Boats, Planes, Crabs n Caves

Trip Start Feb 07, 2004
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Trip End Dec 15, 2005


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Belaga
15 hours of 'express' boating into Borneo's interior, including (2 James Bond films!) and a night in the small town of Kapit, brought us to the even smaller town of Belaga. Friendly people, but not much else here. Even the Karoke bars were quiet, showing cable TV of the bombings in London instead.

We took a day trip up the Rejang river, visited a "longhouse" (feeling like the imposing tourists that we were), failed at some fishing but tried both the normal & the red durian fruit (the red is very 'gummy' and far more disgusting). The wild mango was more palatable.

Belaga's local airport was interesting, the first flight (18 seat twin Otter) I've had without having to endure metal detectors and x-ray machines for a long time!

Arriving in Bintulu airport (very modern, but empty) Jon & I decided to push directly on to Gunung Mulu National Park. The security here was a different story with Jon's aerosol foot deodorant being confiscated - if only they realized the chemical warfare that would now be unleashed upon the planet, particularly myself!

Gunung Mulu National Park
The 3rd flight of the day landed us in Gunung Mulu NP, famous for having both the largest cave passage (108 km) and cave chamber (can hold forty 747 jumbos) in the world. And while I didn't manage to get through all 108 k's of passageway in the 2 days we were here, the caves were spectacular - well worth the effort.

We hit "Racer Cave" (named after the Racer snakes that inhabit it) for our "Adventure Caving" experience. But it was only at the cave entrance that the guide advised me that it was against the rules to go in wearing only sandals... I tried to explain that my Teva's had taken me all over the world and through far more difficult terrain than any cave! But this is Malaysia, and here the rules must be followed- or gotten around by borrowing a pair of white sox to provide the protection & ankle support that I lacked (????). Oh well, being a fashion statement is nothing new to me, and it meant I could continue with the group.

The canopy walk here (timber planks over aluminium ladders strung between trees 40m above the ground) is the longest in the world at 480m (longer than Taman Negara), but isn't officially open for another 2 weeks.

Miri
A quick 25 minute flight in the rain had us back in Miri, but this time I stayed the night to enjoy the Happy Hour and a meal of Mongolian crab for A$4.50 a kg - I only ate one (kilo that is!)
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