon arrival the place seemed deserted, I found a swimming pool on the complex and went for a swim on me tod. Luckily I was in a dorm and I met a couple of British girls, an American lad, and an Ozzy who were all decent and we had some food and drank some Vodka, there'd brought back from the town centre.
Today I went to the Orang-Utan sanctuary much to my disappointment I didn't see Mikaela Strauchan (Mum emailed to say she'd seen a programme on tv about the Sanctuary and she was there), the place was okay but nothing that will change your life. Was cheap so it's okay. One of the British girls I met actually works in the sanctuary and she was saying that behind the seens they also have bears but they kept in really poor conditions because all the money and publicity goes to the orang utans. Shame really. So I thought I'd use my thousand of dedicated blog readers to expose them!!!!
While planning with my manager in KK we also booked me in for some scuba! Yes the island is called Sipadan and I quote Mr Jacques Costeau 'I have seen other places like Sipadan, 45 years ago, but now no more. Now we have found again an untouched peice of art....a jewl'. So if Jacky boy says it's a goodun I'm excited. In order to make it to Spidadan I first need to get to Semporna to make the boat the following day so staying in the jungle I'd need to leave @ 6:30am before the public busses run and thus the hostel thought lets cash in! Gits, they were guna charge me a fortune more then what I paid to do a six hour bus ride when the station is only 45mins away! shocking, so I got the public bus this afty to Sandakan supposedly close to the bus terminal for pittance but the availability of information here is really shit. So fingers crossed I get the right bus tomorrow.
Borneo turning out to be character building I would say, it's been quite lonely really and just not like the asia I know and love. But I suppose you just don't know these things until you try them. Still looking forward to coming home now not long to go.
See you all soon