www.sarawakborneotour.com For any inquiry, please contact us at :
ask@sarawakborneotour.com
 

Where adventure begins....
 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2017

Let's Go Bird Watching in Sarawak

If you are planning to go to Sarawak any time soon, why don’t you make time to go bird watching while you are there? Sarawak has a lot of destinations where you can do just that!

Sarawak, the legendary land of headhunters and hornbills, is the largest state in Malaysia. This state occupies the north-western portion of the great island of Borneo. Here, the ever wet rainforests reach unparalleled diversity and are home to various kind of tropical wildlife and animals.

A great portion of Borneo’s 650 bird species have been recorded in the state, including most of the island’s endemics such as the bizarre Bornean Bristlehead. Sarawak offers superb birdwatching opportunities as it holds the highest number of national parks and nature reserves in the country. These range from balmy lowlands and shorelines to cold mossy forests at the summits of the higher mountains.

 

Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board

 

Kuching and Surrounding Areas

 

Black Oriole (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

Kuching is a logical place to begin your birding adventure in Sarawak with an international airport and good roads are being well-provided. There are numerous nature reserves within an hour drive of the city that offers you a variety of bird watching opportunities. One of the most popular park is Kubah National Park, which has beautiful lowland rainforests and has a great variety of birds. A number of endemic species for example Bornean Banded Kingfisher, Bornean Wren Babbler, and Blue-banded Pitta could be found here.

 

Bornean Wren Babbler (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

Bornean Wren Banded Kingfisher (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

Pygmy White-eye (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

Next is Santubong National Park. It is located near the coast, with its rugged sandstone terrain and tall rainforests. This is the closest site to Kuching which offers you a chance of seeing Rhinoceros Hornbill, one of Sarawak’s most emblematic birds. It is also a protected species.

Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, although better known for its population of reintroduced orangutans, is also an excellent bird watching destination that hosts many lowland birds, including the rare Long-billed Partridge. Further south, near the Indonesian border, Borneo Highlands comprises a range of forested hills culminating in Mount Penrissen at over 1300 m in elevation. This area gives you the chance to see some of Borneo’s endemic submontane birds, including Pygmy White-eye, Chestnut-crested Yuhina, Bornean Barbet, and Mountain Serpent-Eagle.

 

Northern Sarawak

 

Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

Other than Kuching, you could also fancy bird watching in Miri. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gunung Mulu National Park is Sarawak’s most famous park. Mulu is incredibly biodiverse and hosts a wealth of rare flora and fauna, although being well known for its amazing limestone cave systems.

The entrance to Deer Cave is an almost guaranteed site for the Bat Hawk, especially at dusk when up to 1.8 million Wrinkle-lipped Bats emerge from the cave. Mulu has an eye-catching bird list of 262 species, which includes all eight species of Bornean hornbills, and over half of the island’s endemics such as Fruithunter, Hose’s Broadbill, and Whitehead’s Spiderhunter. Montane specialties can only be seen via a multi-day trek to the upper slopes of Mount Mulu.

Pulong Tau National Park is Sarawak’s largest reserve, comprising nearly 600 sq. km of pristine montane rainforest. This national park occupies the western flank of the Kelabit highlands. Its spectacular mountain landscapes include Mount Murud, Sarawak’s highest peak (2,424 m), and Tama Abu range.

The main villages, Bario, Ba’ Kelalan, Long Banga and Long Lellang, can be reached by flights from Miri, or alternatively, by four-wheel-drive vehicle. More than 300 species of birds are listed in this park, including the rare endemic Bulwer’s Pheasant and Black Partridge. Pulong Tau National Park has a broad altitudinal range and habitat diversity, and is home to numerous other endemic species including Bornean Whistler, Mountain Barbet, Whitehead’s Broadbill, and the enigmatic Dulit Frogmouth.

 

Dulit Frogmouth (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

In the far north of Sarawak in Ulu Trusan region, the mountainous Payeh Maga IBA is one of the state’s most promising new birding destinations. You can get there by four-wheel-drive vehicle from the town of Lawas, and while day hike into the forest is possible, you should be prepared to camp in mountain shelters if you wish to spend more time at the higher elevations. Special attractions here that you could also check out include Bornean Frogmouth, Bornean Leafbird, Bare-headed Laughingthrush, and the recently rediscovered Black Oriole.

 

Bornean Bristlehead (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

Coastal Areas

At the coastal areas, you could spot waders and other water birds as Sarawak offers excellent wintering grounds for those species along its extensive coastline. The globally Vulnerable Chinese Egret often congregates in significant numbers in the Bako-Buntal Bay with possibly the largest concentration of the species in Borneo.

