This is why I came here. To see this scenery. The ancient, virgin forest which is the heart of Borneo. It is simply epic. Breathtaking. Humbling. I don’t know how to describe it but I will try.
Answer me this: why would people want to eat soup made from swiflet bird nests which are built from their saliva!? They are considered a delicacy and pay well so the Malay risk their lives scaling the stark sides and treacherously vaulted roofs of these limestone caves to harvest them. I will never look at tom yum goong soup the same again!
To travel to Sakau one generally takes a speedboat ride from the coastal town to the dense mangroves and don’t be surprised if it rains! Rain turns to sleet at that speed and it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t actually cold. I thought a tropical summer would be hot, humid and wet, but apparently it can be cold and wet!
Imagine a mere spec of an island that takes only 15 minutes to circumnavigate, fringed with azure, coral reef shallows before the deep, blue ocean resumes and where turtles greet you on arrival. I introduce Lankayan Island.
Kota Kinabalu city is very Western, large and relatively clean. There are some hints of local South East Asian culture though in the emerald lit grand mosque in the centre of town, the open kitchen eateries along the highways and the odd wandering dog.