Borneo's Mountain - piece of cake!
Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
78Trip End Aug 16, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Borneo, the real jungle experience, a last tropical bastion and true land of adventure just waiting to be explored by the intrepid adventurers. Well, this was our preconception and perhaps dream which was to be somewhat re-thought as we cruised into the concrete jungle that makes up the ugly state capital. In fact we were surprised to find a country so developed and much more built up than we had imagined. If we thought that mainland Peninsula Malaysia was overly controlled by tour operators, then Sabah was on another level altogether. The first afternoon we scouted around the agents trying to find out either how we could do the trips ourselves, or to find something that was more reasonable in price. The trips that were being offered were very expensive, more than one would even pay back in the UK for the equivalent and we were wondering how we were going to manage to get around the sites and rainforest areas that we had researched
Second day, in fact was sorted as Liz and Issy decided that their experience of capsized kayaks had put them off the idea of going rafting. So, whilst they stayed home and sorted out our next two weeks travel, Ady and I went to the Padas River to sample the grade 3 to 4 rapids. Due to the fact that there has been no rainfall here for the last month, the river was low and so the rapids were a little less intimidating than normal, thank goodness! We had a whale of a time on our raft which we shared with two couples. One a huge policeman and his teenage daughter from South Wales and the other a man from Belize/USA and his Taiwanese partner, who we would later lose out the side of the raft going down the Mickey Mouse combination, to the horrified shrieks from his non-swimming boyfriend. We had to take what must be the ricketiest old train along side of the river to get to the start point and then had a couple of hours before lunch and another 45 minutes of action to finish. Aidan loved it and whilst all the adults tried to keep their scared and gaping eyes back inside their heads, he was whooping and a hollering all the way down
The following day Issy and I had booked to go up to Kinabalu National Park in order to climb South East Asia's highest mountain. So we all went off for two hours on a bus and gawped in apprehension at the 4098 metres of real and proper, Mount Kinabalu, staring down at us. It was something I was really looking forward to, time spent alone up a mountain with Issy and was a great example of why we are doing this trip. I also knew that Liz and Ady would have loads of fun trekking the surrounding hills together because they had decided that it was a bit too much for them based on some of the reports we had read about altitude sickness and the sheer steepness of the climb. We stayed in a cheaper lodge just outside the park entrance but Issy and I decided that we should wait until 6pm to go to the briefing that the Rangers did each day. Only 104 people are allowed up and it is managed and run by another of those Singapore businesses, meaning it is ridiculously expensive to do. Anyway as we were sitting in the conference room alone, yes just us two and the Ranger explaining the climb, I was wondering if the other missing 102 people were much more experienced than us or that it was simply a walk in the park. The reality is a combination of the two, the people we saw the next day were a mix of those well kitted out and those that should have been jogging somewhere, thinking it would be easy
Issy had a quick sleep and then dinner but still felt a bit poorly. We tried to get an early night but it wasn’t until 11pm that I think we finally fell asleep only to be woken up at 1.50am by our overly serious Japanese neighbours. After a dinner/breakfast as it is called to give us some energy, we set off just before 3am in order to get to the summit for sunrise at 6am. I had bought Issy a head torch to light the way but in order to save a few quid, I had strapped two torches onto my rucksack shoulder straps and looked like something out of Ghostbusters
People had said that going down was harder than the ascent. This proved to be true on our legs which took a battering. After making it over the volcanic like moonscape back down to the lodge, we had breakfast and then set off for the climb down to the bottom to meet Liz and Ady for a late lunch. Issy obviously had another thing in mind, perhaps it was the prospect of getting down away from the altitude feeling, but she positively ran down and towards the end, was having to drag me down as my knees felt like the cartilage had worn out or got punctures. Talk about role reversal in the same day!
It was a great relief to see Liz and Ady who had a fantastic time hiking around with Bonny and Dave from the States who we had also met at the Guest House and Helen and Alison who were due to climb the mountain the next day. Helen, being an Aston Villa fan, had talked constantly with Aidan about the greatest footie team in the world non-stop.