Malaysia

My trip to Malaysia in 2013 and some practical information

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneo, Malaysia

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation CentreTo get to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre you can take bus number 14 from mini bus station. You can pay for the ticket on the bus – MR5. Essential – it’s mini bus station!

The mini bus leaves twice a day for morning and afternoon feeding at 10am and 3pm. The journey takes 45mins. I think the bus leaves at 9am so but double check once there.

Adopt an orangutan

Orangutans Sepilok Borneo Malaysia

Orangutan Sepilok Borneo Malaysia

Orangutan Sepilok Borneo Malaysia

if you ever wonder how to eat a banana

 

Sepilok Borneo Malaysia

Sepilok Borneo malaysia

Sepilok Borneo Malaysia

Sepilok Borneo Malaysia

Sepilok Borneo Malaysia

Orangutan Sepilok Borneo

Sepilok Borneo

Sepilok Borneo

Sepilok Borneo

Warning monkeys

5 interesting things about orangutans

Sepilok borneo

After feeding we went for a walk into jungle. Bird trail. I haven’t seen even one bird. Some butterflies, spiders and bugs. But then out of the blu or rather green (as for jungle) this creature shows up and scares bejesus out of us.

Orangutan Sepilok Borneo

orangutan sepilok borneo

and leaves as if nothing had happened

Advertisements

Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia

We decided to take a bus from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. 319km took us 7 hours instead of 5. The ticket costs MR48.

On the way we enjoyed European techno music from early ’90s and karate movies including:

The views are spectacular. The road meanders between high mountains and you can admire valleys covered with forests. The slopes are strengthened with concrete to avoid stone avalanches which might make the journey less picturesque at times. We got to Sandakan after dark and took a taxi from bus station to the hostel we picked from our guide (MR20). Our taxi driver was quite unusual. He told us that the government tells taxi drivers to describe their village to foreigners. “Village” is the word he used. He showed us the hospital where he was born, where the English Tea House is, Catholic Church and day market. He also told us about Orangutan Sanctuary and Discovery Center.

Sandakan BackpackersWe got out in front of Sea View Hostel but we didn’t like it all that much. After short search for a place to stay we ended up in Borneo Sandakan Backpackers.  There we got picked up by Raf (Rafael) from Switzerland. He recommended this Irish place to us called Shamrock Cafe. Hahahhaa if we were expecting Guinness we were totally disappointed. Typical Malaysian beanery. We joined a merry company already enjoying cold beer on the side walk and had a great night out.

One of the people we met was Jonathan who turned out to be a Manager of the hostel we were staying in. The other Mao a tourist guide and Jonathan’s friend. We had a really nice evening discussing culture, tourism and life while drinking cold beer. A bucket of beer (4 bottles) was MR27 and 2 large ones MR36.

Shamrock restaurant Sandakan Borneo

Even though Malaysia is a Muslim country the Sharia law includes only the followers of Allah. Muslims have their own police. It turns out that for a wife you need to pay MR1000, the better educated the higher the price. A woman with higher diploma “costs” MR20,000. A child can only get an ID if parents are married and a wedding costs between MR40,000 and MR80,000.

There is no such a thing as Malaysian cuisine. It’s a mountain country and hasn’t develop it’s own cuisine. The food available is a mixture of Chinese, Thai and Hindu dishes. The best dishes they could recommend us was sea food and Satay.

Best satay in Sandakan

Jonathan recommended the best satay in town to us. The picture above shows the place where it’s done. We were the only foreigners there. I can’t unfortunately say I liked it more than the ones I tried in Thailand. The main attraction in Sandakan was Orangutan Sanctuary. It turned out to be a day trip.  Other than that we just walked around the city, visited market and enjoyed the sun set in the harbor. Just to warn you the food there is not great and it’s very expensive. One of the dishes that got my attention was hot pot. Looked really good but was mild not to say tasteless and I.’s lemon chicken dish had 3 pieces of chicken in it. So do go there to enjoy the view but not for the food.

Next post on Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre but for now some more pictures of Sandakan.

