First in Service News

Reporting on Borneo

Our fashion corporate travel specialist, Miriam Guillen, recently explored the third largest island in the world, Borneo. Check out why she is raving about her experience in this remote jungle beauty and all of the wildlife it has to offer.

  • Cruising along the Kinabatangan River
    Cruising along the Kinabatangan River
  • Colorful Stork-billed Kingfisher
    Colorful Stork-billed Kingfisher
  • A family of proboscis monkeys
    A family of proboscis monkeys
  • Adorable Malayan sun bear
    Adorable Malayan sun bear
  • Nocturnal insect
    Nocturnal insect
  • Spotting a snake at a night tour
    Spotting a snake at a night tour
  • Sukai Rainforest Lodge
    Sukai Rainforest Lodge
  • Playful orangutan enjoying his meal
    Playful orangutan enjoying his meal

Why would you recommend visiting Borneo?
Borneo has been on our client’s radar for the past year and I decided to see it for myself. It is a wildlife paradise with amazing biodiversity only second to the Amazon jungle. It is filled with flora and wildlife to delight anyone who loves exotic adventures.

What kind of wildlife did you experience?
Cruising along the Kinabatangan River, we experienced so many varieties of exotic wildlife. I felt the biggest joy watching the different types of monkeys, primates and exotic birds. Specifically, the floppy nose proboscis monkey, the silvery langur, the elusive orangutan, the adorable Malayan sun bear, the rainbow hued kingfisher, and the brightly adorned hornbill, which looks like a raven with an elaborate orange headdress. When the time to leave came, I was not ready and could have spent days drifting down the river.

What were the highlights of your trip?
Seeing so many endemic species of wildlife by the banks of the Kinabatangan river, the night walking tour and visiting the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. The Centre is one of the few places in the world visitors get up close to the orangutans in their natural habitat. The Centre takes in wild orangutans that lost their homes or orangutans that lived in captivity and rehabilitates them for re-entry into the jungle. We learned about efforts to stop the deforestation of Borneo’s jungles. As soon as you step foot inside, you realize you are in the orangutan’s world. The primates roam freely, hang from the trees and sometimes walk right past you. I could not stop watching them, especially at feeding time. It is a great place for spotting these majestic animals in an ecologically friendly and ethically correct way.

Where did you stay?
Borneo encompasses three countries – Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. We visited the region of Sabbah in Malaysia. Our hotels were, the Shangri-la Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabbah, the Sepilok Nature Resort in Sandakan, close to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehab Center and the Sukai Rainforest Lodge, a National Geographic Lodge on the banks of the Kinabatangan River.

What did you learn that visitors would find interesting?
I absolutely adored the Malayan sun bears! What was most fascinating was learning that they are the smallest bears in the world and the second rarest bear species after the panda. Legend says the golden half crest moon-shaped markings on their chest represents the rising sun. Very interesting!

When is the best time to go?
Borneo is a rainforest, the best time to visit is between March and October, when the island is at its driest.

What did you like about your pre and post stay in Borneo?
Our pre-stay in Singapore was perfect after many hours of travel. We relaxed on arrival and had a full schedule the next day. We toured different neighborhoods in Singapore, all colorful and full of character. Needless to say, our taste buds were pleased with a local favorite, Roti Prata, which is a fried flatbread served with a flavorful meat-based curry and sipped on a traditional Malay, sweet, yet spicy ginger tea, “Teh Halia”.

At our post-stay, in Kuala Lumpur, we carved out time to explore the downtown area and the jaw-dropping Sultan Abdul Samad Building. I loved the traditional Hainanese coffee and cycling through a maze of hidden alleyways that connected the new and the old of Kuala Lumpur.

Ready for an adventure of a lifetime? To book the journey of your dreams, contact our team at imagine@firstinservice.com

 

Interview by Jamie Lee Garcia

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