Culinary Adventures, Travel
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Eating Borneo #5 – Sukau

Mr Aji Tours

On Christmas Eve, Me, The Koala and A met up with my sister Joey and her boyfriend D at Sandakan airport in the Sabah area of Borneo. Our first day in the area, we met with Mr Aji who chauffeured us in style to Sukau and then onto the Kinabatangan River for an early afternoon river cruise.

Mr Aji is a passionate wildlife photographer and had one of the biggest zoom lenses I’ve seen up close. It was incredible to see all the animals in the wild and Mr Aji has a hell of a keen eye. We saw proboscis monkeys leaping from tree to tree, An orangutan mother with her baby, a troop of curious macaques, lots of birds like the rhinoceros hornbill, snake bird, egret, black and white hornbill, eagle, Stockbill and common kingfishers.

Because we were on the river earlier and longer than other tours, we had the river to ourselves. The boat driver turned off the engine and we just floated down the river and listen to the jungle sounds. It was amazing. Our tour was 3-4 hours long while other cruises are 2 hours.

The river was very peaceful despite hearing about flooding in the area, we felt perfectly safe.

The big river.

We saw a whole lot of proboscis monkeys leaping through the trees.

The small river.

Bridge so that the monkeys can cross the river safely.

Macaques playing in the trees.

A large male proboscis monkey.

Snake bird just about to take flight.

The rare rhinoceros hornbill. The mother and father look the same except for the eyes. Can’t remember the difference in the eyes, but you can’t see them in this photo anyway!

I couldn’t help feeling smug as we were leaving the river. As we were turn out, all the other tours were entering the river. It wouldn’t be as charming having to share the river and jungle.

We stayed at a peaceful family run place right on the river and had a yummy dinner made by the family.

Dinner of chicken curry, fish and vegetables.

Our room. The ceiling fan kept all the mosquitos away and we didn’t get a single bite that night.

The next morning we went on an hour and a half jungle trek at 6.30am. Here we got to see things you don’t see by boat. Again, Mr Aji’s keen eye pointed a lot of stuff out that we would have missed completely. We saw a lot of interesting bugs and critters. There was elephant poo, but the elephants had moved on.

A steampunk bracelet?

Some trippy looking mushrooms.

Bert’s eyebrows?

Only tourists take photos of trees.

Some overdressed bugs.

A curled up insect. It really was solid and not at all creepy when all it’s legs were inside.

A tiny mushroom.

Jungle style false nails?

The Gomantong Caves

We made this trip especially and I can’t say it was worth the 3 hours to get there and back. It’s on the way to Sukau so it would have been better to visit the caves on the way. Workers have to climb up to 90 metres high in places on these rickety looking rope ladders. Avoid these caves if cockroaches make you nervous. There are roaches everywhere as well as mounds of bat poo. Pack a torch to make it a bit easier. Wear shoes instead of jandals unless you enjoy cockroaches crawling over your feet.

Workers huts on ground…

And high up in the mountain.

Entering the giant mouth of the cave.

The workers must climb dizzying heights to collect birds nest.

A heart shaped hole.

My sister Joey holds a birds nest. This is what all the fuss is about.

The wooden path is slippery with bat poo.

One of the workers.

I would highly recommend Mr Aji to anyone looking to visit this area.

All meals, transport and accommodation are included.

Prawn Sambal is a popular Malaysian dish. Yummy but verging on too spicey for my palate.

Joey’s seafood noodles topped with a perfectly fried egg.

Tour Highlights:

  1. A macaque coughing like a human
  2. A family (mother, father, baby) of rhinoceros hornbills
  3. Picking out a super camouflaged monitor lizard high up in a tree
  4. Borneo red chili!

Tour Tips:

  1. Socks and long pants for the jungle trek.
  2. A good zoom lens for river cruise photos.
  3. Surprisingly, mosquitos weren’t an issue by the river.

1 Comment

  1. This trip looks amazing. I’ve been to Peninsular Malaysia a few times but never Borneo. Someday!! I love those creatures. They all look like little pieces of art and the “Steampunk” centipede made me laugh because my Mum is a jewellery designer and she’s quite into Steampunk. I’ll send her a link.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog:)

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