Promenade in Sandakan

Patrol Sandakan

Red Horse beer

Soup Sandakan

My favorite dish in Sandakan, Borneo

My favorite dish in Sandakan, Borneo

A. favorite car in Sandakan ;)

A.’s favorite car in Sandakan ;)

Sandakan city center

Sandakan city center

Badmington real feather aileron

Doctor educated in Ireland/UK

Doctor educated in Ireland/UK

One of 2 restaurants which I can recommend in Sandakan

One of 2 restaurants which I can recommend in Sandakan

Second of 2 restaurants I can recommend in Sandakan

Second of 2 restaurants I can recommend in Sandakan

 

Food Market, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo Malaysia

Just next to the harbor in Kota Kinabalu there is a huge market. Part of it is located in concrete building with stalls full of souvenirs, clothes, bags, scarfs, shoes, jewellery, drums and many many more. Next to it there is an open air food market with fish, meat, fruit and veg. You can also sit down and have something to eat and drink. Have a look yourselves.

Food Market at sun set Kota Kinabalu Borneo MalaysiaFood Market Kota Kinabalu Borneo Malaysia

The best duck ever! Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

This is the place where we had the best duck I ever had in my life! Ti’s an opinion shared by all the members of our group. Everyday since we discovered this place we had at least one meal there. It had recently been opened and didn’t even have printed menu!

You could see how they chopped the duck with your own eyes and every time it was perfect! Crispy skin, layer of fat and then soft and juicy meat. Heaven!

Last day of our stay we went there for breakfast. A. ordered the whole duck with the waiter on our way to the table. We were still considering if we want noodles or soup before ordering. The waiter was going from one table to the other but avoided ours somehow. Finally we called him and asked for another dish. He seemed in a hurry and didn’t take the order from the other 2 people from our group. This seemed quite strange. So we called him 2nd time and ordered two more dishes. He didn’t seem to understand. And finally it turned out he couldn’t believe the whole duck was for one person! He thought A. ordered for all of us! Greedy Europeans!

Ming Ge cafe is located at Jalan Pantai, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Business hours from 7am to 2pm so don’t sleep in too long ;)

Business Hours: Daily 7am-2pm
Jalan Pantai

Pulau Gaya Water Village – Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia

Just off the shore of Kota Kinabalu we visited a village build on water. This was on the way to Pulau Sapi, our guide/motorboat driver needed to deliver some gas and collect tools what gave us an opportunity to see a glimpse of life over the water.

The homes in the water village are made of wood and bamboo. There is a labyrinth of wooden pathways/bridges called  jambatan connecting each household with others. What stroke me the most is that even in conditions which seem very provisional for us Europeans people make effort to decorate their surroundings. Let it be drapery in windows, a bit of color on walls or proper plaster. We recognized some of the houses as shops or workshops. There also seemed to be a lot more children there than in the city. They were playing in the water, running around and waving at us. It’s funny how people can use any material available to build shelter which then becomes home. To survive we really don’t need all that much. How has it happened that life became not about survival but about collecting stuff.

Pulau Manukan, Borneo, Malaysia

Manukan Island is the second largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Malaysia’s first marine national park. It is located in the East Malaysian state of Sabah, just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and is easily accessible by boat.

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

In general, beach at Pulau Manukan is a bit less spectacular compared to the one in Pulau Sapi. Nonetheless, the its shortcomings above the water surface is compensated by the rich and colourful marine life that you can find underneath it. Really, people come to Pulau Manukan for the diving and snorkeling.

There is a resort on the island called Manukan Island Resort, operated by a leisure outfit by the name of Sutra Sanctuary Lodges. Other than that, there are basic tourist facilities provided on the beach, such as water-based activity centre (for renting kayaks, snorkeling gears, life jackets, etc), a small café and public bathroom.

 

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

Pulau Manukan food price list

Pulau Manukan Borneo Malaysia

 

Pualu Sapi (Borneo, Malaysia) – Adventure

So we were walking down the path in Pulau Sapi inbetween high rain forest trees. We were going away from the crowds to find a beach where we could be on our own.

