The Shadow at Dawn
One of the things I enjoy most as a travel agent is when I get a client who wants to go somewhere different, but doesnít know where. What about Borneo? I have sent many families to the Malaysian Borneo and they have enjoyed the trip immensely. A little off the beaten track there is enough demand from visitors for there to be good quality hotels, transport and communications.
And what has Borneo got to offer? Just about everything to please all members of the family. Beaches, coral reefs and turtles; orang-utans and miniature rhinos in Sepilok; soaring peaks such as Mt Kinabalu; historical sites such as the Death March camp at Kundasang; the Niah Caves; dayak longhouses; and cities such as Kota Kinabula, Kuching and Bandar Seri Begawan(or BSB, the Bruneian capital).
Having travelled to Borneo on more than one occasion I have no hesitation in recommending a visit there. One of the great experiences of my life was climbing Mt. Kinabula, which at 4101m (or 13, 455í) is the highest peak in South East Asia. There is a regular path and steps all the way, but the mountain rises steeply out of the surrounding jungles and it is the altitude that slows one down. The recommended method is to climb steadily to the Laban Rata Hut, where one eats and sleeps until a 2.00 am awakening so that one can reach the top at sunrise before the inevitable clouds roll in.
The path wends its way upwards through dense jungle and there are pitcher plants and orchids among the trees. As one climbs higher the vegetation changes to an alpine-type environment. At the top the mountain is an amazing array of jagged rocky shapes. The view from the summit is spectacular. As dawn appears a vast triangular shadow is cast far out across the South China Sea but this is only fleeting as the sun appears and the jungle below emerges from the darkness. And then, the predicted clouds appear and the whole scene changes again. Absolutely magic!
I also recommend that my clients look at Brunei with its interesting Kampong Ayer (Water Village) off BSB, huge sultanís palace (1500+ rooms) and golden mosque. Nearby Niah Caves, in Sarawak, are a must and there are opportunities to travel by boat up the rivers to dayak longhouses and stay overnight: or visit the markets and beaches of Kuching.
A Borneo Adventure is a lot of fun Ė and if you are not sure about your next destination then I would be delighted to help you plan a visit of a different type!
Viv Craig, of Vivís Travel Bug, can be contacted on 4455 5047