An Orangutan in Borneo, Malaysia
The harbour at Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia
Ladies at a market in Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia
Nigh birdlife in the jungles of Borneo, Malaysia
Turtle Islands Park in Sabah Malaysia
The beach at Semporna in Borneo, Malaysia
Spices at a market in Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo, Malaysia
Clouds over Mt Kinabalu on Borneo in Malaysia
An Orangutan in Borneo, MalaysiaThe harbour at Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, MalaysiaLadies at a market in Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, MalaysiaNigh birdlife in the jungles of Borneo, MalaysiaTurtle Islands Park in Sabah MalaysiaThe beach at Semporna in Borneo, MalaysiaSpices at a market in Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, MalaysiaSepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo, MalaysiaClouds over Mt Kinabalu on Borneo in Malaysia
  • 4.Follow in the steps of David Attenbourough

    When David Attenborough visited the Gomantong Caves, he claimed it contained the largest population of bats in the world!

    If you think you can cope with the smell and the cockroaches, the whole bat cave experience will be unforgettable.

    The limestone caves are around 65 million years old and home to some 600,000 to two million bats. Inside the main cave (Black Cave), a boardwalk (about 100 metres long) from the main gaping entrance follows the cave walls.

    The resident bats exit daily from the cave at sunset, in plumes of thousands at a time, providing an amazing spectacle against the clear blue sky.

    The caves are also home to hundreds of swiftlets from which the edible bird nests are collected by local villagers during set harvesting seasons. The edible nests are a most unusual natural product and a delicacy to the Chinese.

    The caves are an awesome sight, however, in order to appreciate its unique beauty, one has to be prepared to withstand the smell of bat guano and the constant crawlies that feed on it. Wear clothes of which you can dispose straight after.

    Gomantong Caves is approximately a 2 hour drive from Sandakan.

  • 5.Dive in a place perfect in name and life

    In the Bajau and Malay language, Semporna literally means ‘perfect’, and perfect it is.

    Semporna and its many islands are rumoured to be like a dream come true with its pure white sandy beaches, coconut palms and the tranquil waters of the Sulawesi Sea. Semporna is the departure point to one of the world’s best dive sites and island-resorts of Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai.

    Semporna main feature is its massive 600m drop on the sea bed. Around Sipadan you can watch spiralling vortex of barracudas, schools of trevally, reef sharks and huge bumphead parrotfish as well as turtles feeding on sponges or algae.

    Semporna is about an hours drive from the township of Tawau. Sipadan is about a 40 minutes boat ride from Semporna.

  • 6.Conquer the rapids of Borneo’s longest raft route

    If you enjoy the thrill of white water rafting or kayaking, the Padas River is the place for you and, best of all, it is only a day trip away from Kota Kinabalu.

    Stretching up to 15km, this is the longest white-water rafting route in Borneo. The journey along Padas River takes around 1 to 2 hours, depending on the river-stage. Braving the huge boulders strewn along the Padas Gorge provides the rafter a heart pounding experience and a huge adrenalin rush.

    The country side around the river is dotted by traditional villages tucked among bamboo and banana trees where local children never seem to tire of waving and cheering on tourists as they come by.

    Transportation is arranged on all tours. Generally, a modern and well equipped bus will take you as far as the town of Beaufort where rafters will board an old diesel train from Beaufort, on a short scenic ride along the banks of the river to the start of the rafting or kayaking route at Pangi Station.

    The Padas River is about an hour and a half north of Kota Kinabalu.

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25 November 2012