Spending 2 weeks on very touristy Bali where I had to take the scooter to remote areas to find some air to breath I went to Borneo.
Borneo, the island of jungle and orang utans. The remote island filled with tropical animals, insects and plants where you need a pump gun to keep the wild animals away from your little cabin. The place where only biologists and some tribes live and where you have to fly from village to village. On this island you´d need a guide who speaks the local language, good hiking boots and a machete make your way through the jungle – I thought!
The reality is different. The capital of Malaysian Sarawak, Kuching, is a modern city with sky scrapers, shopping malls and 4 lane highways. People dress in international brands like Gucci, Levi´s, Zara and like to eat at MC Donald´s. Only 28% of the original rainforest in Borneo are left. The rest had to yield within the last decades for palm plantations.
It is still possible to find the wildness and remoteness I was looking for on Borneo. Unfortunately, this is not present at all times and you sometimes have to look for it. The national parks are a good opportunity to see jungle and wild animals. If you get off the main tourist routes and hike on longer or more remote trekking paths you will find yourself all “alone” in the jungle.
The probably most exotic and the beautiful place I´ve ever seen is the scenic panorama of Bako national park. The park is located on a peninsula and only accessible by boat. It was low tide when I arrived there. The boat man let me hop off in the knee deep water and walk to the park headquarters. These 20 minutes were maybe the most stunning on my whole Borneo trip. Clear sea water and a fluffy sand bottom around my feet, walking towards the misty green rainforest hills, surrounded by bizarre rock formations sticking out from the ground.
Besides Bako national park I went adventure caving, saw bats flying out of their cave to hunt in the dawn, observed orang utans in a nature reserve, swam in waterfalls, saw incredible huge butterflies and other insects, went to a longhouse and made new traveller-friends. I experienced the desperate fight of park rangers and organizations to preserve the rainforest and hope they may be successful to save our planet´s loungs. Even though Borneo is modernized I hope it will stay a paradise full of animals and rich in culture. I will definitely come back!