Tag Archives: adventure

Arriving in Paradise

On Thursday afternoon, we left Borneo for the next leg of our Malaysian adventure, our first flight brought us back to West Malaysia (on the peninsula) to Kuala Lumpur. Our second flight brought us to the island province of Langkawi – on the west side of the peninsula just south of the Thai border. Or as I have decided to call it – Paradise.

Mornings in Paradise

Mornings in Paradise

We landed shortly after 7pm and upon arrival looked for our pick up from the hotel. I had called from the hotel in Sandakan, confirmed our arrival time and was told someone would be there to pick us up.

After walking around aimlessly for a bit, John approached a man who appeared to be from a hotel – but was obviously not looking for us – to ask if he knew where we would find our hotel pick up. He turned out to be from the right hotel, but was not expecting us. Our phone call had not been communicated – but luckily he was there already.

With him was a woman who (when realizing we were staying at their hotel) offered us cold wet towels. A minute later, the general manager of the hotel showed up, handed us a card and introduced himself, requesting that we contact him if we ever needed anything during our stay.

Wow – what service. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant for us. HA! A few minutes prior as the plane landed I told John I thought the resort we were flying over was where we were staying. The lady in the seat in front of us turned around and confirmed my observation. She then continued to make small talk, noting that they would be staying there as well.

Our hotel

Our hotel

Back to the general manager – right after greeting us he suddenly rushed away – to greet the woman who we spoke to on the plane, her husband and her son. We were then introduced to her husband – who happens to be the head of the company that owns the resort.

Suddenly, being greeted by the general manager of our resort at the airport made more sense. They began to walk out and we continued to go with them until the original man, who didn’t know he was supposed to be meeting us, told us we had to wait.

Did I mentioned this place was beautiful?

Did I mentioned this place was beautiful?

Apparently, our royal treatment was short lived. They went in their private car/boat while we waited another 45 minutes at the airport for another plane with more guests. Then we were taken to the ferry dok where we needed to wait another 15 minutes for a ferry to take us to the resort.

We stayed at a wonderful resort on a private island off the main island of Langkawi. This sounded fabulous in theory, but in reality proved to be more of a nuisance than anything. Mostly because of the ferry which did not run frequently or even on schedule, and the transfer time that going to and from the island ate up.

Waiting for a ferry to the main island!

Waiting for a ferry to the main island!

It was a long day and we were exhausted by the time we got checked in.


Borneo Adventure 2

Part Two – Continuation of the first day

After our lunch at the lodge and checking into our rooms, we had about an hour or two to ourselves. John and I went and explored the lodge and the walkways through the forest surrounding the lodge.

Outside our chalet at the lodge

Outside our chalet at the lodge

Flowers at the lodge

Flowers at the lodge

Around 4pm, we left again on a smaller motorized boat to go upstream and look for more wildlife. There was talk of elephants being further upstream in the days prior. So our guide, Albert, said we would go a ways up river and then come back slowly looking for wildlife. I really wanted to see an elephant, but apparently it is quite rare.

Exploring on our own

Exploring on our own before the wildlife cruise

We traveled upstream for about an hour without seeing much of anything. I was tired of sitting in boats and felt like it would be a waste of a trip as it seemed there was nothing to be seen in the thick forests lining the riverbanks.

On a boat again!

On a boat again!

We then came across a film crew who apparently had been sitting in the same spot since before noon and had seen some elephants crossing the river at noon – it was now 5pm and they said they were waiting for more.

Yes, there are many monkeys in that tree. (Bring a good camera when you go to Borneo!)

Yes, there are many monkeys in that tree. (Bring a good camera when you go to Borneo!)

We stopped for a moment and continued up a bit further, saw some more monkeys and turned around. This time when we stopped and our guide spoke to the driver of the film crew’s boat, they relayed to us that in fact about 50 pygmy elephants had emerged from the woods and swam across the large river. They also said one female had turned around and gone back in to the woods without crossing and there were two males that had not crossed.

As we sat on our boat talking, we began to hear movement in the bushes – big movement – not just monkey business. A few minutes later, the most amazing thing happened – a female elephant appeared on the riverbank.

A female Pygmy elephant!

A female Pygmy elephant!

We backed up our boat, as she was right near us, to give her room to cross. Then we watched an elephant swim all the way across the large Kinabatangan river. A-MAZ-ING!

Getting out of the river

Getting out of the river

She struggled getting up the bank on the other side of the river, but when she did and disappeared back into the forest we heard the cries of her herd as they greeted her.

She made it.

She made it.

Seeing an elephant in the zoo is one thing, seeing an elephant in the wild is quite another. I have seen elephants in Cambodia (and ridden them) but they were captive and forced to hang out in the city. The pygmy elephant is a smaller sub-species of the Asian elephant and only lives on Boreno.

Not only that, but the Borneo Pygmy elephant is endangered. There are only an estimated 1500 left on the island. Seeing one emerge from the jungle was such a rare and fantastic experience.

On the trip back to the lodge, we were able to see a number of other animals, including 4 species of monkeys (proboscis, long-tailed macaques, pig-tailed macaques and silver leaf monkeys), many birds – including 2 types of king fishers, and fireflies.

Sun going down over the river

Sun going down over the river

After dinner, we took a late evening walk behind the lodge to see birds ready to sleep, lizards, and lots of insects, moths & butterflies.

Getting ready to sleep

Getting ready to sleep


%d bloggers like this: