In April-May this year Piaf and I were lucky enough to travel to Borneo for two weeks. It took us about 3 months to plan, book flights and accommodation, which seems a long time only because it isn’t the easiest place to get to. It wasn't a simple matter of walking into a travel agent and booking a holiday. Trip Advisor was our saving grace when planning and the reviews online made it so easy. I really recommend this.
We started out by flying into Kota Kinabalu, which is like any big city when traveling - totally different to home and new experiences hiding behind the next corner. We based ourselves here for a under a week, but spend two of those days climbing 4095m up Mount Kinabalu.
The climb was the toughest workout of our lives, but so rewarding to conquer. We started out in 35oC heat when we left, reached the base camp in six hours at 3000m where we spent the night, got up at 2am for a further three hour climb in time to watch the sun rise in a 1oC environment. Then it was a slow decline to base camp, a quick breakfast, then a final five hour decent to the car. We burnt around 30,000 calories and our legs took about four days to recover so we could walk properly again, but wow it was fun!
The following days we visited a couple of orangutan rehabilitation centers to witness these powerful and playful yet innocent creatures and understand the pressures they face with the destruction of their natural habitats from increasing palm oil plantations. It was great to see the efforts employed by volunteers to look after these guys, but sad to learn the challenges they face.
We swam with turtles and bathed in the sun on Lankayan Island, which is a two hour speed boat ride away from everything. It's a tiny (mostly) self-sufficient Island that you can walk around in about twenty minutes or swim around in about one hour. The resort staff are excellent and you're treated with loads of amazing food. There were only 13 of us on the Island and no mobile phone coverage. How great is that!
The locals are lovely and we met some very cool travelers along the way. My favourite part of our trip was spending time at The Last Frontier in the Kinabatangan in amongst the rainforest and living up above the tree tops with the wild animals. In order to get to the tree top resort you need to climb 600 steps! When you've just completed a 4095m climb the last thing you want to do is climb again. At least that's what I thought. I lost count at 583 steps and loved everyone of them. The accommodation, food, hospitality, staff, boat cruise and jungle walk were all so amazing. If you never go to the Last Frontier you haven't really lived.
If you're looking for adventure, want to get out of your comfort zone but at the same time recharge your batteries, experience things up close in real life that you might only ever see on TV, my advice to you is to go to Borneo. You'll never forget this amazing place!