 

Eurasian and Fareastern Curlews (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

Buntal, a fishing village less than an hour’s drive from Kuching, gives access to part of this coastal region. Spectacular congregations of large waterbirds such as the Far-eastern and Eurasian Curlews are not unusual in the Bako-Buntal Bay in the wintering months, which is usually the rainy season in Sarawak. Some 55 species of water birds, including the Pacific Golden Plover (often seen in its beautiful breeding plumage) have been recorded here. You could also enjoy seafood meals while you are there in Buntal!

 

Rhinoceros Hornbill (Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board)

 

How about that? Are you excited to go for an adventure in Sarawak now? Check out our website for different types of great tour packages that we offer you and book your tour with us now or you can email us for a customised tour at here.

Tags: Sarawak | Bird watching | Bird | Birds | Borneo | Sightseeing | Nature | Wildlife | Malaysia | Fun | Leisure | Adventure |

SATURDAY, APRIL 13, 2013

Most Memorable Trip in Borneo- Day One: Trip to Semenggoh Wild Life Centre, Kuching

  I was looking forward for the trip on the first day with Joey, my friendly tour guide and two tourists from Madrid, Spain called Danni and Ann.
 
 
 
  As I looked up the skies, I could see that the weather was good even though it was little bit cloudy. We started off our journey at 8 am from Singgah Sana Lodge in downtown Kuching. While waiting for Joey, we made preparations and checked to see whether we have everything in our backpack.
 
  When we were inside the van, Joe gave us a briefing regarding the rehabilitation centre since it was important for us to know about the rules and regulations when looking at the Orang-utans. He gave us this list of   DO’s and DON’T’s once we arrived.
 
The DON’T’s
 
1)      Do not bring food or drink during the trip as they are sensitive to smell
        2)      Do not use a stick or your fingers to point at the Orang-utans as they will consider it as a   challenge
        3)      Do not use flash while taking pictures as they will be shocked and would possibly attack you.
        4)      Do not attempt to touch the Orang-utan younglings as their mother is very protective.
        5)      Do not stare directly into their eyes as it will provoke them.
        6)      Do not stand too near the Orang-utans for safety reasons.
        7)      Do not bring a camera tripod. They will think that it is a weapon.
 
The DO’s
 
        1)      Do be careful when walking. Orang-utans might perch on the treetops doing their business.
        2)      Always look up as some young naughty Orang-utans tend to throw stones or tree branches
        3)      Do RUN if the shelter ranger told you to do so!
 
  It took us at least an hour’s journey from Singgah Sana Lodge to the rehabilitation centre took us. The journey time can be extended to a further 15-30 minutes if the traffic is busy. We arrived at our designated destination by 9 am. We walked down the trail and followed our guide. We had our first sight of the Orang-utans at our first pit stop.
 
  We were fortunate to see a mother Orang-utan and her child coming out from bushes. Although it was their feeding time, they do not seem to be eating at all. As we walked along the trail, we could see a signboard with all the Orang-utans’ name written on it. It somehow reminded me of the old Western style ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ poster. 
 
 
 
  When I interviewed one of the rangers named Mr. Mustadza, he told us that the Orang-utans’ names were given after the staff who worked in the rehab centre. Some were named after famous people. One of the Orang-utans here is called Ritchie. The 35 year old Ritchie weighs around 150 to 160 kg. He got his name from James Ritchie, who was a famous photographer as well as a journalist. Somehow, Ritchie did not make his debut appearance on that day. However, we were happy enough to see a female orang-utan called Seduku and her child along the way. Seduku was initially nervous when she encounters a large number of tourists. She tends to carry her child behind her back as if she is trying to prevent humans to take her child away.
 
 
 
  Some of the rangers advised us to keep our distance at least 5-6 feet away from them. Her child was just 5 months old. One hour later, Seduku’s husband, called Anwar, came out. Anwar is lazier and is less protective over his child since he prefers the attention from the photographers. However, we still needed to be cautious and alert just in case anything goes wrong.
 
  According to the rangers, there have been cases where rangers were attacked by the Orang-utans last year. One of the trails where this incident happened was closed for safety reasons. They might look cute and fragile but they can be very aggressive. A ranger told us that the orang-utans are just like humans with their own mood swings. We even learnt some amazing facts about Orang-utans. Do you know that their DNA resembles human DNA by at least 90 to 95 percent? I guess that explains their mood swings. One of the wildlife centre rangers was attacked last year by a female Orang-utan called Hot Mama. This fiery Orang-utan is legendary for her short temper and aggressivenes.
 