Follow the…

… Indiana Jones

It was a huge Water monitor – lizard commonly found in South Asia. They achieve size up to 2m and as we found out change color. Below the pictures of the same lizard but among the rocks.

Water monitor Borneo Malaysia

and here is one more video from different island when we found at least 5 monitors venturing around people

Borneo – Kota Kinabalu – Pulau Sapi

Kota Kinabalu

What surprised me during the flight from Georgetown to Kota Kinabalu (KK) is that the flight attendants were wearing jeans. Branded Air Asia naturally! After landing the usual taxi counter helped us to get transportation to the city. It was already well after dark. We didn’t know where we wanted to stay so again chose a name from our guide. Just for your information Trekker’s Lodge doesn’t exist anymore. We ended up in Sensi Hostel. In KK hostels represent a better standard than the hotels. We found that out later on on our way back from Sandakan. The rooms (doubles without windows) cost MR70 and for 4 people MR120. they also have proper cheap dormitories.

When we were checking in we heard someone calling for help. The receptionist didn’t react at all. We didn’t know what to do but were about to go upstairs where the voice was coming from. And so we did. We met her on the stairs leading to the rooms. She looked weak and pale. She said she doesn’t feel well and carried on downstairs. We offered help but I think we expected the staff to help her.

We just managed to put down our bags when we heard knocking on the door. It was the German girl from before. She asked if we could help her as she needs to get to the hospital and nobody wants to help her. We agreed. We took basic things and came with her to the reception. The lady there was still unconcerned about our acquaintance but she managed to explain to us where the 24h clinic is (Permai Polyclinics Group). We were really worried and wanted to hurry up but the girl was too fragile to walk fast. If you ever need it here is the map:

Kota Kinabalu Malaysia BorneoOn the way we asked probably too many questions. What are the symptoms, when did it start, how she feels. It turns out she was climbing Mount Kinabalu. She said she was grant as long as she drunk her own water but on the way back she didn’t have any left so used local containers. She was quite unlucky as it hasn’t been raining for a while and so the water wasn’t fresh and might have been contaminated. Symptoms: high fever, vomiting, diarrhea. She was trying to drink as much as she could but her body refused any food.
I have to say I was really surprised with the care she received in the clinic. I can’t say a bad word about it. The nurses asked for symptoms and in few minutes took her to private rooms to measure blood pressure and get as many details as possible. We waited with her until she was called in to talk to the doctor. She came back after 5 mins. They gave her injections to stop her from vomiting and she said that she felt better almost instantly. We waited for the drugs for a while. This took the longest but nothing like waiting for 7h in emergency department in Galway. The prescribed her 3 different drugs. Of course you can by card but don’t ask me why her golden MasterCard wasn’t accepted. Maybe restrictions due to unknown location? A. paid for her MR148 (EUR33). I was so proud of him! It costs EUR100 to see a doctor in Emergency Department in Galway.
I really can’t remember her name. She was traveling alone in Australia and New Zealand. She was due to go to Manila next to meet her boyfriend. After her experiences in Malaysia she didn’t have a good opinion about the local people. Nobody would help her when she needed it. Just to let you know she was due to fly to manila on 30th October, on 8th November Super Typhoon Haiyan — one of the strongest storms recorded on the planet — smashed into the Philippines. I really hope she is alright.
We met some interesting people in that hostel this night. They told us interesting life stories and a bit about Borneo’s history. Now let me introduce you to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
You can get there by boat; we paid RM30 per person plus MR10 entrance fee to the park. Keep your ticket as you only pay once even if you visit more than 1 island. I will let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!

First Island Pulau Sapi, crowds scared us away from the main beach and we ventured further down the path trough the jungle.

Ships harbour Kota Kinabalu

Just 200 metres wide and half a kilometre long, Sapi is one of the more popular islands with 5 kilometres of nature trails. A sand bank links it to Gaya. At low tide, it’s possible to wade between the two islands.

