New posts on the way:
January 2014 - Dunedin, New Zealand: lots of photos and blogs to come from there.
June to August 2013 I was in BORNEO more blogs to come about, nature, jungle, orang-utans and much more!
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In Sabah, Malaysia, I head further north, 3-hours by public transport, to Kudat, for a couple of nights at Tommy’s Place at the tip of Borneo to spend time on the beach – my first time since I was at the Damai Beach Resort with its lovely sunsets.
Although it’s advertised as basic accommodation I stayed in one of their excellent villas, on the rise behind the restaurant and the simpler rooms. The food too is unassuming which is exactly what’s needed at the beach, and they are proud of their eco-credentials which concentrate especially on water conservation and energy reduction.
Tommy says they’re hoping others can see what we are doing and copy it for their homes, resorts or business. In addition to having chlorine-free water, which uses lots of energy to transport it there, they have reduced their water energy waste down to zero by using rainwater collected in two huge tanks.
One disadvantage this small resort has is its position on the long curved beach: the wind and current deposit rubbish right on the beach in front of their accommodation. This is the same wind that encouraged Tommy to build the units as he’s a keen windsurfer and he has them, surfboards and canoes for hire.
I tell the desk staff that I will help with a beach clean-up if they arrange one and the next morning they are waiting for me with bags and rakes ready. Although proud of a certificate for cleaning the beach that’s on the wall, and their eco-practices, it seems they rarely find time to clean the beach. We remove about 4 large bags of food wrappers, kids’ lollipop sticks, plastic, straws, butter containers and lids and the ever-present water bottles we leave behind. Rubbish removal can be difficult in small, remote places and I suggest weekly clean-ups like this are needed as guests always see the trash but don’t see the water savings.
Twice I take the 10-mins walk to the Tip of Borneo, the draw card of the area, enjoying the birds and monitor lizards on the way. A snake slides off the warm pathway as I walk back and I return to the spot three or four times to see if I could photograph it, with no luck – a monitor lizard proves more photogenic.
The tip has a beautiful globe, and a huge flagpole, as well as the stunning scenery here at the true top of this huge island. The British gave this area the romantic name of ‘The Parting of the Pirate Ways’, however I didn’t see any pirates as I sat and watched the swirling tides of the South China Sea collide with the Sulu Sea. This wave action has created a dramatic headland carved into the stone cliffs and it’s a great spot to just relax in the sun.
I found Tommy’s Place is a great place to chill for a few days – others used it as a base to explore more of the area.
Packing is always an issue when traveling and this is one of my top-read blogs: I hope it helps you too.
Originally posted on The Kiwi Travel Writer:
Well usually I use a backpack and carrying that ensures I look after my back – I want to keep travelling so health is important. I also love a backpack as it leaves my hands free for everything else and there is no way it can be left unguarded as a suitcase can.
Most of these photos were taken at the Kuching Sunday Market, Sarawak. Take your taste buds on a tour – sit down, relax and see how many you can name.
The only place I have ever scuba dived was on Pulau Perhentian (off the coast near Kota Bharu) and I was not surprised last night when it was described as having ‘breathtaking beauty and superb underwater attractions”. I’ve stayed on both Besar and Kecil islands and know even snorkelling right off the beach is magical with great corals and fish to see: I’ve even seen a sea snake and turtles as well as experiencing a late monsoon storm which was exhilarating!
At the event, for Visit Malaysia 2014, at the Crab Shack on Wellington’s wonderful waterfront was to introduce kiwis to the fishing and diving in Malaysia. I also heard briefly about a Shoe Festival that I need to know more about!
But back to Malaysia’s diverse fishing experiences. (Appears they have lots of fishing comps too)
It seems Malaysia has world-class game (sea) fishing as well as freshwater fishing in both lakes and rivers. The freshwater catch include things like ‘giant snakehead’ which can be ferocious and fearless, and a catfish which is seems can swallow a monkey for dinner!
The deep-sea fishing includes the Black Marlin which they encourage people to catch and release. There’s also blue marlin, yellow fin tuna, various snappers and trevallies, and one called a Whoo which is reputed to be the fastest fish in the sea.
Sounds like for you fishers that there’s something for you all. As for me I’ll just frequent the fish markets and eat there – try the stalls at Kota Kinabalu where you pick your fish and they’ll cook it for you – yum yum yummy!
Talking about food … the food at the Crab Shack was fabulous too.
I see more culture at award-winning Mari Mari Cultural village near Kota Kinabalu, Sabah – locals had all recommended I go, telling me to ‘go to the dinner show at night’. Moving through the village in small groups five local tribes introduce us to their way of life including fire-making, blowpipes, tattoos, whisky, and food, In the famously feared headhunting tribes (Murut) longhouse is an amazing indoor trampoline, the lansaran. After a demonstration on the trampoline like floor our group jump to reach for the ‘prize’ – I didn’t try. Other tribes are the rice farming Kadazan-Dusun, the longhouse Rungus, the hunters and fisherman Lundayeh, the cowboy and sea gypsy Bajau.
The tour culminated in a great concert and buffet style dinner and, in good ecotourism style, every dollar spent here stays here, helping the local native people keep their ancestor’s traditions.
Many cultural shows (around the word) can be superficial, staged authenticity, designed to entertain rather than enlighten, but this is locally driven, and it’s the locals who always need to decide what they want to share with the world and how to present it.