 
 
 
  Mustadza explained that the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre was meant to be a rehabilitation centre for Orang-utans and other wildlife. The Semenggoh Wildlife was finally open to the public after receiving enthusiastic public interest and enquiries. Mustadza goes on to explain that the general public wanted to see the wildlife roaming around in a natural setting rather than being caged. I can’t help but agree with him on that point. Seeing these marvellous Orang-utans and other wildlife moving freely in this beautiful wildlife centre is indeed a breath taking and awe-inspiring moment!
 
 
 
  After spending an hour in the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre we followed our guide and headed off to the pepper farm where the famous Sarawak black pepper is produced. As we looked forward to this next part of our trip, we were glad that we had the chance to see the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and its colourful inhabitants.
Tags: Kuching Semenggoh Wildlife Center | Borneo Kuching Semenggoh Wildlife Center | Orang Utan Semenggoh Wildlife Center | Sarawak Semenggoh Wildlife Center |

THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2012

7 Reasons Why You Should Come To Sabah

Sabah Borneo is growing into a big tourism industry player, offering its own unique appeal to tourists from all over the world. Whether it is the white sandy beaches, lush jungles, exotic wildlife, or a rich cultural experience that you're looking for, Sabah has all of these to offer.

 

There are seven reasons why you should put Sabah as your next holiday destination if you are planning to go on your own or with friends or family.

Number one on the list is the islands of Sabah. Sabah is well-known for its surrounding islands, making it a popular destination among tourist both from far and near. The most famous island in Sabah is the Sipadan Island which keeps attracting thousands of visitors each year. Sipadan is an oceanic island formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct undersea volcano rising 600m from the seabed. The geographic position of Sipadan at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin puts it in the centre of the richest marine habitat in the world. There are more than 3000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species that have been classified in this rich ecosystem. Sipadan is well known for its unusually large numbers of green and hawksbill turtles that gather here to mate and nest. Among other islands worth visiting are Mabul Island, Mataking Island  and Survivor Island (Pulau Tiga).

 

If you are into sea turtles then this should be your second reason why you should come to Sabah. Turtle Park Island consists of Selingan, Bakungan Kecil and Gulisan islands. The park is a safe haven for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles. This gives you the rare opportunity to watch turtle landings. Selingan, the largest of these three islands, houses the park's headquarters, a turtle hatchery, tourist accommodations and basic facilities. The other two islands are used for conservation activities.

 

The third reason for you to come to Sabah is that you can get up close and personal with the wildlife of Borneo.  Lok Kawi Wildlife Centre offers just that. This centre consists of two components: the zoological and the botanical. The main objective of the park is to become a family-oriented park. The Borneo Pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinoceros, Orang Utan, Proboscis monkey, Malayan tiger, as well as some different species of deer are among the inhabitants of the zoo (zoological component). The botanical component offers visitors the opportunity to go jungle trekking along the botanical trail. Other wildlife centres worth visiting are the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Danum Valley Conservation Area, Klias River and many others.

 

Getting to know the various cultures here in Sabah should be your fourth reason to come to Sabah. Visit Mari-Mari Cultural Village in Kota Kinabalu where you will be introduced to various traditional homes of Sabahan ethnic communities, consisting of the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun people.  Do stop by at Monsopiad Cultural village, a living museum located 16 km or about half an hour away from the Kota Kinabalu, and be prepared to be teleported back to the times of ancient Borneo through the display of unique ingenious architecture, simulated lives and ritualistic ceremonies. You will also get acquainted with each village tribe as you enter their homes and experience their rich culture. There are other places to visit as well such as the Kadazan Dusun Culture Association Cultural Village, Maranjak homestay, Linangkit Cultural Village and others.

 

The fifth reason why Sabah needs to be in your list is due to the state’s rich history. There are two well-known World War II memorials located in Sabah; the Kundasang War Memorial Park and the Sandakan Memorial Park. Kundasang War Memorial Park was one of the first memorials to commemorate the brave Australian and British Prisoners of War who died in Sandakan and during the infamous death marches to Ranau during World War II. The memorial also commemorates the people of North Borneo who risked their lives to help the POWs. The Sandakan Memorial Park commemorates the tragedy and atrocity which struck Sandakan between January and August 1945. The Memorial Park bear witness to the death of approximately 2400 Australian and British prisoners of war held by the Japanese in the Sandakan POW camp during the beginning of Allied victory in the Pacific war. There are also other historical monuments or places in Sabah such as the North Borneo Railway, St Michael’s and All Angels Church, Atkinson Clock Towers and many others for you to see.

