Borneo: Kota Kinabalu

Borneo is a beautiful and fascinating island that has so much to offer. The amazing (but endangered) ancient forests and animals living on it require our respect but also protection. Unfortunately protection often requires money and this is what is sadly missing on the island. The poverty is widely visible, but hopefully, shrinking. But it wasn’t always humans against nature. I am off to Kota Kinabalu, the biggest Malaysian city on island to see a samples of old tribes that used to live here, in the mountains and jungles.

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When flying with AirAsia I suggest you take a plunge and try their food, it’s cheap and quite tasty, too!

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Look through the clouds and you can see Mount Kinabalu, the highest point on the island reaching 4095 meters above the sea.  The whole area around the mountain is one of the most significant biological sites in South East Asia, and home to more than 300 species of birds and some 6000 various species of plants.

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A vast land full of untouched and protected jungle forest. A really pleasant sight!

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Touching down in Kota Kinabalu.

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Bomba = fire rescue team 🙂

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Off to a wander. As Kota Kinabalu is a seaside city you can expect plenty of sea food on the streets. And you get to chose what you want to eat while it’s still moving. I have mixed feeling about this – eating something you know was alive a few moments earlier?

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I am being picked up for the Tribal Village experience. It’s a journey through a handful of different tribe housing examples with local Malayans acting as natives. It was pretty darn awesome! The beautiful setting in the mountains and jungles added to the atmosphere. The experience included food sampling and a buffet meal at the end. So well worth the trip 🙂

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Kota Kinabalu City Mosque.

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The entrance led through a wooden swing bridge. It was pretty wobbly but fun 🙂

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The trip started with an introduction of Dusun people, living in the Northern Borneo.

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One of the tastiest samples was Rice Wine. Pity I did not ask for seconds…! Yummy!

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Cheers! Na Zdrowie!

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At this point it started to rain and… it was a really good experience. A native village in a tropical forest and monsoon rain really made it feel quite real.

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The guy is showing how to start a fire (by traction). It took a bit of effort but he did manage!

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The steps are definitely for smaller than mine feet…

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I bet a few people fell down these steps…

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I love the jungle feeling… look at the trees in the background and imagine wild monkeys jumping from branch to branch.

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Another sample tribe: Bajau, a group of people originally from the Philipines.

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Off to try a deep-fried goodie.

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Yummy!

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Food samples were really good and made me want more. But there was a buffet at the end of the tour so there was no need to get stuffed.

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Sample wedding room.

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One of the last tribes, Lundayeh, was probably the most memorable of them all. Ever heard about headhunters? If you happened to be an enemy to this tribe you could end up in one of the pots showed below.

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A photo with a young headhunter ^.^

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One of the group members had to have a chat with the Murut tribe leader.  Fairly young this lad was for the role!

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Tribal games – jumping floor. I slipped on it….

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Tattoo makers. I got one too.

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Fresh tatoo.

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The tour ended with a dance / fight performance. Quite enjoyable and we were invited to join the performance.

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Back to Kota Kinabalu. I felt sorry for this cyclist…

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Another day and another adventure. Off to see neighboring islands.

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Manukan Island was today’s pick.

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Frown more!

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Yesterday’s tattoo.

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Welcome to Palau Manukan. The island was particularly popular among Chinese tourists. Perhaps due to relatively close proximity to China?

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Water was clear, but kind of green. The day was pretty warm, around 26*C so definitely a beach weather.

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Less touristy side of this little island.

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Why not 🙂

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This monitor lizard scared the hell out of me… I did not see it until It made some noise and run off just a few feet away from me.

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Sunset point. Unfortunately I made it too early…

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Very peculiar flooded tree…

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Hello!

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There was a few operators taking guests to and off the island. It felt a bit chaotic and a bit stressful as it was one of the last departures for the day…

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But I waved mu ticket and was soon on the boat going back to the shore.

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Hello, again!

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Night market. Not aimed at tourists but locals more like.

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Durian Ice cream.  Tasted better than it smelled…

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Goodbye Kota Kinabalu!

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Goodbye Borneo. It was a pleasure!

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Slums and resorts.

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Thanks for popping by!


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