This is the eighth in a series of more in-depth posts on our trip to Borneo.
Danum Valley – sometimes called the “Lost World”. It is one of the largest areas of protected undisturbed low-land jungle in Malaysian Borneo. Of course, we didn’t want to rough it or trek days which is why the Borneo Rainforest Lodge appealed to us. It would require a bit to get there and there was no guarantee that we would see any wildlife. We had our fingers crossed that we would be able to see orangutans. And then there was the matter of leeches. But what an opportunity to experience the jungle.
We left KK early in the morning – 7am – and flew across the island to the town of Latah Datu. As the plane approached the city, we flew low over stilted wood houses lining the harbor. The houses were more tropical and rustic than what we had seen in KK.
And the airport was tiny. We walked down the stairs from the plane, across the tarmac and into the single room for arrivals. The bags were quickly rolled in and we left to find our driver waiting for us. Joining us was another couple from Finland.
We drove to the office where we signed the waivers and paid our balance. Then we were back into the trusty Toyota Land Cruiser for a 3 hour drive to the lodge. The first few miles were along the highway out of town – passing several fruit stands before leaving the main road. The first few KMs were through tropical fruit orchards, durian trees, coconut orchards, papaya. The road was still pretty good. It was also a logging road. The forest surrounding the conservation area were being logged and there was a chance that we would meet a logging truck. We came to a gate and a nursery. The logging is selective and they raise trees to replant the forests after harvesting.
We were hoping to see elephants. The Borneo pygmy elephant lives in this jungle. We could see lots of evidence that a herd had been by from the dung droppings on the road and the destruction on the side of the forest. But no luck. Only a single monkey scampered across the road.
We came to the river and the driver said we still had another hour to go. Even though the road was good, it is very tiring to ride for 3 hours on a gravel road. Finally we turned off into the conservation area. The final last few kilometers were very slow since the road was rutted.
We arrived and were warmly greeted by the staff. We cooled off with cold washcloths and a cool drink of juice before they showed us to our lovely cabin. They cabins are connected by elevated wooden walkway. The balcony overlooked the river and we had a lovely outdoor tub.
We unpacked and changed. We gather at the lobby and met our guide for an orientation walk through the forest. We walked along a wooden path and learned about the forest and the unique inhabitants before returning for dinner.
The lodge has a wonderful kitchen. The dining room opens and overlooks the river. We had a good selection of tasty dishes each night including several vegetarian and fish selections for G.
After dinner, we went on a night drive to see if we could see any nocturnal creatures. We saw a civet cat and a few insects but not much else. It was a long day and we quickly fell asleep to the symphony of the jungle.
We awoke early next morning to do the canopy walk. Strung high over the jungle floor was a wonderful airy pathway. We walked along the main road while the dawn slowly crept over the jungle. The mist still enveloped the treetops giving the scene an unreal aura. The canopy walk was beautiful and not scary at all.
We had breakfast and then changed to do hike up to the overlook and cliff burial. The trail went across the river and then climbed moderately through the forest debris. It was a little muddy. The last part was on a ladder. From the viewpoint we had a gorgeous view across the forest.
We started down and then went off to see the burial coffin. I was tired so I wait just below and then suddenly they started yelling “Marta – Orangutan…” I rushed up just as the large male -“King” started climbing up the liana vines . “I turned around and there he was on the cliff edge” on of the guides said. He climbed very quickly and I was barely able to get a picture especially against the cloudy sky.
We quickly went back down and stopped by the ‘forest jacuzzi”. A lovely waterfall fed pond. We jumped in and had a refreshing swim before returning to lunch.
After lunch, it was time to bid adieu to the our new friends. They were only staying one night. Later that afternoon, we went for another walk. We relaxed the rest of the afternoon listening to the sounds of the forest as the sun went down.
I was lazy the next morning and I sent G out on his own for one last jungle walk. I enjoyed a leisurely coffee while sitting on the deck and listing to the jungle. Too soon it was time for the bone jarring 3 hour drive back to Latah Datu. We had one surprise along the way – a large snake was on the road. We think it was a gliding snake – possibly a golden paradise tree snake. All too soon – we were back in KK.
Next up – Kuching.