Our “private” beach

Tree Pualu SapiJungle Pualu Sapi BorneoDiving boat Pualu Sapi BorneoWater sports Pualu Sapi Borneo

The biggest adventure on Pulau Sapi is still jet to come!

Georgetwon, Penang, Malaysia

Lots to be said about why we flew to Penang from Langkawi instead to take a ferry. Also let’s not fail to mention that our flight was delayed and even thought we left much earlier than our friend/owner of Rainbow Lodge we arrived in Georgetown much later, so late in fact he gave our reserved rooms away and we had to look for a different accommodation. (Taxi from airport to Georgetown MR44) Which let me tell you wasn’t easy. And to find two rooms with windows in the same hostel. Impossible! Well for us without window (flip of a coin or three I can’t remember) in Kimberley House just around the corner.

We stayed in Georgetown for 2 nights and oh boy we had fun! First D met up with Estonian guy and took him with us to sightsee Little India. Oh what a place! I could have sworn I made video clips but can’t find them. It was all tacky, sparklin, rainbow of colours and Bollywood music! I found it!!! Yey there you go

Ok, maybe this clip gives just a tiny, tiny feel of what it felt like being there but I’m not an awarded director. Because I have so much to tell and the post would be dragging let me put it down in bullet points

  • Dinner in Little India – one of the best we had on this trip, service “had balls” when we didn’t want to try everything in the menu the waiter was quite disappointed and informed us about it, we went mostly for chicken, yum yum, so we had: rice, Naan bread – different types, chicken kurma, chicken butter masala and grilled chicken. Naan was served with insane green colour sauce. The staff went next door to buy beer for us and they charged us LESS than it cost in a shop! The size of the Tiger bottle was 640ml – shop price MR15, there MR13.50. As the Estonian was single we joked with the waiter that next time when he comes he will get a wife with the food free of charge hahahahaa oh you should have been there to laugh

  • The Estonian – left country when he was 20 years old to Australia, he worked in different farms for 2,5 years. Interiary Brisbane – Kuala Lumpur and then Georgetown. He said MR200 was stolen from him in KL. He didn’t really know where to go next but took advice on Bangkok. He wants to go back home to do military service as it seems enjoyable to him. It was so strange to meet someone who only set out to travel and had no idea what he wants to see
  • Back to Little India, it was a week before Diwali so the sale was on, I got myself earings and A. bought me a set of necklace and earings very nice, I’m still waiting for a proper chance to wear them. I. in the meantime got henna tatoo (for MR3 hand size)

  • We sat down on a street krebstone and drunk beer chatting about travel, karma, meditation, democracy and prices when a Malay came over and started to chat us up. He was running a hostel, prices very low: MR15 single room, MR10 dormitory, MR25 double room, I had his business card somewhere and promissed to put his details in my blog (all A. doing), now we never saw his place but if you are tight on budget check this out (picture above)

Snake Temple Georgetown Penang Malaysia

  • Snake Temple, (bus number 401E, 101 maybe 104 MR2.70 but it takes 30 min), it wasn’t what we have imagined but there is a lot of snakes on specially prepared stalls (see one on the left hand side in a corner on the picture above? Where is Wally?) and then in the back garden on the trees

  • Beautiful meal in a asian type market stalls already closing before reopening in the evening, we had deep fried ice-cream for starter, soups served in clay pots and plenty of orange juice which this time wasn’t over sweetened or in 3/4 consisting of ice

  • our first breakfast at the corner of Kimberley Street – see picture below

Now all different pictures from Georgetown maybe I should dedicate 2 posts to this city but well we need to get on to Borneo!

It made me laugh, polar bear on the desert dreaming of mattress well…

Riksha instead of tuk tuk

First floor display window… or maybe it’s only me

Century egg or pidan also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, thousand-year-old egg, and millennium egg, is a Chinese cuisine ingredient made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing.

Georgetown Penang Malaysia

Ok last one even tough I didn’t publish any showing Chinese temples (beautiful in red and gold with insane sculptures) or fireworks or so many other things that draw my attention.