 

The sixth reason to go to Sabah is the famous Sabah Waterfront, your one-stop entertainment and dining centre. As you walk along the waterfront you will have a lot dining place to choose from. You could also find nice souvenir shops here if you are looking for a memento of your trip to Sabah. The Borneo Trading Post here offers a good selection. If you're looking for antique goods, head on to the Nan Hai Treasure Gallery where you can find authentic Chinese artifacts recovered from the sea.

 

The seventh and final reason why you should come to Sabah is Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Borneo Island. Located within Kinabalu Park, listed by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Site, thousands of tourist visit Mount Kinabalu each year.  It takes two days to ascend Mount Kinabalu. However visitors would not have to worry of not having previous experience in mountain climbing. The summit of Mount Kinabalu offers a spectacular sunrise view that will make the two day effort worthwhile.

 

So plan ahead to where you want to go when you arrive here in Sabah, Borneo. We hope that we have given you a few ideas on where you should head to. For more info please e-mail your inquiries to Cutiborneo@yahoo.com or check out the amazing package deals on our web site.

Tags: sabah | kota kinabalu | Mataking | Mabaul | Sipadan | Selingan | Lok Kawi Wildlife | Mount Kinabalu | St Michael | All Angels Church | Atkinson Clock Tower |

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY19, 2012

Semenggoh Orang Utans in Sarawak, our Distance Cousins

 

The orangutan or great ape and humans had held a close connection with each other since time immemorial.  We even shared 96.4% of our genetics make-up with the orangutans.  That was the reason why orangutans had held such strong fascination for us, at times to their detriment.  Young orangutans that were illegally kept as pets for a long time became “no-hopers” because it would be extremely difficult for them to live and survive in the wild on their own.

It was at sanctuaries such as the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Kuching, Sarawak, that rescued and orphaned orangutans could find a safe haven and be rehabilitated to live in the wild once more.  Established in 1975, Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is one of the must-see attractions in KuchingSemenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is located 20 kilometres away from Kuching City and situated within the lovely 740 hectares Semenggoh Nature Reserve, reaching the Centre just took a 30-minutes drive.

My friends and I arrived at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in time for the afternoon feeding time between 3.00pm-3.30pm.  The morning feeding time was from 8.30am-9.00am.  These were the best times to visit the Centre as the semi-wild orangutans would come out of the forest reserve and descent from the trees to the feeding platform to get their food from the Rangers.  Visitors could watch the great apes in action from a safe distance, of course.

Before we headed off to the feeding area at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a briefing was given by the Rangers on what to do and not do when the orangutans appear.  The main idea was to keep still and stay quiet.  A 10-minute walk into the forest trail brought us to the feeding platform area.  The Rangers began placing bananas, bottles of milk, boiled beans and sunflower seeds on the platform, before calling out the names of the orangutans.  In a few minutes, soft rustlings in trees could be heard and we waited in anticipation and a quickening of our heartbeats.

We were delighted when a female orangutan cradling a baby on its side came into sight.  Due of their size, the orangutans do not swing from tree to tree but move with a steady but slow and graceful pace.  The female orangutan ignored us and went straight to the feeding platform and began to peel a banana to eat.  Not long after, a few more orangutans arrived and soon the food was slowly, but surely, consumed.  The Rangers at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre informed us that the fully rehabilitated orangutans would not return to the feeding platform until there was scarcity of fruits in the forest.  There were also several orangutans, especially kept as pets from young, that would not go back to the forest as they had become too used to human interactions.

the younger orangutans would linger around the area after their meals, playing with each other.  Sometimes, one or two more mischievous or curious orangutans would climb down to the ground and teasingly charge at visitors but their antics were usually harmless.  However, it is advisable not to go too close to, play with or touch the orangutans as they are semi-wild and have powerful arms, and if they should grab your camera or bag, you can basically say goodbye to your belongings.  Once they were full and finished with their playing, which lasted around an hour or so, the orangutans would head back into the forest.

The Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre also housed other species of endangered wildlife from hornbills to sun bears and gibbons besides orang utans.  Facilities at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre included a Visitor Information Centre, bird-breeding enclosure, small mammals breeding site, a large orangutan enclosure, two large bird enclosures, ten large mammal enclosures, and quarantine areas, which were closed to the public.   For us, it had been an interesting and eye-opening trip to the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.  We learnt about the wildlife in the Centre, particularly the orangutans and were very happy to be able to see and watch the orangutans live in action.  Check it out for yourselves!

Tags: orangutan | orang utans | orang utan Sarawak | orang utan Kuching | wildlife Kuching | Kuching forest | Semenggoh |