Sabah – pirates and unprecedented good deeds in a distant part of Borneo

zalez

07.05.

We are back at our favorite Malaysian State Sarawak, but this time for a short period. We stop to eat at the last town of the state – Lawas. The atmosphere is more Muslim than the other towns we passed through. The people from the off-road team treat us to lunch at a very nice restaurant in otherwise not so interesting small town Lawas.

The Malaysian part of Borneo consists of two states – the huge Sarawak and the so called North Borneo, Sabah State.

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Brunei Darussalam – one of the last sultanates on earth, oil wells and centuries-old jungles

Brunei Darussalam

jamiqta

mosque Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin

Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan

 

Population: around 500 000

Official religion: Islam

State system: Absolute monarchy – sultanate

Citizens of EU have the right to enter and stay 3 months on Brunei”s territory. Our passports are stamped and soon we fly on the highway. It is always exciting when one enters a new country. As for most countries in the world, we have stereotypes for this one too – of course almost always they prove to be absolutely wrong and are far from the real life situation. We know very little about Brunei – it is one of the last sultanates on earth (together with Oman) and is the fifth most rich country in the world due to its natural gas and oil resources. We are eager to see what awaits us here.
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In the lands of the Kelabit people – giant insects, ears hanginig to the shoulders and nomad tribes

muka-beach

The beach at Mukah

28.04

In the morning while we bathe in the South China Sea Mr. Shushtari is stung by a jelly-fish. He later told me that his heart had stopped for a second and he felt excruciating pain from the strong neuro-toxin. The tentacles touched his neck, chest and leg and the moment he got out of the sea red blisters started forming.

By the look of it we decide that this is not the most dangerous kind of jelly-fish and we run to the tent to put ointment on the blisters. Later the fisherman, we communicated with before, shows up (he is from the Melanau ethnic group, a Catholic) and tells us that this is the pink jelly-fish and though the sting is quite painful it is not dangerous. He says that he has been stung by the white jelly-fish that can cause fainting and medical care could be needed. Well obviously we were very lucky to be stung by the pink one.
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In the heart of Borneo – sailing on Rajang River and living with the headhunters

saratok-river

22.04

In the morning we go out together again. We eat some roti at a Malaysian eatery and the two of us continue walking around Saratok. People here are mostly Malay, which is not typical for Borneo. Usually towns are inhabited mainly by Chinese.
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Orangutan, stinky predatory flowers, teachers-bodybuilders and other endemits of Borneo

Jenska-uchudena

15.04

We head to the outskirts of Kuching on foot. The city is called “The city of cats”. At almost every roundabout we see figures and statues of cats, but we couldn’t understand why they are so honored here and we didn’t see much cats on the streets.

One comes to Borneo in order to see natural wonders, endemits, rare animals and plants. Historical landmarks and architectural buildings are not the strong sides of the island.

Our next destination is Gunung Gading National Park. We want to visit it in order to see the parasitic giant flower Rafflesia. Here grows a rare kind of Rafflesia that blossoms only at the territory of this park.
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Borneo – surviving into the jungle, meeting the long-nosed monkeys and running away from high tides

mujki-dulgonos

Long-nosed monkey

04.04

We have two options: to take the ferry back to Sumatra, Indonesia or to first visit the Malaysian part of Borneo. The things is that there are no ships sailing to Borneo, the yachts going in this direction are just a few, so the only option left is to find a cheap flight. On this journey we travel only by land or on water, but we decide that Borneo is worth it so we will make an exception. In addition the flight with Air Asia costs just 25 Euro per person (luggage and all included). So we will visit the oldest tropical forest in the world, a dream come true for every nature lover and explorer and we will also see the sultan of Brunei :)… or at least the sultanate.
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The romantic Malacca, the night saviour in the rain and a million meetings in the capital Kuala Lumpur

18. grafit jena

24.03

In the  morning the boy from the poor Muslim house brings us coffee. His grandmother, who sent him, waves us merrily from inside the house. There is so much goodness “lurking” behind every corner!
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